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Gleneagles Medical Centre
Penang, Malaysia

Paediatric Surgery

Who is a Paediatric Surgeon?
When your child needs medical treatment, you want him or her to have the very best care available. So it stands to reason that if your child needs an operation, you will want to consult with a surgeon who is qualified and experienced in operating on children.

Such a surgeon is known as a Paediatric Surgeon, and they operate on children ranging from the newborn stage through the teenage years.

Paediatric Surgeons are highly specialized surgeons.

What is the pediatric surgeon’s role in treating the child?
Paediatric surgeons are primarily concerned with the diagnosis, preoperative, operative, and postoperative management of surgical problems in children. Some medical conditions in newborns can only be corrected surgically.

These conditions must be recognized immediately by neonatologists, paediatricians, and family physicians. Paediatric surgeons cooperate with all of the specialists involved in a child’s medical care to determine whether surgery is the best option for the child.

What is the focus of paediatric surgery?
Paediatric surgeons utilize their expertise in providing surgical care for all problems or conditions affecting children that require surgical intervention. They participate in transplantation operations, and like most surgeons today, they use laparoscopic techniques for many operations.

They also have particular expertise in the following areas of responsibility:

  • Neonatal – Paediatric surgeons have specialized knowledge in the surgical repair of congenital birth defects, some of which may be life threatening to premature and full-term infants.
  • Prenatal – Paediatric surgeons, in cooperation with radiologists, use ultrasound and other technologies during the fetal stage of a child’s development to detect any abnormalities. They can then plan corrective surgery and educate and get to know parents before their baby is born. Prenatal diagnosis may lead to fetal surgery, which is a new forefront in the subspecialty of paediatric surgery. Application of most fetal surgical techniques is still in the experimental stage.
  • Trauma – Childhood trauma is becoming more common and paediatric surgeons are routinely faced with critical care situations involving traumatic injuries sustained by children that may or may not require surgical intervention. Many paediatric surgeons are involved in accident prevention programs in their communities that are aimed at curbing traumatic injuries in children. Scalds due to injuries from moist heat and burns due to injuries from dry heat in children are also best managed by paediatric surgeons.
  • Paediatric Oncology – Paediatric surgeons are involved in the diagnosis and surgical care of children with malignant tumors as well as those with benign growths.

Where do paediatric surgeons work?
Paediatric surgeons practice their specialty in a variety of medical institutions, including children’s hospitals, university-related medical centers with major paediatric services, and large urban community hospitals.

How are paediatric surgeons trained and certified?
Paediatric Surgical training is rigorous and is currently a 4-6 year training program. The training should be structured in such a way that the surgeon acquires good experience in all aspects of paediatric surgery and paediatric urology. The surgeon who is training to be a paediatric surgeon must go through a very difficult theory examination to prove his thorough knowledge of the subject and has to sit for viva sessions to show his clinical competency to a board of examiners.

Following successful completion of all the above criteria he is given the title of a Paediatric Surgeon and must then work for an extra two years before he is accredited to stand on his own.

What difference can a paediatric surgeon make?
Paediatric surgeons specialize in the surgical care of children. They are surgeons who, by training, are oriented toward working with children and understanding their special needs. The anatomical structures in children require gentleness and proper tissue handling techniques and this can only be acquired through proper training and practice. Outcomes of surgery on children depend on these criteria and it is therefore obvious that the results of such surgery performed by Paediatric Surgeons are better. Decision making on the operating table in complex conditions of childhood, requires the expertise and experience of the surgeon and once again these life determining decisions are obviously better made by the Paediatric Surgeon

In addition, they work with various specialists who are also oriented towards the child. Paediatric surgeons are able to save whole lifetimes, and have the opportunity to follow their patients through a productive young life into adulthood.