Dr. Amrish Vaidya
Who is a Paediatric Surgeon


Child for SurgeryWho is a paediatric surgeon?

Children who are not well see paediatricians, rather than general physicians, or medical internists. Paediatricians are trained for, and tuned to, the bodies, language and minds of children.

Similarly, for children who need surgical treatment, parents would naturally wish to see surgeons who are trained to operate on children.
Do paediatric surgeons need special training?

Paediatric surgeons are general surgeons who have spent an extra three years understanding problems that children have, which will be cured surgically. During these years in training, they will master the techniques which will allow them to handle the delicate bodies of children gently. At the end of their training, pediatric surgeons acquire the degree of MCh, or DNB in Paediatric Surgery.
Can general surgeons perform paediatric surgery?

Paediatric surgery is not adult surgery in miniature. Children will usually need surgery for problems that they are born with. The nature and course of these problems differ from the surgical diseases of adults. The decision whether surgery is required or not, or when the surgery should be performed, can only be made by a surgeon who understands the nuances of surgical conditions of children.

The type of operations and techniques are also different. Though some simple operations can be done by trained general surgeons, the approach and outcomes will be better if a paediatric surgeon is in charge.

Children behave and respond differently from adults. As one surgeon has written many years ago, “With no language but a cry, children ask for better surgical treatment of their ills”. Paediatric surgeons are trained to understand and reassure children and their parents.
What operations do paediatric surgeons do?

The scope of paediatric surgery includes surgery of birth defects, treatment of tumours, trauma and infections in children. These can be done using standard surgery, or endoscopic surgery.

Some birth defects need urgent surgery at birth to ensure survival of these babies. Sometimes, surgery may be delayed for a few months or years till the baby is more mature. At times, no surgery is required, since some conditions are self correcting over time. Paediatric surgeons are equipped to make these decisions in the best interest of their patients.

Increasingly, surgically correctible defects are being diagnosed before the birth of the child by sonography. Paediatric surgeons are an integral part of the team comprising obstetricians, neonatologists, and imaging specialists. This team will discuss how to proceed with pregnancy and labour, to ensure the best outcome for mother and baby. If needed, the surgeon will be present at the time of delivery, and decide the best time for surgical correction of a problem. In some centres, interventions prior to delivery can be discussed and implemented by this team.
Will a paediatric surgeon make a difference?

Paediatric surgeons have long relationships with their patients and their families. Operations done in early childhood may need follow-up visits for many years, all the way to early adulthood. Since they understand the long-term implications of some conditions, paediatric surgeons are best equipped to offer advice on how to best overcome these problems to ensure a normal or near normal quality of life. Many senior paediatric surgeons have had the experience of surgically treating the children of their patients! This stands testimony to the long and close bond that exists between surgeons and their patients.

If your paediatrician suggests that your child see a paediatric surgeon, you can be assured that he or she has the widest range of treatment options, the most extensive and complete training, and the greatest expertise in dealing with children and in treating surgical disorders.
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