Orthopedic surgery also known as orthopedics is the branch of surgery that treat conditions involving the musculoskeletal system. A pediatric orthopaedics surgeon is a medical specialist that can properly evaluate and treat bone, joint and muscles in children who are still growing. The surgeon must have the right qualifications and skills to enables him/her to properly evaluate and treat musculoskeletal problem in children. Children response to injuries, deformities and infections is very different from that of adult because they are still growing.
What kind of training do pediatric orthopaedics surgeons have?
Pediatric orthopaedics surgeons treat children from new-born through the teenage years. They actually choose to take pediatric care as their core medical practice. The nature of this profession requires someone who has the right qualifications and advanced training because children are very delicate. In order for a doctor to become a qualified Pediatric Orthopaedics surgeon, he must graduate from a medical school recognized by the state. The duration of the course is usually 5 years. In addition,he must also graduate from approved orthopedic surgery residency programs that take a period of 5 years. He must also complete other sub-specialty training programs in the field of orthopedics and pediatric spinal deformity, which usually takes one year.
What are the responsibilities of a pediatric orthopaedics surgeon?
- Correctly identifying the problem affecting the child
Unlike adults who can clearly explain to the doctor what is actually bothering them, it is very difficult for children to clearly explain to the doctor what is bothering them. They are also not as cooperative as adults during a medical examination as adults. Therefore one of the main responsibly a pediatric orthopaedic surgeon needs to identify is, what the child is suffering from. Is it a joint pain or a knee pain? Their first responsibility is to ensure that they correctly identify the problem affecting the child. This is crucial because if the problem is not correctly diagnosed, wrong medication will be administered which might result to complications.
- Ensuring the child is relaxed during treatment.
Children always fear visiting the doctor and the hospital in general because of wrong perception. They relate doctors and hospitals to painful treatments and hence they are reluctant to see the doctor.Paediatric orthopaedic surgeons also ensure that the child is calm and cooperative when he/she is being attended to because children are more open to express themselves better when they are feeling comfortable. Many pediatric orthopedic surgeon have playing toys in their clinics that help to keep the child calm as he/she wait to have a session with the surgeon.
- Diagnose treat and manage children’s musculoskeletal problems.
After identifying the problem affecting the child, they have to advise the treatment plan that best suit the child. Major conditions that pediatric orthopedic surgeon treat include gait abnormalities , limb and spine deformities noted at birth or later in life such as scoliosis and club foot, joint infection and tumors and broken bones. They first analyze the extent of damage. If the damage is so severe, they may recommend surgery to be performed to correct the defect. On the other hand, if the defect is not so severe, the surgeon may administer over-the-counter drugs that will help relieve pain and possibly correct the problem. In some cases, both surgery and over the counter medication may be administered.
- Conducting follow ups.
The responsibility of the surgeon does not end once he/she treats the child. He/she also has the responsibly of doing follow ups just to know how the child is responding to medication. If he/she is responding well then he may give advice on type of food and exercise that the child need to do speed up the recovery process.