A pediatric orthopedic surgeon is a specially trained and skilled orthopedist who is licensed to give medical-surgical guidance and nonsurgical or surgical care to infant, child, and teenager patients. Their goal is to help patients restore their normal musculoskeletal functions, or maximize the ability to utilize the musculoskeletal system in patients who have chronic or irreversible diseases.
Education and Training
Pediatric orthopedists focus on the aspect of caring for children and adolescents in rendering orthopedic assessment and intervention. This duty entails years of both academic and clinical instruction and training in order to be effective in meeting theorative and palliative goals of surgery. Before one can become a full-fledged pediatric orthopedic surgeon, he has to be a graduate of a bachelor's degree program, and finish the four years of medical school. He also has to undergo approximately five years of residency training in orthopedic surgery. To finally make him fully fit as a pediatric orthopedist, he further needs to successfully complete at least one year of pediatric orthopedics and spinal deformity training.
Scope of Practice
The orthopedic care given to children and adults differ since the latter are still undergoing the process of bone development – a reason why their musculoskeletal system may react differently from adults when subjected to or afflicted with trauma, infection, or deformity. For instance, some musculoskeletal issues in children may only be a fleeting part of their developmental process and may not be observed in the case of adult orthopedic patients. There are also numerous instances wherein the assessment, evaluation, and treatment for similar problems with children and adults very different.
Among the issues attended to by pediatric orthopedic surgeons are:
• Fractured bones
• Infections and tumors of the musculoskeletal system
• Abnormalities in gait
• Congenital limb and spinal deformities
Special Skills and Services
Aside from physiologic and physical differences, children also differ from adults in the emotional and psychological aspects. This can be observed in the way they deal with situations especially with confidential issues like that of their health. Unlike adults, they are unable to verbalize symptoms or describe the magnitude of pain that they feel. Little children also have the tendency to throw tantrums when they feel appreciated, uncomfortable, or when in pain. These reactions can hamper the treatment progress and require special skills and knowledge that one can only find in pediatric orthopedists.
Pediatric orthopedic clinics are usually designed in such a way that will be comfortable and enticing for children. Many kids fear to step inside typical-looking hospitals since they have associated the place with stimulating syringe needles and bizarre medical equipment that they have once been subjected to and did not exactly enjoy. Clinics for children usually have tools for diversional activities such as books, toys, and videos that can help allay their fears.
There are numerous pediatric orthopedic surgeons in many countries. Parents who are looking for an orthopedist for their children can ask for referrals from their general pediatrician. If not, they can search in internet directories for the names and contact details of the pediatric orthopedists available in their area.