Pediatrics is a field of medicine that specifically focuses on children. This age group ranges from infants to 18 years old and involves the study, treatment and surgical procedures performed on children. A physician who treats children is called a pediatrician while a specialist performing surgery on children in any field may be called a pediatric surgeon.
While many of the procedures and treatments for children are identical to treatments for adults, the approach and the size of the child often makes such treatments more complicated or difficult. Performing open-heart surgery on an infant is not the same as performing open-heart surgery on an adult although the treatment and procedure may be identical.
In addition to the difference in size, other considerations involving pediatric procedures and surgeries include congenital defects, developmental issues and growth factors.
Common Pediatric Surgical Procedures
Children often require specialized treatments and surgeries, some of the most common of which may include but are not limited to:
Pediatric surgical procedures may also include those that specialize on the heart, the:, and the endocrine systems. Fetal diagnosis and treatments are also included in subspecialty fields in pediatrics.
Heart defects such as malformed heart valves may require surgical interventions performed by experienced and highly educated thoracic, cardiovascular and pediatric surgical teams. Colorectal and complex pelvic floor disorders may also be treated through surgical procedures as can the repair or reconstruction of craniofacial trauma or birth defects. Conditions, diseases and illnesses in children may present special challenges to pediatric doctors and surgeons that offer the same, for the most part, approaches to treatment and surgery as in their larger counterparts.
Pediatric treatments and surgical procedures are often broken down into four basic categories:
Other conditions common to pediatric patients include:
Hernias, tumors, and birth or congenital defects, cancers or other abnormalities are commonly treated in the field of pediatrics, and require the specialized and experienced services of pediatric doctors and surgeons who specialize in the body area or body system involved.
How Much Do Pediatric Surgeries Cost?
The cost of any type of pediatric surgery depends on a variety of factors including the body location, complexity and the geographical location where the surgery is performed. Plastic and reconstructive surgical procedures or transplants, cardiac, or dental surgery all involve different price ranges depending on condition, prognosis, and treatment approach chosen by the doctor or surgeon.
Costs are also determined by the approach. Endoscopy or laparoscopic surgical procedures will have different costs than open or traditional approaches to surgery.
For example, in the United States a traditional tonsillectomy may cost anywhere between $2,800 and $6,000, depending whether the adenoids are also removed while simple cleft palate repair may average around $5,000. In Thailand, a tonsillectomy averaged around $2,000.Pediatric brain surgery, for example brain surgery in India may cost an average of one-fourth the cost of the surgical procedure in the U.S., which can run between $50,000 and $150,000.
Finding a Qualified Pediatric Surgeon
Pediatric surgeons or pediatricians are required to undergo basic medical training in addition to 48 years of postgraduate training in pediatrics. A 3 to 4 year university degree is typically followed by that additional 3 to 5 years in internship and residency. Pediatric surgeons may specialize in neonatal surgery, oncology, and typical medical staff subspecialties such as ear, nose and throat, cardiac care, endocrine systems, or genetics. Members of pediatric surgical associations and organizations are required to maintain their professional standing, obtain a lifelong learning and self assessment education, complete cognitive expertise through examinations and licensing and undergo periodic evaluation for performance in practice.
Accredited and certified surgeons should belong to the American Pediatric Surgical Association or other similar organizations or boards in the surgeon's country of origin. Always verify the education, training and experience of any surgeon who may perform surgery and make sure they are licensed to practice in the facility of your choice.
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