Pediatric Orthopedic Surgery
What is Pediatric Orthopedic Surgery?
Surgery performed to treat orthopedic conditions in children and adolescents is called pediatric orthopedic surgery. Orthopedic problems in children are different from that of adults as the bones in children are constantly growing and are bendable until a certain age. Moreover, young children may not be able to express the symptoms associated with bone or joint conditions to their physicians. Hence, a pediatric orthopedic surgeon may be needed to diagnose and address these issues in children.
Pediatric orthopedic surgery is indicated in children with:
- Bone conditions in newborns or toddlers
- Deformity of the spine or limbs
- Complex hip disorders
- Neuromuscular disorders such as muscular dystrophy
- Perthes disease
- Pediatric bone fractures
- Tumors of bone or joint
- Infection of bone or joint
- Trauma or sports injuries
Preparing for the Surgery
Your pediatric orthopedic surgeon will assess your child’s symptoms and take a medical history. Inform your surgeon if your child is allergic to anesthesia. Get all the necessary things your child needs during the hospital stay. Make yourself available until your child is discharged from the hospital.
Depending on the type of condition, your surgeon may first recommend non-surgical treatment options including:
- Use of ice packs
- Immobilization by a splint or cast
- Massage therapy
The surgical treatment options may include any one of the following:
Open Reduction and Internal Fixation (ORIF)
This is a surgical procedure in which the fracture site is adequately exposed and reduction of the fracture is done. Internal fixation is done with devices such as Kirschner’s wires, plates and screws, and intramedullary nails.
Spinal fusion is the surgical technique of combining two or more vertebrae. A fusion of the vertebrae involves the insertion of secondary bone tissue obtained either from an autograft (tissues from your own body) or allograft (tissues from another person) to enhance the bone healing process.
Trauma surgery is a surgical specialty that deals with accidents and injuries caused by impact to the body. Trauma injuries can result from car accidents, stabbings, gunshot wounds, machine injuries, animal attacks, and amputations among others. The trauma surgeon is in charge of evaluating, stabilizing and treating the trauma victim. They are also responsible for directing the care of the trauma team, usually consisting of doctors, nurses, residents and support staff.
This is a reconstructive procedure where the deformed bone is straightened or missing bone is replaced. It is performed in children and adults who have variations in their leg length as a result of diseases, injuries or birth defects. Limb lengthening procedures can be performed by minimally invasive techniques and may require a hospitalization of 1-2 nights.
Surgery for Sports Injuries
Surgery may be necessary to repair torn tendons and ligaments or to realign the broken bones.
Surgery for Forearm Fractures
Surgery may be necessary for severe fractures such as fractures of the growth plate or the joint. Other conditions such as broken skin, bone displacement, unstable fractures, misaligned bones, and bones healing in an improper position may also require surgical repair. Your surgeon will first align the bones through an incision and use fixation devices like pins or metal implants to hold the bones in place while the wound heals. A cast or a splint may be placed to hold the bones in place.