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General Paediatric Surgery

  • What is general paediatric surgery?

    General paediatric surgery

    Paediatric surgery is a subspecialty of general surgery that involves surgical procedures carried out on infants, children and adolescents.

    Subspecialisations within general paediatric surgery

    • Neonatal surgery (performed on newborns)
    • Urological surgery (urinary system)
    • Hepatobiliary surgery (liver and bile ducts)
    • Thoracic surgery (chest)
    • Oncological surgery (cancer)
    • Minimally invasive or endoscopic surgery (keyhole surgery)

    Paediatric subspecialties are represented in the following regional specialties:

    • Cardiothoracic surgery
    • Neurosurgery
    • Orthopaedic surgery
    • Ophthalmologic surgery
    • Otolaryngologic surgery
    • Plastic and reconstructive surgery

    Paediatric surgical conditions may be complex and require multidisciplinary participation from other paediatric specialists such as gastroenterologists, pulmonologists, cardiologists, neurologists, endocrinologists, intensivists, infectious disease specialists, dietitians, physical, occupational and speech therapists.

  • Paediatric surgery can be used to manage and treat various childhood conditions that require surgical intervention.

    Neonatal Surgery

    Paediatric surgeons can perform surgeries on ill or high-risk newborns, treating life-threatening congenital birth defects and complications of prematurity.

    Paediatric Urology

    Paediatric surgeons who are trained in urology are skilled in the diagnosis and treatment of urinary disorders and bladder conditions. The paediatric urological problems include:

    • Bedwetting
    • Urinary tract infections
    • Lower urinary tract symptoms
    • Neurologically affected bladders

    Hepatobiliary and Gastrointestinal Surgery

    Children may develop congenital gastrointestinal and hepatobiliary tract conditions that require surgical corrections. Examples include intestinal obstruction, malrotation, Meckel’s diverticulum, and choledochal cysts. In addition, infective conditions such as acute appendicitis are more commonly seen.

    Thoracic Surgery

    Children may develop congenital malformations in the lung such as cystic adenomatoid malformation, bronchogenic cysts, and diaphragmatic hernia. In addition, infective and neoplastic conditions have also been encountered.

    Paediatric Oncological Surgery

    Children may develop benign and malignant tumours that require surgical care for the resection of the tumours.

    When the tumour is malignant, the paediatric surgeon and the paediatric oncologist will diagnose a child's cancer by performing the appropriate confirmatory tests to identify the specific type of cancer. Then, subsequent tests for the purpose of "staging" is done to determine the extent of cancer – its size and where it has spread.

    After confirming the diagnosis, the oncology team will provide detailed counselling to parents.

    Treatments are available for all childhood cancers with a reasonably good chance of cure. The main types of treatment options available are surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, stem cell and bone marrow transplantation, targeted therapy and immunotherapy.

  • Preparing for general paediatric surgery

    • Follow your doctor’s instructions regarding diet restrictions before your child’s surgery. Generally, you may still give food to your child until 8 hours before the surgery. However, after that, avoid eating foods heavy in fat to avoid delaying the procedure. Up to 6 hours before the surgery, light foods may still be given.
    • Tell your doctor if your child has become sick or was exposed to someone with a communicable disease before the procedure.
    • Allow your child to bring a security blanket. Whether it’s a blanket, stuffed toy or their favourite books, let them have something familiar to hold on to during their stay in the hospital. It can help make them feel comfortable and secure.
    • Before your child undergoes surgery, don't forget to bring all important documents and cards – health insurance card for your child, identification card, your child's referring physician information, test results, imaging records, past medical history, and list of medications.

    During a general paediatric surgery

    For a safe and trauma-free surgery, your child will be given anaesthesia either through an IV or a mask that will enable them to inhale the medication. Your child will typically fall asleep 5 minutes after. Throughout the surgery, your child’s heart rate, breathing and blood pressure will be closely monitored. Adjustments in the anaesthesia may be made if necessary.

    After a general paediatric surgery

    After surgery, your child will be taken to the recovery room to recuperate. Upon waking up, they may feel groggy for a few hours. They may also experience nausea and vomiting. To make your child’s recovery as comfortable as possible, the anaesthesiologist will provide pain relief either with medication given by mouth, injection of local anaesthetics around nerves, or through an IV.

    Depending on the type of surgery and their medical condition, your child will either be allowed to go home on the same day of surgery or admitted to the hospital for monitoring. If admission is not necessary, your child will be discharged if:

    • Child’s vital signs are stable
    • The child drink liquids without nausea or vomiting
    • The child feels comfortable

    Before you leave, the surgical team will provide all the necessary follow-up care instructions, including any prescriptions needed for pain medication.

    Recovery period for general paediatric surgery

    Before your child returns home from the hospital, talk to your doctor about how to care for a child after surgery. Strictly follow instructions regarding home medication and therapy. Make sure to regularly clean the surgical site. To prevent injuries after surgery, prepare the necessary special safety equipment at home. Watch your child carefully around sharp corners. Likewise, follow the doctor’s instructions regarding your child’s post-operative diet. Your child will be asked to start with clear liquids and gradually transition to light meals.

    Risks or complications of general paediatric surgery

    While general paediatric surgery is generally safe, the procedure still carries certain risks. Observe your child carefully after surgery and report to the doctor of any the following complications:

    • Fever
    • Persistent nausea and vomiting
    • Pain not relieved by the medication
    • Numbness or tingling sensation in fingers or toes
    • Odour from the surgical site
    • Increase in redness, warmth or hardness around the surgical area
    • Excessive drainage from the surgical area
    • Excessive swelling around the surgical area
    • Difficulty in urinating or inability to urinate
  • At Parkway East Hospital, we provide specialised health care services that respond to the special needs of infants, children and adolescents. One of the services we provide is general paediatric surgery, a subspecialty of general surgery for foetuses, infants, children and adolescents.

    Our medical team led by experienced paediatric surgeons will assist you at each step of the surgery towards your recovery. To complement this expertise, we are equipped with the necessary technology and equipment for paediatric surgery.

    Take your first step towards healing and recovery by making an enquiry or appointment with us.

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