Procedures - Paediatric Surgery

Paediatric Surgery

Our younger patients (paediatrics) often present with very unique problems during childhood.  Some common problems that are treated during these years are the conditions below. 

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Child with a prominent ear

Prominent ears

Having prominent ears may negatively affect your child’s self-image. The most common reason for concern and seeing a specialist is being teased by their peers at school. This can potentially lead to problems with social skills development and interpersonal relationships. Minor prominence may be addressed at a very young age (at birth) by taping and splinting, but in severe cases surgery may be beneficial. Surgery is not recommended for your child until they reach school age (approximately 7 years), and it is important to consider this only when your child raises a concern him or herself.

Skin moles and lumps

Skin moles and lumps in your child will most likely be of benign nature, although malignant tumours are possible (but rare) in this age group. If concerned you should always visit a medical practitioner for advice to ensure appropriate assessment, investigation, diagnosis and management. Common lumps and spots that you may encounter in your child include: pilomatrixoma, cysts, and birth marks (including more uncommonly - vascular tumours and haemangiomas). Some may involute and disappear as your child grows and reaches puberty, but a small subset may benefit from removal if it is in a cosmetically sensitive area. Whether or not a benign spot or lump should be removed from your child can be a difficult question to address particularly in visibly sensitive areas. Management and outcome will very much depend on each child’s personal circumstance, and the exact location of the lesion.

Paediatric Moles on Skin
Polydatyly extra digits on childs hand

Removal of Congenital extra digits & release of fused digits

Your child may be born with an extra digit (polydactyly) or fused digits (syndactyly). Removal of an extra (accessory) digit and releasing fused digits often require complex tissue flaps and/or skin grafts as adjunct to the procedure to ensure appropriate tissue coverage. It is also common for adjacent ligamentous structures to also require reinforcement and/or repair when your child’s extra digit is removed. Treatment and approach will be tailed specifically to your child’s individual needs.

Trigger finger

Not unlike the same pathology found in adults, your child may be suffering from a trigger finger if you notice that he or she has a “stuck” flexed finger. It is very common for the thumb to be affected in children but other fingers may also be affected. It can sometimes be tricky to pick up this problem - in fact, children are so versatile and active, your child may go about his or her normal activities without complaint for quite sometime before the problem is picked up by an adult! If left untreated, the flexion deformity may be so stuck that the joint is unable to be fully extended. Treatment for your child’s finger is essentially similar to an adult’s trigger finger.

Child with trigger finger

What you can expect - Surgery, Recovery and Post Operative

Both the procedure and recovery time will depend on the condition being treated, the area being operated on and the complexity of the surgery being performed.  While you will be adequately prepared during your child's consultation below are some general guidelines.

Surgery Time

How long your child's operation takes will depend on the nature of the condition being treated. This can range from a simple 20-30 mins procedure to a much longer operation time. Especially if the condition is of a complex nature.

Recovery Time

The time it takes for your child to return to their normal activities, will depend on the site of surgery and what procedure was performed (fracture/tendon/nerve etc). These will all be discussed and addressed thoroughly at the time of your child's initial consultation to ensure a safe return to their normal life as efficiently as possible. Hand surgery may require a hand therapist post-operatively as part of their rehabilitation process. We have access privately to these allied health staff members to facilitate your recovery process. Immediately before your child is discharged from the hospital, a post-operative information sheet will be given to you to ensure written information is available about how to look after your child's wounds and dressings in the immediate week prior to being seen in their first post-operative appointment

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