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What is a Pediatric Surgeon?

By: Brian A. Jones, MD, FAAP

If your child has an illness, injury, or disease that requires an operation, a pediatric surgeon has the experience and qualifications to treat your child.

Surgical problems seen by pediatric general surgeons are often quite different from those commonly seen by adult general surgeons. Special training in pediatric surgery is important.

What kind of training do pediatric surgeons have?

Pediatric surgeons are medical doctors who have completed:

  • At least 4 years of medical school

  • Five years of adult general surgery training

  • Two additional years of fellowship training in pediatric surgery

  • Certification by the American Board of Surgery in both General Surgery and Pediatric Surgery

Pediatric surgeons treat children from birth through late adolescence. They choose to make pediatric care the core of their medical practice. The unique nature of medical and surgical care of children is learned from advanced training and experience in practice.

What types of treatments do pediatric surgeons provide?

Pediatric surgeons diagnose, treat, and manage children's surgical needs including:

  • Prenatal counseling for mothers whose babies have been diagnosed with certain birth defects during pregnancy

  • Surgical repair of birth defects, including but not limited to esophagus, lungs, intestinal tract, abdominal wall defects and diaphragm defects

  • Surgery for abnormalities of the groin in childhood and adolescence. This includes undescended testes, hernias and hydroceles.

  • Urgent and emergent operations, such as appendectomies

  • Surgical and non-operative management of serious injuries. These can include burns, liver lacerations, knife wounds or gunshot wounds.

  • Diagnosis and surgical care of cancers, including removal of tumors from the chest, abdomen, skin/fat, testicles and ovaries.

  • Transplantation operations

  • Endoscopic procedures (bronchoscopy, esophagogastroduodenoscopy, colonoscopy)

  • Many other surgical procedures and operations in children

Where can I find a pediatric surgeon?

Pediatric surgeons practice in a variety of medical institutions including children's hospitals, university medical centers, and large community hospitals. Your pediatrician can help you find a board-certified pediatric surgeon.

Pediatric surgeons—the best care for children

Children are not just small adults. They cannot always say what is bothering them. They cannot always answer medical questions. And they are not always able to be patient and helpful during a medical examination. Pediatric surgeons know how to examine and treat children in a way that makes them feel relaxed, safe, and at ease.

Pediatric surgeons use equipment and facilities specifically designed for children. they also have extensive training and experience in caring for the needs of children. This includes treating the unique and sometimes rare surgical illnesses that affect children.

If your pediatrician suggests that your child see a pediatric surgeon, you can be assured that your surgeon has extensive and complete training, and expertise in dealing with children with surgical disorders.

To find a pediatrician or pediatric specialist in your area, click here.

More information

About Dr. Jones

Brian A. Jones, MD, FAAP is a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Section on Surgery and the Illinois Chapter of the AAP.

Last Updated
American Academy of Pediatrics Section on Surgery, American Pediatric Surgical Association, American College of Surgeons (Copyright © 2022)
The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.
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