How does pediatric surgery differ from surgery for adults?

Surgery teams at children’s hospitals undergo extensive training in order to safely perform procedures on pediatric patients. There are considerable differences between pediatric and adult surgery, and you can hear about some of them when you watch the accompanying video. It features a pediatric general surgeon at Sunrise Children’s Hospital. He explains that parents can expect a compassionate, family-centered approach to pediatric surgery .

Surgery preparation
Mentally competent adults who are planning to have surgery will go into this situation knowing exactly what’s being done, why it’s necessary and what they can expect. It isn’t this simple to explain a surgery to a child .

This is one reason why dedicated children’s hospitals have Child Life Specialists on staff. A Child Life Specialist can work directly with children and their siblings, providing age-appropriate information in a way that reassures them.

An anesthesiologist administers medications to make the patient unconscious during the surgery. Placing a child under anesthesia is different than it is for adults. Children are smaller, weigh less and respond to medications differently.

Children also have smaller airways than adults. This is significant because pediatric anesthesiologists must have the proper training and equipment to manage smaller airways during surgery.

Furthermore, a pediatric surgery patient’s urine output, heart rate and blood pressure must be monitored during the procedure. These values will be different for kids than for adults.

Family involvement
Pediatric surgery specialists don’t just treat the child—they also provide care for the entire family. They understand that a child’s surgery is a major, nerve-wracking event for parents. As a result, the surgery team goes the extra mile to ensure the family has been well-prepared and has access to needed resources.

Pain management
Post-operative pain assessment is a challenge for pediatric surgeons, primarily because children and adolescents may lack the ability to accurately describe what they’re feeling. Doctors and nurses must balance the need for good pain control with the need to limit the potential side effects of powerful pain relievers.

A Child Life Specialist can also play a role in a child’s pain management. He or she can help kids learn how to describe the intensity and type of pain they’re experiencing. Child Life Specialists can also help patients and parents use drug-free pain management techniques to complement the medications.

As an HCA affiliate, Sunrise Children’s Hospital maintains an unwavering commitment to healthcare excellence. Our pediatric surgeons, nurses and Child Life Specialists are genuinely compassionate individuals who work tirelessly toward giving each patient the best possible outcome. You can request a referral to a pediatric surgeon in Las Vegas by calling a registered nurse at (702) 233-5437.

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