Children are constantly up and about. Toddlers and slightly older kids love to get up on tables, jump from the couch and any high place like their favorite superheroes, and chase the cat and dog all over the house. There is even more room to play at school, and as they get older will likely shift to sports and other physical activities.
Given all this physical activity, injuries are common. Kids come home with bruises and bumps from falls, and most of these are easily treatable with antiseptic and band aid. However, some injuries can be dire such as fractures that need medical attention. Sometimes, the best ortho doctors in India may recommend orthopedic surgery, and as a parent, it is natural to wonder what the pros and cons of such a procedure would be.
What is orthopedic surgery?
Orthopedic surgery is surgery to treat disorders of the musculoskeletal system, including the bones, joints, ligaments, tendons, and muscles, which cannot be treated with medication or therapy. Orthopedic surgeons must be capable of handling disorders in children and adults differently.
An orthopedic surgeon specializing in treating children is a pediatric orthopedic surgeon. In addition to graduating from medical school and subsequent training in orthopedic surgery, they must also complete pediatric orthopedics and pediatric spinal deformity training.
Conditions that require orthopedic surgery for early age patients
Orthopedic surgery for children is not limited to treating injuries. At the same time, not every abnormal condition requires surgery. A child’s body is continuously growing, and therefore its response to defects, infections, and injury will vary from an adult. Some apparent deformities may be part of a growth phase that will adjust with time. Other bone and joint problems may be specific in children.
An orthopedic surgeon will diagnose and treat musculoskeletal conditions in children, such as:
- Bone or joint tumors or infections
- Movement abnormalities such as limping
- Limb and spine deformities such as scoliosis, clubfoot, limb length variation
When a child has suffered a fracture, they may require surgery if:
- The bone segments need holding together
Bones heal and grow naturally after injury. However, the broken bone pieces need to be put together and set. In such cases, surgery will include adding pins, screws, or plates that keep the bone aligned and hold it in place while it heals.
- The fracture is intra-articular
In this case, the bone breaks through a joint surface and will not heal properly without a surgical procedure.
- It is an open or compound fracture.
Sometimes the broken bone pieces will tear through the skin, or the child suffers a wound that goes to the broken bone. Such a fracture will cause damage to surrounding muscle tissue, ligaments, and tendons, and exposure to the external environment will increase the risk of infections. Again, the child may need corrective surgery to accelerate proper healing, depending on how severe the tear is.
- The bone needs realignment.
The best ortho doctors in India will recommend follow-up x-rays to evaluate the healing after treating a fracture and putting the injured area in a cast. Sometimes, even where the fracture was closed and did not require initial surgery, the bone may regrow but in a misaligned position. In this case, surgery will help correct the bone position to avoid future complications.
- If the fracture is on a ‘growth plate.’
If the fracture occurs near the end of the child’s long bones, it may affect their growth and cause long-term challenges. Surgery will help avoid these future challenges by providing a healthy condition for healing.
The challenges in orthopedic surgery for early age patients
Children and teenagers typically recover quickly from orthopedic surgery because their bodies are in a state of continuous growth and rejuvenation. However, these risk factors may require you to reconsider surgery after injury:
- Venous thromboembolism (VTE)
Research indicates that adolescents, especially teenage girls with a family history of blood clotting disorders, are at risk of VTE after orthopedic surgery. Pediatric VTE includes deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, and line-associated thrombosis. VTE is rare but presents significant complications where it occurs.
- Preoperative anxiety and underlying mental health conditions
Preoperative anxiety and conditions such as depression may prompt slower recovery and cause greater postoperative pain. In addition, adolescence is a unique stage of growth where a child is more aware of themselves and their surroundings, triggering emotions that they may not know how to handle. Teenagers are more likely to suffer from these challenges than children, as they worry about issues like their body after treatment, their social life, and their capacity to participate in after-school activities.
- The use of vaping and electric cigarettes for nicotine and cannabis
Nicotine and cannabis use, which are rising among teenagers worldwide, could increase preoperative risks such as anesthesia and induction, postoperative pain, and slowed wound healing and fracture repair.
Children and teenagers require specialized orthopedic care. When looking for a qualified orthopedic surgeon, settle only for the best at an affordable budget. Max Healthcare’s orthopedic team have trained experts who use advanced equipment for accurate diagnosis and care. They know that your child’s mental and physical stability comes first and are dedicated to offering personalized treatment from the moment of injury to complete healing.