Pediatric orthopedic surgery is the surgical specialty that focuses on muscle, joint, and bone issues in children, from infants to teenagers. Because patients this age are still growing, bone and joint problems can be much more significant than they would be in an adult. Growing children also change quickly, and a pediatric orthopedic surgeon is able to tell the difference between a symptom that a child will grow out of, and something serious that should be corrected.
Some of the issues that a pediatric orthopedic surgeon might treat include:
Limb and spine disorders, such as clubfoot or scoliosis
Uneven leg lengths
Infections and cancers of the bones or joints
Certain conditions that affect the musculoskeletal system in children, such as cerebral palsy
Besides a physical examination, a pediatric orthopedic surgeon often looks at X-rays and sometimes CT scans to determine a patient's problem. Blood tests may also be ordered to check for any metabolic or nutritional deficiencies. Treatment depends on the disorder, but it may include surgery, manipulation, bracing, casting, or physical therapy.
When illness, injury, or disorders threaten children's mobility, pediatric orthopedic surgeons work to give them a healthy and active future.