A pediatrician is a medical doctor who specializes in the healthcare maintenance, developmental monitoring, and treatment of children up to age 18. Different pediatricians may specialize in various aspects of children’s healthcare, and some pediatricians do perform surgery.
Let’s talk about the different roles of pediatricians, and where you can go in the Tampa and St. Petersburg area for outstanding pediatric care for your child.
Types of Pediatric Healthcare
Children aren’t just small versions of adults, they have their own unique health needs and are susceptible to different types of illnesses, conditions, and injuries – which require physicians who are specially trained to work with them. Unlike adults, children are not always able to communicate their needs or to say what is bothering them.
Pediatrics is a field of medicine that focuses on children, and some pediatricians continue to serve children who have chronic or ongoing conditions that warrant consistent health monitoring and treatment, such as cancer. In addition to general pediatrics, there are a number of medical subspecialties within pediatric care, including:
- Pediatric surgery
- Pediatric neurology
- Pediatric cardiology
- Sports doctors for children
There are marked differences in the roles of a general pediatrician and a pediatric surgeon:
Pediatricians are the general practitioners for children, just as internists are general practitioners for adults. They are specially trained in diagnosing and treating pediatric illnesses and health conditions, ranging from common (such as the flu and ear infections) to rare (such as scarlet fever), so they play an integral role in the overall health and well-being of a child.
Pediatricians are charged with ensuring that children thrive and stay as healthy as possible throughout childhood. This can include diagnosing, treating, and managing acute illnesses, injuries, and other health conditions, and conducting regular checkups to monitor the child’s health and development. It also includes making sure that the child receives (or is offered) the necessary vaccinations at the proper times.
A pediatrician is typically your first point of contact if your child has an acute illness or if you have a question or concern about your child’s physical or emotional health.
A pediatric surgeon is a medical doctor who specializes in treating diseases, trauma, and malformations in children. They typically train first as general surgeons and then undergo a pediatric fellowship to specialize further. Pediatric surgeons work in a variety of settings, including children’s hospitals, university medical centers, and large community hospitals.
Pediatric surgery is the only surgical specialty defined by the age of the patient, rather than by a specific condition or area of the body. These types of surgeons have a specific set of professional skills that enable them to operate on children’s growing bodies.
When Is a Pediatric Surgeon Necessary?
A pediatric surgeon can care for your child in a variety of ways, including:
- Diagnosing, treating, and managing various childhood illnesses and injuries
- Providing ongoing medical support and care for children who have a chronic medical condition
- Surgically correcting malformations in the limbs, spine, and other areas of a child’s body as necessary
- Coordinating care with other healthcare professionals when necessary
If you are referred to a pediatric surgeon, you can be assured that they have the greatest expertise in dealing with children and in treating disorders that warrant surgery. They diagnose, treat, and manage a vast array of children’s medical needs that require surgery, which may include:
- Surgical repair of birth defects (spina bifida, cleft palate, clubfoot, issues with bone growth, etc.)
- Surgery to repair abnormalities of the groin in children, such as undescended testicles, hernias, hydroceles, varicoceles, etc.
- Surgery to repair serious injuries, such as liver lacerations and deep wounds
- Diagnosis and surgical care of pediatric tumors
- Appendix removal
- Pyloromyotomy surgery (correcting the narrowing of the opening between stomach and intestine)
- Transplant operations
Experienced Pediatrician in Tampa, FL
The experienced medical staff here at Children’s Medical Center provides high-quality pediatric care you can depend on. Our compassionate and dedicated pediatricians provide healthcare for patients up to 18 years of age, including annual wellness checkups, urgent care, same-day sick visits, sports physicals, in-office laboratory services, telemedicine visits, and much more.
Contact us today to schedule an appointment at one of our convenient locations in Trinity, Palm Harbor, Westchase, and Lutz, in the greater Tampa/St. Pete area. We look forward to helping your child stay happy and healthy!