Being a parent with a young child can be very stressful. You do everything in your power to keep them happy and healthy, but sometimes, illnesses and disorders can rear their heads, outside of your control. In situations like this, pediatric surgery may be necessary to help your child. With that in mind, we have gathered some of the conditions that may require pediatric surgery, along with the treatment that would be employed. Alaska Pediatric Surgery is here in Anchorage to help your family.

-Types of Issues

The conditions treated by pediatric surgery can be sorted into one of two categories: Congenital and Acquired health problems. Congenital health problems are conditions that arise as the baby is developing; by definition, a congenital health problem is a disease or condition that is present at birth. An acquired health problem is one that develops after the baby has been born.

-Conditions and Treatment

This is by no means an exhaustive list of all the conditions that may require pediatric surgery, but it is good to know some of the more common ones to understand how they may be treated.

Appendicitis:

This is a condition where the appendix is either infected or inflamed. This happens when the appendix is blocked by stool, a foreign body, or in some instances, cancer. This can also develop as a side effect of an infection, as the appendix may swell in response to any infections in the body. It is treated by removing the appendix either through a laparoscopy, which is a minimally invasive surgery or through more traditional surgical methods.

Biliary Atresia:

When bile — liquid produced by the liver to aid with digestion — does not empty from the liver because of some sort of congenital malformation, it is called biliary atresia. This is a rare disease that will appear or develop within two to eight weeks of birth. It is diagnosed through a liver biopsy, ultrasound, and nuclear medicine scan, which will determine the path bile is taking from the liver. After it has been diagnosed, a surgeon will reconstruct the bile ducts and reattach them to the liver to restore their function.

Cancer:

There are many forms of cancer that can be treated through surgical means. Hepatoblastoma is cancer of the liver and is treated by surgically removing part of the liver. Neuroblastoma is a form of cancer found in the abdomen near the kidneys, which is treated in part by surgically removing the cancerous section in the abdomen. Wilms’ tumor is cancer within the kidney and is treated by removing either part of or the entire kidney, depending on how advanced the cancer is.

Esophageal Atresia and Tracheoesophageal Fistula:

These terms describe abnormal pathways within the body, typified by the trachea or esophagus, not forming properly during a baby’s development. When this happens, they are unable to connect as intended, resulting in this condition shortly after birth. To treat it, the fistula must be closed and the tubes reconnected to the correct organs not long after the baby is born.

Gallbladder Infection:

This is an infection of the gallbladder, brought on by either a viral or other cause, such as hypothyroidism. Depending on the severity of the infection, it may be treated either through minimally invasive surgery or more traditional surgery, removing the gallbladder altogether.

Gastroesophageal Reflux:

More commonly referred to as acid reflux, this is a condition in which food and stomach acid travel up the esophagus, causing extreme discomfort and damaging the lining. It is treated by tightening the end of the esophagus where food travels into the stomach to prevent it and stomach acid from coming back up the esophagus.

Gastroschisis:

This is a congenital health problem where a baby’s intestines or stomach protrude outside of their body due to some sort of opening in the baby’s abdomen. This condition will be found through normal monitoring of an expecting mother, allowing a surgical team to prepare for treatment shortly after the baby is born. To treat it, the intestines and/or stomach are placed back into the baby’s body, and the opening will be closed if it is possible.

Hernia:

This is one of the most common conditions performed on children. In a situation where a hole in the groin does not close after the baby is born, fluid and intestines can pass through this opening. Surgery will put the herniated tissue back in its proper location and the opening/weakness in the muscle wall will be either closed or repaired, depending on the severity of the condition.

Hirschsprung’s Disease:

Occurs when normal nerves do not form, which blocks a child from being able to have a bowel movement. Treatment for Hirschsprung’s involves surgically removing the section of the colon that is enlarged and preventing a bowel movement.

Necrotizing Enterocolitis:

This condition is most commonly found in premature babies. It is a gastrointestinal disease that has been caused by some sort of infection or inflammation, which destroys a portion or all of the bowel. It is often diagnosed after finding an abnormal gas pattern in the baby’s x-rays. To treat it, the diseased area of the intestines are surgically removed.

Pectus Carinatum:

Also known as ‘bowed chest,’ this is a congenital condition shown by an abnormal amount of growth occurring between a baby’s breastbone and ribs. To treat it, a chest brace will be used to push down directly on the child’s sternum. If that does not treat it, surgery may be required for treatment to be completed.

Pyloric Stenosis:

This is a condition where the opening between the stomach and small intestine is too narrow for it to function as intended. Treatment will involve a surgery to enlarge this opening between the stomach and small intestine, allowing food to pass through unimpeded.

Reproductive Disorders:

Some children are born with congenital conditions affecting their reproductive organs. Surgery may be required in order to remove ovarian cysts and tumors.

Spleen Disorders:

Injuries and blood disorders can create issues within the spleen. This may require a splenectomy, where the spleen is surgically removed. However, this is only done when it is absolutely necessary.

Nobody wants to hear that their newborn requires surgery, but when you understand the possible conditions that can arise either during development or after birth, you’re more equipped to handle that situation with a level head. Here in Anchorage, Alaska Pediatric Surgery is experienced and knowledgeable with many forms of pediatric conditions. Our team of pediatric specialists will help you and your child through the entire surgery process, so neither of you has to stress out about treating any of these conditions. We’re passionate about helping children grow up happy and healthy. Call us today to learn more about our practice.