The ethos of our maxillofacial clinic is to consider non surgical treatment where possible, not least for children. There will still be times when surgery is the right answer.
Paediatric surgery began in the late 19th century, to correct issues at birth. This developed as a specialty over decades, with welcome advances to refine care.
Medical issues children have are different from adults, as is their response to illness. They are developing physically and mentally, each year bringing new levels of comprehension.
Their reliance on parents, or guardians changes over time, although they will always be a key factor in a child’s care. They offer reassurance, help to explain a need for surgery, what will happen and when.
Alongside the requirement for consent, our team believe that keeping parents well informed is part of good treatment. They help us to appreciate the right levels of involvement in discussion to suit each child.
Keeping children informed can be a good thing, providing this assists them and puts them at ease over any treatment they undergo.
In one sense, paediatric surgery has similar requirements to surgery for adults. Trauma is not rare in childhood, infections, or tumours can require surgical intervention, as can subtle developmental issues.
In other senses, the approach to surgery may be quite different. A child is by nature on a continuum of growth, a surgeon needs to visualise the future to make good decisions in the present.
Where surgery will be visible, particular care must be given to aesthetic needs. Whilst this would be the case at any age, a child has more stages of life to go through and adapt to, along with more years ahead of them.
Reconstructive surgery can be a crucial element for children and needs to be carefully planned. Techniques have improved and surgical revisiting in the years ahead is less common but possible.
Whether on the day of surgery, or looking to the future, the focus should still be on growth. On the requirement for treatment not to interfere with life and lead to a natural appearance.
Curative treatment matters but so does considering our patient. The need to minimise scars and maintain shape, or function are key elements in our approach to childhood surgery.
Care At Our Clinic
Supporting a child’s self esteem is part of a good outcome and of an integrated approach, focused on the wellbeing of the whole child.
This requires sound ethics, clear information and parental involvement, which together create good decisions. Surgery is not generally welcome at any age, yet can still be a positive experience.
We understand there can still be concerns on paediatric treatment. Our team are available at any time to offer advice and support, to build the confidence which contributes to successful surgery.