Pediatric surgeons specialize in performing a wide range of operations on children - these physicians can treat a very wide range of conditions, and act in a capacity similar to general surgeons.

Watch an Overview of Pediatric Surgery

About Pediatric Surgery

Pediatric surgery is a specialized field of surgical care for infants, children and adolescent patients. Physicians trained to practice this type of care are known as pediatric surgeons. These surgeons are generally employed in community of children’s hospitals, but can be found providing care in other environments. Pediatric surgery is considered a subspecialty of general surgery, and many pediatric surgeons specialize further within the field in areas such as pediatric neurosurgery, pediatric cardiothoracic surgery and fetal surgery, among many other areas.

Pediatric surgeons may provide care for a wide range of diseases or disorders. These physicians may perform surgeries to correct congenital cysts, injuries as a result of trauma, undescended testes, congenital defects and abnormalities of the brain or spine, among others. General pediatric surgeons are trained to provide surgical care for children with complications in the area between the neck and pelvis. Although children may experience some of the same complications as adults, surgical procedures to treat these complications may differ vastly from those of their adult counterpart. For this reason, pediatric surgeons are specifically trained to provide surgical care for infants, children and adolescents.

Pediatric Surgery Education & Training

The education and training required to become a pediatric surgeon is rigorous and demanding; it requires the completion of a bachelor's degree and medical degree before residency and fellowship training. After earning an undergraduate degree, the student must enter into medical school. After four years of study in general medicine, the student will be awarded an MD or DO degree. Following completion of the medical degree, the physician must enter into a residency program.

After graduating from medical school, the physician complete five to seven years of residency training in general surgery after graduating from medical school. During a general surgery residency, the physician will complete clinical rotations in a wide range of surgical fields, gaining valuable experience in pre-operative, operative and post-operative care. The resident may also complete one to two years of research in a specific area of the field; physicians who strive to become a pediatric surgeon may pursue a research project relating to a specific area of pediatric surgery.

After completing a residency in general surgery, the surgeon must then complete a two year fellowship in pediatric surgery. During a fellowship, the surgeon will perform a variety of surgical operations throughout the broad area of pediatric surgery. These include minimally invasive procedures, neonatal procedures, and operations to correct anomalies, tumors and masses, among many other procedures. After completing fellowship training, many pediatric surgeons seek board certification from the American Board of Surgery. All pediatric surgeons must be issue a medical license from the state(s) in which they practice.