Congenital Corrective SurgeriesChildren born with skeletal defects can undergo surgery to improve their functionality and quality of life, but only after exhausting other treatment options.
When congenital skeletal defects are present in children, the ultimate goal for treatment is to correct them without the use of surgery. Methods such as physical therapy, braces or prosthetics are always used to correct the condition as much as possible while accommodating for the child’s growth. Unfortunately, these treatments do not always work. Corrective surgeries can be performed to correct these congenital defects when all else fails. This is, however, typically the last resort among treatment options. Children’s bodies do not always respond to surgery in the same way that adult bodies do, and there are many non-surgical treatments that can still allow children to lead full lives. Surgery is almost always only considered when doctors and families agree that it is necessary.
Pediatric musculoskeletal issues that can be treated at a young age include, but are not limited to:
- Limb length inequalities
- Skeletal dysplasia
- Cleft hand or foot
Congenital corrective surgeries will vary depending on the patient’s condition. For example, surgery to correct clubfoot involves the lengthening or rearranging of tendons and ligaments in the foot to help it achieve a natural position (which is aided by wearing a cast and a brace after surgery). When surgery to correct cleft foot is needed, that entails reshaping the foot (while improving its function) and changing its appearance to look more normal. And when correcting congenital scoliosis, metal instruments must be used to straighten and support the spine.
Risks of Congenital Corrective Surgery
Risks of congenital corrective procedures, as with any surgical procedure, include:
- Complications from anesthesia
- Excessive bleeding and pain
- Hematoma (blood clot)
Congenital corrective surgeries have been successful at helping children live more active, healthy lives. But because children’s bones are still growing, surgery does not always guarantee a complete recovery after just one procedure. The orthopedic specialists at Tampa General Hospital’s Children’s Medical Center can help determine which treatment options are best for children and provide compassionate care for them.