Deciding on Paediatric Surgical Care: A Guide for Parents in Malaysia
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As a paediatric surgeon, I understand the apprehension parents feel when their child requires surgical care. In Malaysia, the first thing most parents thing about is which hospital to choose.
However, let’s consider a different approach to addressing this issue: first HOW the surgery should be done, then WHO should perform it, and finally, WHERE the procedure should take place.
HOW: The Best Surgical Approach for Your Child
Let’s begin with the HOW.
This involves two or three small incisions on the chest or tummy and results in minimal pain and significantly improved recovery times when compared to open surgery, which involves a larger cut and longer recovery period.
The most advanced centers globally now consider keyhole surgery as the primary surgical method for children. If you’re seeking the best and most advanced form of surgery for your child, this is it. It represents progress in medicine, offering less invasive procedures and quicker recovery times.
WHO: Identifying the Right Surgeon
Once you’ve decided that keyhole surgery is what you’re after, it’s time to find a surgeon with the experience and expertise to provide that kind of surgery.
It’s important to note that your local hospital may not have a pediatric surgeon, and a general surgeon, though skilled, may not be the ideal choice for your child’s surgical care.
Pediatric surgeons are specifically trained to deal with children, whose physiology, psychology, and anatomy are completely different from adults. Their response to surgery is also distinct, so the care given must be tailored to their unique needs.
Luckily, the number of pediatric surgeons in Malaysia is on the rise, giving parents more options.
How to Find the Right Surgeon
If you have a trusted pediatrician, inform them that you’re interested in keyhole surgery for your child and ask if they can refer you to a surgeon who specializes in that.
Alternatively, if you’re conducting the search yourself, use keywords like ‘keyhole surgery’, ‘minimally invasive surgery’, ‘laparoscopic surgery’ or ‘thoracoscopic surgery’ in your online search.
Once you’ve identified potential surgeons, don’t hesitate to ask about their experience with keyhole surgery, the number of such procedures they’ve performed, and their confidence in performing such surgery.
WHERE: Location Doesn’t Determine Outcome
Lastly, the location or size of the hospital doesn’t necessarily determine the outcome of the surgery.
If the surgeon is experienced, your child’s outcome should be good, regardless of whether the procedure is done in a small or large hospital.
I operate in various hospitals, big and small, and can confidently say that the outcome is primarily in the hands of the surgeon.
Conclusion – how to find the best surgical care
Remember, the journey to your child’s surgical care should ideally start with HOW the surgery will be done, followed by WHO will perform it, and finally, WHERE it will happen.
This approach will ensure the best possible care for your child.