Fractures are a common injury among children, yet the number of pediatric orthopedists trained to deal with the special musculoskeletal problems// of children is decreasing nationwide. The management of fractures in children is usually different than in adults. Specialized knowledge and training is needed to provide the best care for these children, according to orthopedic surgeons at New York’s Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS).
Fractures in children can be caused by minor falls, such as might occur at the playground or during sports or by major traumatic events, such as car accidents. Often times fractures in children involve the area where the bone grows, called growth plates. This type of pediatric fracture can disturb the growth of bone in the future, contributing to functional limitations in standing, walking, bending, lifting, climbing stairs, and also creating disfiguring deformities.
“Proper treatment of pediatric fractures is essential in helping prevent future complications and the possible need for additional treatment,” said Roger F. Widmann, M.D., chief of pediatric orthopedic surgery at HSS. “Pediatric orthopedic surgeons have the specialized training to know what type of treatment is the most viable. They are best qualified to manage pediatric fractures,” he said.
“It’s not unusual for facilities to have a general orthopedist on duty but no pediatric orthopedist available to deal with a specific pediatric musculoskeletal injury,” said David M. Scher, M.D., pediatric orthopedic surgeon at HSS. “Because of these circumstances, general orthopedists are often called upon to evaluate and treat pediatric injuries, such as fractures. We hope to help educate our general orthopedic colleagues in the surrounding communities about the state of art in treating these fractures and also make ourselves available to them to assist in caring for these children.”
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