Paediatric Orthopaedics is the study and treatment of growing bones, joints and muscles. A Paediatric Orthopaedic Surgeon is dedicated to the care of musculoskeletal problems in children and adolescents and is a super-specialist in his/her field. The paediatric orthopaedic community is a major stakeholder in the development of surgical services in the country. Our help, along with other paediatric surgical specialists, is required in needs assessment in the area of infrastructure, service delivery and manpower. A specialist organization such as paediatric orthopaedic society can do these in addition to setting up appropriate standards of care for different conditions, triaging systems by level of hospital, standardizing training programs and identifying areas of research. India has the largest child population in the world. Similar to other developing countries, we have a very wide range of causes including acute, chronic and neglected problems, with many of them being amenable to surgical treatment. The few centres providing high-quality specialised paediatric surgical care are concentrated in the metropolises, and inadequately trained non-paediatric specialists are available to address these problems in the community. Despite the success of a few focussed programs, such as ‘Smile Train’ for cleft lip and palate and the collaborative program between CURE International, India and several state governments for clubfoot conservative treatment and bracing, much of the surgical needs of the children in the community remain unaddressed because of the lack of adequate infrastructure to support children’s surgery, service delivery systems and trained manpower. The supporting services such as paediatric anaesthesia, intensive care, nursing and orthotics also lack infrastructure and trained personnel. Adequate planning at national and regional levels requires paediatric-specific determination of burden of illnesses in different areas such as congenital, neuromuscular disorders, trauma and oncology.There are only a handful of trained and qualified Paediatric Orthopaedic Surgeons in India.
Growth and development is a process that occurs smoothly in most children. However, this orderly process may be disrupted in conditions like injuries, birth malformations, neurological disorders, or bone infections. It is crucial that an expert effectively treats these injuries or diseases as soon as possible. Because childhood injuries or disease may alter or impede growth, a Paediatric Orthopaedic Surgeon uses a developmental approach to ensure each child's optimal lifetime function. Paediatric Orthopaedic Surgery is a valuable and powerful tool in the rehabilitation armamentarium for improving musculoskeletal function in several childhood disorders.
A child's musculoskeletal problems are different from those of an adult. Because children are still growing, the body's response to injuries, infections, and deformities may be quite different than what would be seen in a full-grown person.
Sometimes, what is thought to be a problem in a child is just a variation of growth that will resolve with time. A good example of this is intoeing in a toddler. Some of the problems children have with their bones and joints that are due to growth do not even occur in adults. In addition, the evaluation and treatment of a child is usually quite different than for an adult -- even for the same problem.
Children with complex pediatric problems are best managed by a medical-surgical team approach. Pediatric orthopaedic surgeons diagnose, treat, and manage children's musculoskeletal problems, such as:• Limb and spine deformities noted at birth or later in life (clubfoot, scoliosis, limb length differences)