What Types of Pediatric Surgeons Are There?

Medically Reviewed on 6/29/2021
types of pediatric surgeons
Pediatric surgeons specialize in treating children’s surgical needs, from birth to late adolescence

A pediatric surgeon specializes in treating children’s surgical needs, from birth to late adolescence. While pediatricians also treat childhood illnesses, they do not perform surgery.

Surgical problems seen by pediatric surgeons are often different from those seen by general surgeons, since there are some conditions that are exclusive to or more common in children. Moreover, children often struggle to communicate their symptoms due to fear and confusion. Pediatric surgeons therefore undergo specialized training to handle the unique challenges that come with performing surgical procedures on children.

What treatments do pediatric surgeons provide?

Pediatric surgeons diagnose, treat, and manage surgical needs in children that include:

  • Surgery for abnormalities of the groin in childhood and adolescence such as undescended testes, hernias and hydroceles
  • Surgical repair of birth defects
  • Surgical repair of serious injuries
  • Surgical removal of tumors
  • Transplantation surgeries
  • Minimally invasive endoscopic procedures
  • All other general surgical procedures for children

What are the different types of pediatric surgeons?

Different types of pediatric surgeons include the following:

Pediatric neurosurgeons

Pediatric neurosurgeons treat conditions such as hydrocephalus, shunts, brain tumors, congenital brain, spine/spinal cord problems, skull lumps and bumps, spinal cord tumors. and spasticity.

Pediatric ophthalmologists

Pediatric ophthalmologists treat conditions such as lazy eyes, nearsightedness or farsightedness, tear duct diseases, developmental abnormalities, and tumors of the eye.

Pediatric orthopedic surgeons

Pediatric orthopedic surgeons treat problems such as scoliosis, hip pathology, growth deformities, bone and muscle issues associated with cerebral palsy, developmental and congenital abnormalities, and traumatic injuries.

Pediatric otorhinolaryngologists (ENT specialists)

Pediatric otolaryngologists are involved in medical and surgical management of various disorders that involve the ear, nose, throat, skull base, head, and neck.

Pediatric plastic surgeons

Pediatric plastic surgeons manage congenital deformities such as a cleft lip and traumatic and post-oncologic pediatric deformities.

Pediatric urologists

Pediatric urologists treat diseases affecting the genital-urinary tract.


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What type of training do pediatric surgeons undergo?

Pediatric surgeons have to go to a medical school for at least four years after their basic education. After this, they undergo five additional years of general surgery residency training. Then, they undergo two additional years of residency training in pediatric surgery. 

In contrast, pediatricians complete a three-year residency program in pediatrics. Following this, they may do a fellowship for up to three years in various pediatric subspecialties of their choice (pediatric gastroenterology, pediatric cardiology, pediatric nephrology, etc.), or they may choose not to do a fellowship and remain a general pediatrician. 

Training for specific specialties, after four years of medical school, is as follows:

Pediatric neurosurgeons

  • 1 year of surgical internship
  • 5+ years of residency training in neurological surgery
  • Additional training in pediatric neurosurgery

Pediatric ophthalmologists

  • 1 year of surgical internship
  • 3 years of residency training in ophthalmology (eye surgery
  • Additional fellowship training in pediatric ophthalmology

Pediatric orthopedic surgeons

  • 4-5 years of orthopedic surgery residency, with the first year of residency usually being general surgery
  • 1-2 years of fellowship training in pediatric orthopedic surgery

Pediatric otorhinolaryngologists (ENT specialists)

  • 4-5 years of otorhinolaryngology surgery residency, with the first year of residency usually being general surgery
  • 1-2 years of fellowship training in pediatric otorhinolaryngology

Pediatric plastic surgeons

  • 3 years of residency training in general surgery or a residency training program in general surgery, otolaryngology, urology, orthopedic surgery, neurosurgery, or combined general surgery/oral surgery residency
  • 3 years of additional training in plastic surgery
  • Additional fellowship training in pediatric plastic surgery

Pediatric urologists

  • 1-2 years of surgical residency
  • 4 years of residency training in general urology
  • 1-3 years of additional fellowship training in pediatric urology

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Medically Reviewed on 6/29/2021