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What is paediatric surgery?

Paediatric surgery is a specialised type of surgery that is used to specifically treat paediatric problems. There are many different conditions that can affect a child that may require surgery. It is a specialised type of surgery as the body has not fully developed. Paediatric surgery consists of many different procedures that can be used depending on the type of paediatric condition. Physiotherapy can be important prior to surgery and is essential in the process of rehabilitation following surgery.

How does paediatric surgery help?

Paediatric surgery can have many benefits including:
  • Correction of developmental problems
  • Improved gait
  • Reduced pain
  • Increased functional activity
  • Reduced spasticity
  • Reduced contractures
  • Increased sensation
  • Improved motor skills, both gross and fine
  • Increased proprioception
  • Improved coordination and balance
  • Improved speech and swallowing
These benefits can only be achieved through effective rehabilitation.

Who benefits from paediatric surgery?

There are many conditions that can respond well to paediatric surgery including:
  • Spastic Cerebral Palsy
  • Developmental delay
  • Plagiocephaly
  • Hydrocephalus
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux
  • Torticollis
Paediatric surgery can also be beneficial for children with the following problems:
  • Cardiac problems
  • Ear, nose and throat problems
  • Orthopaedic problems
  • High levels of spasticity in the lower limb
  • Contractures of the lower limb
  • Sensory problems

Types of paediatric surgery

There are many different types of paediatric surgery including:
  • Neonatal surgery
  • Laparoscopy
  • Urology
  • Bronchoscopy
  • Thoracoscopy
  • Chest surgery

Benefits of physiotherapy pre paediatric surgery

Surgery is a complex procedure and can have a big effect on the body so it is important that the individual is prepared for it. Physiotherapy can help to prepare an individual prior to paediatric surgery by:
  • Increasing strength
  • Increasing mobility
  • Increasing flexibility
  • Optimising lung capacity

What would physiotherapy involve for someone prior to paediatric surgery?

There are some treatments and techniques that physiotherapists can use prior to surgery to speed up the rehabilitation process following paediatric surgery. These may include:
  • Strengthening exercises
  • Mobility encouragement
  • Stretching exercises
  • Pain management strategies
  • Chest physiotherapy and advice

Benefits of physiotherapy following paediatric surgery

Physiotherapy is very important in rehabilitation following paediatric surgery. The benefits of physiotherapy include:
  • Reaching developmental goals
  • Improved movement control
  • Improved gait (walking)
  • Increased range of movement
  • Reduced spasticity and contractures
  • Increased muscle strength
  • Improved balance and coordination
  • Increased independence

What would physiotherapy involve for someone following paediatric surgery?

There are many different treatments and techniques that physiotherapists could use following paediatric surgery. Physiotherapy following paediatric surgery can often be a long and intensive process so it is important that it is made interesting to the child and that the parents/guardians are informed of how to continue rehabilitation when at home. This gives the best chance of achieving the most effective rehabilitation. Physiotherapy treatment may include:
  • Scar management
  • Range of movement exercises
  • Strengthening exercises
  • Manual techniques
  • Sensory techniques
  • Use of equipment
  • Movement techniques
  • Walking practice
  • Practice of everyday activities


There are many different types of paediatric problems and these can have a serious effect on the development of a child and their everyday life. In some cases surgery is the best treatment. There are a lot of surgical techniques that can treat paediatric problems. Physiotherapy has many benefits following surgery and it is essential in the process of rehabilitation.

For more information on paediatric surgery please contact us or call on 0330 088 7800.