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Pediatric Surgery Specializes in Children

Children’s Connect sat down for a little Q&A with Dr. Michael Allshouse, medical director, pediatric surgery and trauma, Children's Hospital Central California, to discuss the good work he and his growing team of pediatric surgeons are doing for Valley families.

Q:  What are the differences between pediatric surgery and general surgery?

A:  Surgical practice has become so specialized that pediatric surgery is the last subspecialty where you’re still a general surgeon. We focus all our skills and training on pediatric surgical problems. There’s a big difference between adult and pediatric surgical practice.

Q:  What are the benefits to the pediatric patient to have a pediatric surgeon?

A:  Surgeons sometimes practice confidence-based medicine rather than evidence-based medicine. At a children’s hospital we offer a better option because we’re constantly striving to perform evidence-based pediatric surgery. Adult surgical principles and practice applied to small children can often result in worse outcomes. We are especially trained – not only to know HOW to do children’s surgery – but when we can avoid surgery and safely treat a baby or child. We focus all of our training on the care of children and the development of the critical thinking and judgment required to provide that care.

Q: Are there additional benefits to the pediatric patient to undergo surgery in a children’s hospital?

A: Published data shows that children receive better care in the special environment of a children’s hospital. Our surgery patients have access to all the different pediatric specialists here. When your little one is asleep and I’m operating on him there’s a whole circle of experts available to provide the best care. This Hospital was started by a group of concerned mothers who wanted the best care for their own children. Taking care of kids, that’s what we devote our lives to doing.

Q: What types of surgeries do you perform most often, and what areas would you like to expand?

A:  We are way at the top end of volume for appendectomies, which is great. We would like to get more referrals for prenatally diagnosed surgical anomalies. We’ve had a lot of success working with patients through our Maternal Fetal Center. We can make a big difference in cases where surgery is planned before birth and performed upon delivery. It’s very satisfying to help these young families.

Q:  What improvements in quality and access to care have you seen since you came to Children's Hospital Central California?

A:  Back in 2007 we did not have enough surgeons and access to care was not what it should be. But with our current team of pediatric surgeons, access to care is unparalleled. Right now we’re seeing patients within one week because of the number of surgeons who are dedicated to working here. We have a diverse but like-minded group. We’re from different areas of the country and different ages, but there’s a spirit of collaboration. We meet every Friday to discuss difficult cases, which results in more coordinated care and leads to better quality care. We are soon to be part of Pediatric NSQIP, a national surgical quality improvement program of the American College of Surgeons to allow us to track quality and compare with other children’s centers.

For a quick, easy way to refer patients for pediatric surgery, call the practice directly at (559) 353-7290 or electronically submit the eReferral form online.