Everyone celebrates the birth of a healthy baby. Some families, however, find their celebrations cut short, and their energies instead focus on health issues that are often recognized at a very young age. Children who begin their lives with a condition like a cleft lip, congenital glaucoma, or a thyroid condition rely on the best care from the most respected pediatricians to make sure that they are able to live a full life.
In order to insure the most success, parents need to find the most qualified and experienced doctors to work with their children. Sometimes those choices depend upon the condition that needs to be treated. A constant battle with sinus infections, for example, might best be handled by an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialist. A cleft lip, on the other hand, might best be handled by a care team that includes pediatricians, dentists, surgeons, speech and language pathologists, and other specialists. Having a confident relationship with a primary doctor or a primary pediatrician will make getting referrals for needed specialists more effective and efficient.
What should we do if our child has constant ear infections?
Nearly five out of every six children will have at least one ear infection by his or her third birthday. If, however, a child is often being treated for ear infections, a visit to an office that treats common ENT problems might be in order. Childhood ear infections can be a singular condition, or they can be a sign of a child who will continue to have sinus infections or other breathing difficulties. Consulting with a respected doctor or specialist may be the best approach so that a child can get the safest and most effective treatment in a timely manner.
While it is unlikely that a child with ear problems will be found to have congenital abnormalities of the ear, it is always best to consult with a specialist as soon as possible, to rule out, and possibly treat, any other problems. More common is the chance that a child with chronic ear infections may require ear tubes or a tonsillectomy. Although 90% of tonsillectomies 30 years ago were done because of ear infections, this is no longer the case. In fact, today’s studies show that only 20% of tonsillectomies are for infections. The other 80% of tonsillectomies are done to correct for obstructive sleep problems (OSA). Working with the best ENT specialists will help ensure that a child receives the best treatment. Although not necessarily performed because of ear infections, recent government numbers still indicate that 300,000 to 400,000 tonsillectomies are performed every year. This number represents procedures for both the youngest children and adolescents.
What should we do if our child is born with a cleft lip or palate?
Cleft lip and cleft palate diagnosis is often made at birth. In fact, many of the cleft lip and cleft palate conditions are recognized during the ultrasound process before a child is even born. In these situations, pediatricians often provide recommendations of groups of doctors. Perhaps the best way to treat these conditions, or any repair of facial and neck injuries, is to work with a team of doctors. While a surgeon might be the best expert for correcting the physical condition, it is important to immediately consult a speech pathologist as well. Since speech effects hearing, many of these teams also include audiologists and other specialists.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 2,650 U.S. babies are born with a cleft palate each year. Additionally, 4,440 U.S. babies are born with a cleft lip with or without a cleft palate. Qualified teams of specialists often recommend that surgery be performed within the first year, and at the very least within the first 18 months. Parents who know about these conditions before a baby is born may already have a tentative plan for appointments and consultations even before the baby is born.
All parents hope that childhood will be a time of great joy and happiness. If, however, a family’s youngest children have health concerns requiring doctor’s appointments and surgeries, selecting the best pediatric specialists is the first step in a healthy recovery.