Pediatric urology is the diagnosis and treatment of a wide range of urological and genital conditions that affect children, both male and female. The discipline concerns itself with conditions that affect the genitals or the organs of the urinary tract (kidneys, ureters, bladder). Some of these are congenital abnormalities or disorders, while others may arise throughout childhood or adolescence.
In some cases, pediatric urologists are consulted when abnormalities are found through prenatal screening. In other situations, children who develop problems of the urinary tract are referred to a pediatric urologist by their regular pediatrician.
Functions of Pediatric Urologists
Pediatric urologists diagnose and treat genital and urinary tract disorders. In the course of their work, they evaluate and medically manage disease conditions and perform reparative surgeries. The services they provide include assessing, managing or correcting the following:
- Voiding disorders
- Genital abnormalities
- Developmental sexual disorders
- Kidney stones
- Tumors of the urinary tract
- Urinary tract difficulties due to neurological disorders
Pediatric urologists normally treat both children and adolescents.
Reasons for Pediatric Urological Consultation
Some reasons for consulting a pediatric urologist are benign, or even, routine, such as circumcision, diaper rash, of bedwetting (nocturnal enuresis) but others can be extremely serious, requiring surgical, sometimes immediate, intervention. Parents of young patients may consult with a pediatric urologist for one of the following:
- Inguinal hernia
- Urinary tract infections
- Undescended testicle
- Antenatal hydronephrosis
- Torsion of the testicle
- Ureteropelvic junction obstruction
- Vesicoureteral reflux
- Bladder exstrophy
Many of these abnormalities are present at birth and either resolve by themselves or can be corrected surgically. Others, like torsion of the testicle, present later and require emergency operations.
Pediatric Urological Diagnoses
During a pediatric urological consultation, the doctor takes a full medical history of the child and performs a physical examination. Diagnostic tests are typically performed as well, and may include:
- Blood tests
- Renal CT or MRI scan
- Pelvic ultrasound
Depending on the findings, additional tests may be required to confirm a tentative diagnosis.
Treatment of Pediatric Urological Disorders
The pediatric urologist will formulate an individualized treatment plan for each patient, always trying the least invasive approach first.Treatment may be limited to ongoing monitoring or may include endoscopic, laparoscopic or robotic procedures. Most pediatric urological interventions can be performed on an outpatient basis.
- National Institutes of Health
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
- U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
- U.S. National Library of Medicine
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