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Ir J Med Sci. 2015 Mar;184(1):195-9. doi: 10.1007/s11845-014-1086-3. Epub 2014 Feb 22.

What does general paediatric surgery involve? An audit of paediatric cases in 1 year.

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  • 1Department of General Surgery, Cork University Hospital, Wilton, Cork, Ireland,



As all tertiary paediatric hospitals are based in the capital of Dublin, it is therefore necessary for general surgeons in centres outside of Dublin to undertake routine elective and emergency paediatric surgery to provide children with care close to home. The aim of this study is to assess the volume and type of procedures this entails.


Prospective analysis of the elective and emergency paediatric surgical services provided by a single surgeon in a regional university hospital to determine the volume and nature of general paediatric operative procedures performed.


There were 126 operative procedures performed on patients less than 16 years of age during a 12-month period, accounting for 22.8 % of all operations. There were 56 emergency (44.4 %) and 70 elective procedures (55.5 %). The median age was 4.7 years (median age for emergencies 5.4 years, median age for elective surgery 3.8 years). Paediatric operations accounted for 23.4 % of all emergency and 26.2 % of all elective operations. The most commonly performed emergency operations were appendicectomies and pyloromyotomies, representing 73 % of all emergency cases. Inguinal hernia repair, excision of ingrown toenail and percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG) tube insertion represented 61 % of elective procedures.


The range of procedures in general paediatric surgery is small with only five procedures representing the majority of all elective and emergency procedures performed. This suggests that a period of specialist paediatric surgery training would enable more general surgeons to provide this vital service.

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