NewsLocal News


How old is too old to bring your child to a pediatrician for a major surgery?

Doctors say there are benefits to choosing a pediatrician
Gannon Watson
Posted at 7:37 AM, May 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-19 09:52:56-04

When a Highland Ranch mother's 16-year-old son needed surgery for a painful hernia, she had to decide if it was better to take him to a pediatrician or surgeon for adults.

Gannon Watson, a sophomore and wrestler at Mountain Vista High School in Highlands Ranch, had to stop wrestling because of the hernia. His mom, Heather Payant-Nguyen, had to make the decision about where he would get the surgery for his hernia, which had forced him to stop wrestling.

"They’re still growing," she explained. "If they’re still growing they meet that guideline of seeing a pediatrics."

She decided to send Gannon to Rocky Mountain Pediatric Surgery in Denver. It's an option a lot of parents tend to overlook when their kids start growing so fast.

Dr. Kristin Shipman, a pediatric surgery specialist with Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children, said going the pediatric route has real benefits.

"We take care of patients from conception to college," Shipman said. "We’re used to taking care of pediatric patients, no matter their size."

That includes children like Gannon, who stands 6 feet tall.

The tools that can be used are just as robust, Shipman said. She operated on Gannon via robotics. The procedure minimized recovery from four to six months to four to six weeks. It was all in an environment suited for a kid.

"It’s exciting for the patients," Shipman said. "We’re used to taking care of those patients with a pediatric perspective. It's helpful and healing for the family."

The decision is ultimately up to the parent. Always check with your healthcare provider when it comes to the best way forward on treatment for your child.