Who should treat pyloric stenosis: the general or specialist pediatric surgeon?

J Pediatr Surg. 1996 Nov;31(11):1535-7. doi: 10.1016/s0022-3468(96)90172-4.


Recent reports suggest that children under 3 years of age are best operated on by a specialist pediatric surgeon. In the United Kingdom, hypertrophic pyloric stenosis traditionally has been treated by adult general surgeons. Should this change? In 1991, a retrospective review of 10 years' experience with pyloric stenosis, managed by general surgeons in a large district general hospital, was published. In 1969, an accredited pediatric surgeon, who largely took over the management of pyloric stenosis, was appointed to the staff. His results with 70 children over a 5-year period (series 2) were reviewed retrospectively and compared with the previously published general surgical series of 170 children (series 1). There was no significant difference in the gender, age, or weight distribution between the two series. There was a marked difference in the rates of wound infection (15.5% in series 1; 2.8% in series 2; P < .05), wound dehiscence (6.7% in series 1; 0% in series 2; P < .05), and breach of the duodenal mucosa (12.8% in series 1; 0% in series 2; P < .01). The lower morbidity rate resulted in a shorter hospital stay, with emotional and financial savings. This supports the recommendation that children with this condition should be managed by a pediatric surgeon.

MeSH terms

  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertrophy
  • Infant
  • Intestinal Mucosa / injuries
  • Length of Stay
  • Male
  • Medical Audit
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology*
  • Pyloric Stenosis / surgery*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Specialties, Surgical*
  • Surgical Wound Dehiscence / epidemiology
  • Surgical Wound Infection / epidemiology
  • Suture Techniques / statistics & numerical data
  • Treatment Outcome
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology