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What Are the Different Types of Neonatal Surgery?

A scalpel is a small, sharp knife that is used in surgeries to make incisions.
Surgery for birth defects is sometimes performed on newborns.
Lung malformation may need to be corrected through the use of neonatal surgery.
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  • Written By: Patti Kate
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 11 December 2014
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There are various types of neonatal surgery procedures that may need to be performed on newborns, and some of these include surgery for birth defects. This may include procedures on the limbs or chest. Emergency neonatal surgery may be needed on a newborn with complications that could jeopardize the baby's life. Heart surgery to correct abnormalities is another type of neonatal surgery that may be performed soon after birth.

Infants who are born premature often have complications or medical issues that may need to be corrected during the first several weeks of life. Often these babies with lower-than-normal birth weights may have underdeveloped organs or other issues. This is why neonatal surgery is more common in premature infants than full-term babies.

Neonatal surgery to correct intestinal disorders occurs in infants who are delivered full term and premature. Intestinal neonatal surgery may be performed to correct a blockage. This could be life-threatening to the infant if not surgically repaired as soon as possible. A bowel obstruction may cause sepsis and massive infection in a newborn and the infant may deteriorate rapidly if surgical intervention is not performed right away.

Lung malformation may need to be corrected through neonatal surgical procedures. Any abnormalities within the structure of the lungs may cause total collapse, resulting in respiratory failure. This type of surgery is typically performed in an emergency situation.

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Birth defects involving the abdominal wall may require neonatal surgery. Such defects may interfere with digestion, and, if not corrected, the infant stands a high risk for malnutrition and rapid weight loss. Dehydration and other critical complications may result if the surgery is not performed as quickly as possible.

Although less commonly seen, the birth of conjoined twins may necessitate emergency surgery during the first several days or weeks of life. A neonatal operation may be necessary to save either one or both lives. This type of surgery is often considered to be the most risky. The survival rate may not be high, but there may not be any other alternative.

Inguinal hernias are a common type of surgery performed on newborns and is usually performed in the neonatal unit. Although more commonly seen in male infants, baby girls may develop this condition as well. When the hernia interferes with the infant's blood circulation, immediate surgery may be necessary to avoid complications.

Other causes for neonatal surgical procedures include abnormalities involving the umbilical cord and undescended testes in male infants. Gastroesophageal abnormalities may be another condition that necessitates surgery in newborns. Esophageal deformities that require immediate surgery may be a related issue.

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