Angie's LIST Guide to
Pediatric Urology

Pediatric urology is a specialty field of medicine that evaluates, diagnoses and treats illnesses and diseases of the genitourinary tract in patients who are 18 years of age and younger.


Photo collage of babies and doctors.
Children often are diagnosed with illnesses and conditions that affect adults, but because of their special needs, they are often referred to pediatric specialists. Specialists in all areas can provide treatment plans to improve health and quality of life.

What pediatric urology treats

Pediatric urologists treat both congenital conditions, including malformations of the urinary tract, and the genitalia. Doctors often see young patients suffering from obstructions within the urinary tract that may be caused by kidney stones, kidney infections or tumors. Pediatric urologists also treat bladder problems that result in bedwetting as well as complications from spina bifida, cystic diseases, cancer and genital disorders.

Pediatric urologists must complete several years of post-graduate education, including medical school training, a surgical internship and residency training. The residency program provides more focused training for doctors to develop and hone their skills and specialize in a particular field of interest. Before any doctor starts a practice, he or she must also pass a national medical examination in order to become a licensed medical professional. Pediatric urologists who attain board certification by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) have met the requirements for developing a professional level of expertise and knowledge within the field.

Diagnosing urological problems

Diagnosis and treatment may also involve surgery to reconstruct portions of the urinary tract and correct genital abnormalities. Medical procedures done by pediatric urologists to treat genitourinary tract disorders include ultrasound, urinalysis, urethral catheterization and circumcision procedures for newborns.

Your doctor may arrange for a commonly used diagnostic test known as a cystoscopy, a medical procedure that involves closely examining the interior of the bladder and urethra. The test can help the doctor identify what's causing the underlying symptoms experienced by your child.

A special instrument called a cystoscope is a thin, lighted tool that the doctor inserts through the urethra into the bladder. The doctor can examine the inside of the bladder as well as remove small growths and bladder stones that may be present. The specialist performs this procedure to help diagnose both bladder and urinary tract conditions and diseases. Cystoscopy can be performed in a hospital or as an outpatient procedure. Local or general anesthesia is used depending on your situation and underlying diagnosis. A patient must take important preparatory steps prior to having a cystoscopy, so make sure that the pediatric urologist thoroughly explains what your child needs to do prior to the procedure to avoid any potential complications and reduce any anxiety.

Choosing the right pediatric urologist

When you decide to bring your child to a pediatric urologist, contact your health insurance provider to verify coverage and whether you need to obtain a referral from the pediatrician or family doctor before you make an appointment. Make sure the doctor's visit is covered if you decide to go out of your health insurance company's network of providers. Read through the listing of pediatric urologists in the provider directory available from your health insurance company. Verify their qualifications, education, continuing education, accepted insurance plans and affiliated hospitals by consulting Angie's List, where you can also see member reviews and rankings.

When you bring your child to a pediatric urologist for diagnosis and treatment, you'll need to provide the doctor with a medical history prior to the examination. Just contact your child's pediatrician and ask the office to transfer the health records. Visiting a doctor's office usually requires completing a patient care form if your child is a new patient. Plan on arriving at the pediatric urologist's office a little early to allow yourself some time to thoroughly fill out the necessary information needed by the doctor. The pediatric urologist will evaluate your child's condition and may order a variety of diagnostic tests to help evaluate the condition and provide followup treatment.


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