If your child needs surgery, you want to know she’s going to be in skilled hands. That’s why it’s important to know her surgeon is board certified.

Board certification means that a doctor has received highly specialized, advanced training beyond what is needed to get a medical license. The process is optional, and doctors must participate in continuing education and take regular tests to make sure they stay up to date on their specialties.

“Board certification assures that your doctor has had the proper training and supervision to be competent to perform procedures on children,” says Brad W. Warner, MD, surgeon-in-chief at St. Louis Children’s Hospital and the Jessie L. Ternberg, MD, PhD, Distinguished Professor of Pediatric Surgery at Washington University School of Medicine. “A surgeon who isn’t board certified could be missing some of those extra skills.”

Lifelong learning also helps pediatric surgeons keep their skills sharp.

“A surgeon doesn’t become board certified and then never read another academic article,” Dr. Warner says. “Continuing our education is required and helps us keep current with the most advanced surgeries and treatments for children.”

Parents never have to worry whether specialists at St. Louis Children’s Hospital are dedicated to high-quality care: All pediatric general surgeons must be board certified to perform procedures at the hospital and at the St. Louis Children’s Specialty Care Center.

To find out a pediatric surgeon’s board certification status, visit absurgery.org and click on “Check a Certification.” Make sure the physician is certified in pediatric surgery as well as general surgery.

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