Pediatric Surgery

Pediatric surgery

When a child needs surgery, it’s important to get the best care possible. Pediatric surgeons are trained in the special techniques involved in operating on children, from newborns through the teenage years. At Community Medical Center, pediatric surgeon Daniel Beals, MD, has more than 25 years of experience caring for these children.

What training do pediatric surgeons have?

After four years of medical school, pediatric surgeons complete a five-year general surgery residency and two additional years in a pediatric surgery fellowship. Dr. Beals went beyond these requirements to complete two pediatric fellowships. He also trained in pediatric critical care and ECMO, a technology that temporarily takes over the function of the lungs and sometimes the heart in very sick children.

Why is it important to use a pediatric surgeon?

While general surgeons can perform many operations on children, pediatric surgeons are specially trained to care for this age group. This extra training makes a significant difference in how well young patients do before, during and after surgery. Dr. Beals is expert in:

  • Understanding disease processes in developing bodies, from infants to teens.
  • Recognizing symptoms in children who may not be able to describe them.
  • Operating on small bodies, which can be very different from adult surgery.
  • Understanding the emotional concerns of children, teens and parents.
  • Using technologies and equipment designed for children.
  • Using the latest pediatric surgical techniques.
  • Helping children relax and reducing their anxiety during examination and treatment.

Dr. Beals also understands that sick children are part of a family, and every member is under stress. He takes time to answer questions and explain every test and procedure.

How does Community Medical Center help young surgical patients?

At Community Medical Center, outstanding care for children starts even before they are born. Many conditions can be diagnosed and treated during pregnancy by maternal-fetal medicine specialist Bardette Fausett, MD. Fetal surgery gives babies a better start toward healthy lives. 

Newborns with serious health problems get immediate care at Community’s Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Since this unit is located adjacent to the Women and Newborn Center, mothers can stay close to their babies while they are being treated. Breastfeeding is encouraged when possible, and so is skin-to-skin contact. These practices encourage bonding and provide many health benefits to both mother and baby.

When babies or older children need surgery, Dr. Beals’ team and the advanced facilities at Community Medical Center provide advantages for:

  • Babies born with congenital defects. Learn more,
  • Children of all ages with other common or rare surgical conditions. Learn more.

Surgical care for young patients at Community is greatly enhanced by our partnership with Seattle Children’s Hospital which brings the highest level of care to Missoula. Learn more about Community’s partnership with Seattle Children’s Hospital.

What pediatric surgeries are done at Community Medical Center?

Dr. Beals is expert at diagnosing a wide range of conditions in children, performing surgeries to correct them and guiding the child’s recovery. Depending on the condition and the child, he may use traditional or minimally invasive procedures. Some surgical conditions treated at Community include:

  • Hernias. Hernias in children are the most common reason for pediatric surgery. Correcting hernias is usually a simple and quick procedure.
  • Gastrointestinal problems. Conditions such as bowel obstructions, swallowing difficulties and many more can be corrected or relieved with surgery.
  • Cancer. Many childhood cancers, such as those found in the liver, kidneys, abdomen or other locations, can be treated with surgery. Treatment may also involve placing an IV catheter for chemotherapy.
  • Urologic defects. Surgery is often used to treat conditions such as kidney stones and other kidney conditions, cysts, bladder defects and other problems with the urinary system.
  • Chest defects. Problems with how the ribs and sternum are formed, cysts and other conditions in the lungs, and other problems occurring in the chest may require surgery.
  • Reproductive system conditions. Abnormalities of the internal and external reproductive organs, including birth defects as well as cysts, tumors and other problems, can often be repaired with surgery.
  • Urgent and emergency conditions. Surgery may be needed quickly In cases such as appendicitis, a twisted intestine called volvulus, an intestinal obstruction called intussusception, testicular torsion and other conditions.
  • Congenital defects. Premature and term babies can be born with inherited conditions that require surgery. Examples include necrotizing enterocolitis, bowel perforations or atresia, tracheoesophageal fistula, imperforate anus, Hirschprung’s disease, patent ductus arteriosus (PDA), congenital diaphragmatic hernia, pulmonary lesions and others.

Dr. Beals and his colleagues in Maternal-Fetal Medicine and Neonatology treat these and many more conditions. However, when they believe a child will be better treated at a regional medical center they don’t hesitate to send their patient to Seattle Children’s Hospital.

Surgery at Seattle Children’s ranks among the best in the world. Transport from Community Medical Center to Seattle Children’s is seamless, and Dr. Beals often travels there to assist in his patient’s surgery. Your personal pediatrician, as well as your family, always remain part of the care team.

About Daniel Beals, MD

Dr. BealsDr. Daniel Beals is a pediatric surgeon with more than 25 years of experience practicing in a variety of settings, including busy metropolitan hospitals. He received a bachelor’s degree in biology and chemistry from Carson Newman College, where he graduated Magna Cum Laude. He completed medical school at Tulane School of Medicine, and a surgical internship and residency at Marshall University Affiliated Hospitals. Dr. Beals completed two fellowships in pediatric surgery, one at Children’s Hospital Boston and the other at Miami Children’s Hospital. He also holds a master’s degree in bioethics from Trinity International University.

Dr. Beals is board certified in surgery with an added qualification in critical care. He is a fellow of the American College of Surgeons, the American Academy of Pediatrics, Surgery Section and the Center for Bioethics and Dignity, and is a member of many other medical societies.

Over his career Dr. Beals has published dozens of research articles in professional journals, and has contributed chapters to books on pediatric surgery and care. He has also lectured both nationally and internationally about issues in pediatric surgery.

At Community Medical Center, Dr. Beals has been instrumental in advancing the partnership with Seattle Children’s Hospital to benefit patients and families. Beyond his extensive technical and surgical skills, he is also expert at understanding the emotional concerns of children and teens with medical problems, and in helping them and their families through the process of surgery and healing.

To make an appointment with Dr. Beals, call 406-327-4730.