Brussels and Antwerp hospitals collaborate on pediatric surgery network
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Brussels and Antwerp hospitals collaborate on pediatric surgery network

Photo by Aditya Romansa on Unsplash

UZ Brussel and the Antwerp Hospital Network, together with the Sisters of Antwerp Hospital, are teaming up to create a new network for pediatric surgery.

The goal is to have a pediatric surgeon available day and night, all year round.

The alliance, called Saffier, involves six paediatric surgeons from the various hospitals joining forces in three of the country’s largest centres for surgery for rare paediatric diseases.

Saffier will operate from the ZNA Koningin Paola Kinderziekenhuis in Antwerp, the GZA Ziekenhuizen campus Sint-Augustinus and the UZ Brussel in Jette.

Belgium only has about 30 paediatric surgeons in total, spread over 12 centres, largely because the discipline is so highly specialised.

“Eighty percent of the surgical interventions on children take place in the first year of life,” Dr Paul Leyman told Bruzz, “a large proportion of them even in the first 48 hours after birth.”

“That makes paediatric surgery a speciality. A child is not a mini-adult: they have a completely different physique and much less blood. A newborn, for example, has 23 centilitres of blood, the contents of a soft drink bottle. Therefore, a bloodless surgical technique with as little tissue trauma as possible is very important.”

Paediatric surgery is a specialisation for rare conditions children from newborns up to sixteen years of age.

It involves operations on the head and neck, chest, abdomen and digestive system. For neurological, orthopaedic and plastic procedures, children can also visit the three hospitals, but these are not part of the Saffier cooperation.

“By working together, we want to be better at rare child surgery,” said professor Toon De Backer of the UZ Brussel.

The Brussels Times