Dr. Patar Parmonangan Oppusunggu Sp.OT, Paediatric Orthopaedics: Ensuring the Foundations of the Future

Story By
Sri Utami

Every child deserves a fresh start in life, look to the future and all the wonderful possibilities it holds.

Paediatric Orthopaedics is a branch of medicine which diagnoses and then treats musculoskeletal problems in children, such as limb and spine deformities noted at birth or later in life, walking abnormalities, bone or joint infections, and even tumors.

A detailed knowledge of paediatric orthopaedic conditions is essential in providing high quality care from birth so it is sad to find that, especially in developing countries, many paediatric orthopaedic conditions are poorly understood. The most common cases involve walking abnormalities, due to their visibility. As well as the physical limitations, these conditions may have a profound effect on a child’s confidence which may lead to low self-esteem. If the condition is congenital, it may affect normal functionality or the patient may suffer painful sores in certain areas of their body. Currently, there are around 20 doctors certified in this field in Indonesia (mostly practicing in Java, Sumatra and Sulawesi).

Dr. Patar studied Orthopedics and Traumatology while practicing in general medicine before continuing to a fellowship program for sub-specialists in Paediatric Orthopaedics at the Children’s Orthopaedic Center in Mumbai, India. At that time, the fellowship program and adaptive rotation was unavailable in Indonesia, only in Malaysia, Singapore, Korea, Japan and India. Dr Patar adapted the study from India due to the close similarities with Indonesia’s demographic.

His initial interest in becoming a surgeon came from finding that abnormalities and illnesses could be screened from birth and that non-invasive procedures and exercise routines could be recommended, if these factors were to be quickly detected.  Dr. Patar continued to give his advice on a growing child’s needs, saying that it is important for every baby to progress through the developmental stages, such as crawling before standing, and then taking small steps with the help of the push walker. It is still considered normal for a baby to learn to walk at around 18 months of age. As a baby grows, adequate nutrition is important to support muscle and bone development. Being over-weight is not good for a child’s growth, especially in the lower body. A regular intake of calcium, especially for females, is essential in reaching peak bone mass before the age of 30. Calcium can be found in milk, broccoli, salted fish amongst others and supplements are taken only when necessary. Calcium also requires vitamin D which is best found in sunlight and where 10-15 minutes between 7.00 - 9.00 a.m. being the most effective time.