If you look at an X-ray of a child’s knee, you’ll see two wavy stripes, one across the thigh bone and one on the shin bone. Those stripes are the growth plate, where new bone is added throughout the child’s development. This makes operating on children’s joints very different from operating on an adult’s. As a pediatric orthopaedic surgeon, Phil Wilson, M.D., focuses on evaluating and treating the bones, joints, and muscles of children and understanding how surgical procedures will affect their bodies as they mature. His patients range from infants to teenagers.
We counsel families so they understand that repetitive same-sport, year-round play may lead to higher risk of injury in the periadolescent athlete. Either participating in different sports, altering training, or at least taking a forced rest a couple times a year from this same sport activity may decrease injury risk."
One of his areas of expertise is minimally invasive surgery (arthroscopy) for joint problems in children and adolescents. “When we perform surgery around the joint, we have to take the growth plate that's right next to the joint into consideration,” Dr. Wilson says. “We think about how future growth may be affected by the current procedure.”
Dr. Wilson has completed fellowships in both pediatric orthopaedics and arthroscopy/sports medicine. That dual training makes him rare. Only about a dozen medical groups nationwide, including UT Southwestern Medical Center, include a surgeon with formal training in that combination of skills. As children’s participation in sports increases in intensity, he is seeing more pediatric orthopaedic injuries in both boys and girls, including those participating in Little League baseball, gymnastics, soccer, football, and other team and individual athletics.
His expertise and experience allow Dr. Wilson to tackle a number of rare or difficult pediatric joint problems. Among these are patellar instability, in which a kneecap easily dislocates; osteochondritis dissecans (OCD), a condition where a section of bone and cartilage detach; and overuse injuries that have damaged the joint or growth plate. “We're much more comfortable with a lot of these pathologies that are relatively less common in a general orthopaedic practice,” he says.
“We see ourselves as a resource for other orthopaedists,” he adds, “for those things that are less common in their practice that involve growth issues they may not be as comfortable treating.”
Moving between the worlds of sports medicine and pediatric orthopaedics allows Dr. Wilson and his team to bring the best perspectives of both to the community.
Dr. Wilson is a member of the UT Southwestern Orthopaedic Surgery faculty. He sees patients at Children’s Medical Center.
- Pediatric orthopaedics
- Pediatric sports medicine
- Overuse pediatric sports injuries
- Pediatric orthopaedic trauma
- Upper and lower extremity pediatric injuries and fractures
- Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury and reconstruction
- Pediatric arthroscopy
- Growth plate
- Skeletal immaturity
- Osteochondritis dissecans (OCD)
- Little League elbow
- Throwing injuries
- Shoulder instability
- Cartilage problems in the shoulder, elbow, knee, and ankle
- Patellar instability
- Periarticular ligament injury
- Sports injury prevention