Family Physician, 2003;12:8-12.


1) A variety of surgical lesions can occur in infants and children. 2) The first step in the management is to arrive at an accurate diagnosis. Most lesions can be diagnosed or suspected through "pattern recognition" 3) Some lesions can be treated by the general practitioners / family physicians for e.g. umbilical granuloma. 4) Lesions that can be observed over time for spontaneous resolutions are umbilical hernia, congenital hydrocele and haemangioma. 5) Lesions or conditions that require prompt referral are undescended testis, inguinal hernia, neonatal jaundice and large cystic hygJ1Qmas 6) Thyroglossal cyst, hypospadias and small cystic hygromas can be referred to a specialist at a time convenient for the family. 7) Phimosis may require an expert consultation 8) Expert consultation should be sought when in doubt; for example when difficulty is encountered in differentiating a retractile testis from an undescended testis. 9) As a general rule, all skin and subcutaneous swellings, except a hemangioma should be referred to a specialist, as soft tissue malignancy is a possibility even in infants. 10) Family physicians should be aware of the potential long-term problems of some conditions such as undescended testis and biliary atresia.