James Thomsen MD

Driving kids to and fro is a routine activity for metro Atlanta parents. That said, most moms and dads don't trust their children's safety to the standard adult-sized car seat. They carefully make sure they have the right seat for the right age, size and weight.

That's because parents know that whether it's an infant's five-point harness or a 9-year-old's booster seat, the right fit could save their child's life.

The same principle holds true when children need surgery because of enlarged or infected tonsils and or adenoids, says Dr. James Thomsen, Medical Director of Otolaryngology (ENT) at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.

Having a tonsillectomy can be straightforward – it's the second most common pediatric surgery, with more than 500,000 performed each year in the United States.* But straightforward does not mean without risk. And the best way to reduce risk is to make sure that pediatric patients have access to the equipment and expertise tailor-made for them. "Children are not little adults," says Dr. Thomsen. "And when you're dealing with anesthesia, surgery, or nursing care, you really want a medical environment that has the experience and tools to deal the unique issues of children."

Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, the only dedicated pediatric hospital in Georgia, can offer such specialized care, with multiple sizes of equipment and precise levels of treatment designed for kids. Breathing tubes and dosage, for example, for anesthesia is highly precise because Children's has to be able to adjust from a 4-pound preemie to a 250-pound 17-year-old athlete with a sport injury.

Children's also offers "kid-focused care," including child life specialists and therapy dogs to help make the entire family as comfortable as possible.

Of course, the most important reason parents should ask for a pediatric-trained surgeon is the same reason they have the right car seat – to prepare for a day when things are not routine. Pediatric-trained surgeons have gone through special training to care for kids. And, because Children's handles such a high volume of cases, there is little that its pediatric medical teams have not seen – providing a safety net of knowledge if something goes awry. "We can deal with simple problems in complex children – children who have multiple health issues," Dr. Thomsen said. "And we can deal with complex issues in healthy children." The vast majority of kids never need such extraordinary care – just like they might not need the multiple locks that keep them snug in their car seat. But if a child does need a tonsillectomy or an adenoidectomy, Dr. Thomsen wants to remind parents they always have a choice. "Be empowered. Be a good advocate," he says. "And ask and expect the specialized pediatric care your child deserves."

*Cullen KA, Hall MJ, Golosinskiy A. Ambulatory Surgery in the United States, 2006. National Health Statistics reports no. 11, revised. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics; 2009.

Sponsored by: Children's Healthcare of Atlanta | Phone: (404) 785-4676 | www.choa.org/ENT


PROFESSIONAL PROFILE    Dr. Thomsen received his undergraduate degree from Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana and his medical degree from Wright State University School of Medicine in Dayton, Ohio.  He completed residencies in surgery and otolaryngology at Albany Medical College and Medical Center in Albany, New York.  This was followed immediately by a fellowship in Pediatric Otolaryngology under Dr. Kenneth Grundfast and Dr. George Zalzal at Children’s National Medical Center, Washington, D.C.

After completion of the fellowship, Dr. Thomsen spent two years on the faculty of George Washington University, Children’s National Medical Center, Department of Otolaryngology. While at Children’s, he dealt with the full range tertiary problems including etiology of hearing loss and otitis media, complex head and neck disorders, airway and sinus management.

Dr. Thomsen joined Pediatric Ear, Nose & Throat of Atlanta in 1991 and works with a wide range of pediatric otolaryngology problems. He has lectured both locally and nationally on a variety of pediatric ear, nose and throat topics.

Dr. Thomsen is a fellow with the American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, a Specialty Fellow with the American Academy of Pediatrics, and a fellow of the American College of Surgeons.  He received his board certification from the American Board of Otolaryngology in October 1988.  Dr. Thomsen serves as the Medical Director for Otolaryngology at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta and also is active in the medical community, serving on many committees. 

Dr. Thomsen practices at our Scottish Rite and Alpharetta locations.

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