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What Types Of Plastic Surgery Are Performed On Children?

by Caitlin Obara

While plastic surgery is generally considered a type of procedure to be performed on consenting adults, there are also a variety of procedures for children. Pediatric plastic surgery is most often done for reconstructive work and some cosmetic procedures to correct birth defects and genetic abnormalities. If you are interested in being involved in plastic surgery, but also want to work with children, you may be performing the following procedures.

Cleft Lip and Palate Surgery

A common procedure performed on children of all ages is cleft palate surgery. When a child has a cleft lip or cleft palate, it is generally something they were born with. This is also a very common birth defect for children. With a cleft lip, there is a cleft, or separation in the middle of the lip. This is due to the formation not being complete during fetal development. A cleft palate is where there is a cleft in the tissues at the roof of the mouth. There are procedures that can correct one or both of these. Some children have both the cleft palate and cleft lip together.

Ear Abnormalities

Many pediatric plastic surgeons also perform corrective surgeries due to ear abnormalities, also frequently a birth defect. Some ear abnormalities, occur on their own with one or both ears, while others are in addition to a facial abnormality as well. One common ear abnormality that can be corrected with plastic surgery is having prominent ears. This is when the ears are a larger size and stick out from the head in an obvious way. The procedure, called otoplasty, helps to put the ears closer to the head and reduce their size. With microtia, part of the ear is missing, which can be corrected.

Facial Trauma Reconstruction

Some plastic surgery procedures are reconstructive and not due to birth defects, such as if the child has experienced facial trauma. This might be at the result of being in a physical altercation with other children, being in a vehicle accident, or having an accident while playing sports or riding their bicycle. Some facial injuries that can be corrected with reconstruction procedures include fractured bones in the face or jaw, severe lacerations, and intra-oral lacerations.

Cysts and Growths

There may also be some growths or cysts on a child that need to be removed. Even those that are not a danger to the child are often removed for cosmetic purposes. For example, a vascular birthmark is one where there are vein abnormalities causing large purple and red spots on the body. Plastic surgery can also help with dermoid cysts, which are often on the face or skull. These can get larger gradually, which is why they should be removed. For more information, contact a healthcare center such as Shriner's Hospital Cincinnati.