Pediatric plastic and reconstructive surgery encompass a group of surgical procedures that correct or improve the appearance and function of external deformities. Pediatric procedures account for about three percent of all plastic surgery procedures performed in the US each year. These procedures require specialized care to preserve the growing bodies of children from infants to young adults.
What Are My Pediatric Plastic Surgery Options?
Dr. Trussler provides a full spectrum of reconstructive and skin care procedures for children, including those requiring care for:
- Skin tumors
- Limb deformities
- Scars, including keloid scars
- Congenital hand and foot disorders
- Breast and pelvic deformities
- Abdominal and chest wall defects
- Repair of facial fractures
- Traumatic hand and upper extremity injuries
Reconstructive surgery is most often performed to improve the function of the affected area after an injury, birth defect or scarring from another surgical procedure, and usually improves the appearance of the affected area as well through the same procedure. These procedures require expert, individualized care to treat the growing bodies of pediatric patients and ensure that proper development and functioning continue after surgery.
It is important for surgeons to take special care when performing pediatric procedures, as children’s bodies are still growing and must continue to develop as needed after surgery. There are certain risks associated with each type of procedure, as well as general risks such as infection, anesthesia complications, excessive bleeding, fever and others. Dr. Trussler will discuss the risk of your child’s procedure before surgery.
Reconstructive Surgery For Children
Dr. Trussler performs many different types of pediatric plastic surgery procedures to correct birth defects or injuries or for cosmetic purposes. Some of these procedures include:
Cleft Lip And Cleft Palate
Cleft lip and cleft palate surgery is a complex surgical procedure usually performed at six to twelve weeks of age to correct nursing, feeding and speech problems, frequent ear infections and physical disfigurement caused by a cleft lip and/or palate. Children often require speech therapy after these procedures to correct muscle problems caused by the cleft palate.
Otoplasty, or ear surgery, aims to reduce the size of larger ears or set prominent ears back closer to the head. This procedure involves sculpting the cartilage to change the appearance of the ears. Although otoplasty can be performed on adults, it is most commonly performed on children between the ages of four and 14, as ears are almost fully grown by age four. Many parents choose to have their child undergo this procedure at an early age to help prevent teasing in school.
Scar revision is typically performed on patients with scars from injury or from a previous surgery and aims to improve the appearance and function of the affected area through one of several different techniques. Many minor scars can be treated by injecting a steroid medication into the scar, while others may require laser treatments, skin grafts, collagen injections or other types of reconstructive treatment.
Cosmetic procedures for children often include rhinoplasty, breast augmentation or male breast reduction. While these procedures have a very high success rate similar to the ones performed on adults, it is important for patients to wait until their bodies are fully developed before undergoing cosmetic procedures, in order to ensure that the results do not change dramatically over time.
After Care & Recovery
After plastic or reconstructive surgery, Dr. Trussler will provide specific post-operative instructions to help patients return to their daily lives and ensure proper growth and development. When performed by an experienced specialist like Dr. Trussler, most patients can achieve successful correction of their condition. Additional follow-up care will likely be provided by the child’s primary care physician.
- Piper HG, Trussler AP, Schindel D. Gracilis Transposition Flap for Repair of an Acquired Rectovaginal Fistula in a Pediatric Patient. J Ped Surg. 2011; 46:37-41.