What Is Pediatric Plastic Surgery And What Does It Include?

When most people think of plastic surgery, they think of adults looking to slow or erase the effects of ageing. However, there is a lesser known specialty within the broader umbrella of plastic surgery, pediatric plastic surgery.

What is pediatric plastic surgery?

Pediatric plastic surgery, as the name implies, is reconstructive and corrective surgery for children. Pediatric surgeons are highly trained and skilled. In addition to medical school and a residency in general surgery or a related field, these doctors are also board certified in plastic surgery and have completed an additional three years training in plastic surgery. In order to call themselves pediatric plastic surgeons, doctors must spend at least 50 percent of their time treating patients ranging from birth to young adulthood.

What is included in pediatric plastic surgery?

There are many ways that pediatric plastic surgery can help a child. Just a few of these include:

1. Correcting birth defects. This includes a wide range of issues, from cosmetic to functional, such as correcting cleft lips and palates (something that affects one in 800 babies), erasing birth marks, separating webbed fingers and toes, and reconstructing absent parts of the body, such as a missing ear.

2. Treating scars and defects from accidents. A large part of any pediatric plastic surgery practice is treating children who have been in auto and other types of accidents.

3. Treating scarring from burns. Burns are not only extremely painful, but can leave extensive scarring. Pediatric plastic surgeons can help to minimize the unattractive appearance of burned tissue with skin grafts and laser treatments.

4. Correcting Craniofacial-Orbital deformities. This includes correcting development issues with the skull and the face, such as a flat spot on one side of the head or when the bones in the skull fail to fuse together as a child grows.

5. Removing tumors and growths. Children can also be subject to tumors and growths either from birth or as a result of disease. Pediatric plastic surgeons also work to remove these unattractive and potentially harmful tissues.

6. Issues with a child's blood vessels. Another common birth defect is issues with the vascular system. Plastic surgeons also remove vascular lesions and correct other vascular anomalies.

While plastic surgery is best known for combating wrinkles and other signs of aging, this medial discipline can also help children with congenital deformities, children who have been in an accident and who have extensive scarring from burns.