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What is pediatric plastic and reconstructive surgery?

Pediatric plastic and reconstructive surgery focuses on the diagnosis, treatment, and long-term management of a spectrum of pediatric physical deformities, which may be present at birth, may be caused by trauma, or may result from an acquired disease.

Examples include clefts of the lip and palate, abnormal skull shapes, birthmarks, facial and hand injuries, and benign and malignant tumors. Such conditions may disfigure the appearance and impair function of different body parts, all of which must subsequently be addressed by the plastic surgeon.

The Scott & White pediatric plastic surgery team is truly multidisciplinary and includes subspecialized plastic surgeons, pediatricians, neurosurgeons, oral surgeons, speech pathologists, pediatric dentists, orthodontists, otolaryngologists, social workers, and other caregivers.

What does a pediatric plastic and reconstructive surgeon treat?

Pediatric plastic and reconstructive surgeons treat abnormalities of appearance and function:

  • Clefts of the lip and palate—This common facial anomaly, present at birth, results from lack of union of one or both sides of the lip and/or palate. It interferes with eating, speech, and psychosocial development if left untreated.
  • Craniofacial anomalies—These asymmetries and imbalances of both the skull and face usually result from birth defects (such as premature closure of skull joints or other craniofacial syndromes), but some may be caused by tumors or trauma.
  • Birthmarks—These skin and blood vessel deformities result from their abnormal architecture or tumors. They may cause interference with vital functions such as breathing, vision, and hearing, in addition to having an unsightly appearance. Innovative treatments include laser and medical therapies, radiology guided therapy, and surgical ablation.
  • Hand deformities—These abnormalities are caused by failure of proper formation of the hand at birth or are due to a traumatic injury.
  • Ear deformities—These deformities range in severity from minor shape problems to complete absence of the ear, with accompanying hearing defects. Some can be managed shortly after birth by advanced nonsurgical molding techniques.
  • Repair of blood vessels and nerves—Microsurgery is a highly specialized technique in which surgery is performed with the use of the microscope to repair blood vessels and nerves. Tissues can be moved from one part of the body to another part to repair and reconstruct complex defects that occur from trauma, tumors, or birth malformations that previously had been untreatable.

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