Plastic surgery is commonly used as a means to cosmetically improve the body. This can be deemed acceptable in children who have been born with various abnormalities that may affect their self-esteem. Experts believe that many of these birth defects can be treated and repaired through the use of plastic surgery.
Ultimately, improving a child’s appearance can make a large difference in their self-esteem and confidence as well as their social and physical development. Some problems will require a combined approach that includes specialists including neurosurgeons, maxillofacial surgeons and oral surgeons.
Conditions That Can be Treated
A cleft lip or cleft palate can be repaired in order to help a child to eat, drink, hear and breathe better. The severity of each type can vary. A cleft lip repair should be done when a child is very young while combination abnormalities can be done when a child is still growing.
Ear abnormalities also can be treated including cryptotia, constricted ear, prominent ears, lop ear and Stahl’s ear. These all should be treated early in a child’s life. Cartilage can be molded within the first month and a half after birth that can prevent the need for surgery later in life. Repair of anotia or microtia (no ear or small formation) is commonly done when the child grows older for the most optimal results.
Ear reshaping surgery or otoplasty or ear pinning is also fairly common for prominent ears. Many children have this surgery before entering school to avoid being bullied because of their physical difference.
Other craniofacial conditions such as craniosynostosis (premature closing of spaces in the skull), jaw abnormalities and plagiocephaly (abnormal head shape) all can be treated with plastic surgeries in order to improve the body’s function.
Some children may also be born with non-cancerous tumors (vascular malformations or hemangiomas). When this occurs, the tumor should be removed and lasers or surgical excision can be used. Also, some pigmented lesions or moles may need to be removed. Some of these spots can lead to cancer later in the life, so it is advisable they are removed sooner than later.
As a child grows, a female may have breast abnormalities such a congenital anomaly which will cause breast asymmetry. A plastic surgeon can successfully repair this by using implants, soft tissue or muscles to create a realistic look.