Reconstructive Surgery: Is it Different for Children?
Children who have health conditions or deformities that affect the face should be seen by an expert in correcting their condition. In general, reconstructive surgery applies the same principles. Our children's plastic surgery experts, however, specialize in the differences based on a patient's age. An infant, toddler, preschooler or teen are at different stages of growth. The structure of the skull and facial bones is still changing during all stages of growth. Only a specialist in children's reconstructive surgery can ensure that all of these factors will be considered in your child's surgical plan.
Reconstructive Plastic Surgery Overview
What is reconstructive plastic surgery?
Reconstructive plastic surgery is done to correct facial and body abnormalities caused by birth defects, injury, disease, or aging.
Usually, the goal of reconstructive plastic surgery is to improve body function. However, reconstructive plastic surgery may also be done to create a more normal appearance and improve self-esteem (this may also be called cosmetic surgery). Abnormal structures of the body may result from:
Congenital (present at birth) defects
Who are candidates for reconstructive plastic surgery?
Generally, 2 types of people have reconstructive plastic surgery, including:
People with congenital defects (including cleft lip, craniofacial anomalies, or hand deformities)
People with deformities (including those due to an accident, infection, disease, or aging)
Possible complications associated with reconstructive plastic surgery
Any type of surgery carries some risk. People differ in their anatomy and their ability to heal. Depending on the type of surgery you have and your overall health, some complications and risks associated with reconstructive plastic surgery may include:
Difficulty in wound healing
Risk of complications may increase if you:
Have connective-tissue damage
Have skin damage from radiation therapy
Have decreased circulation at the surgery site
Have an impaired immune system
Have poor nutritional habits
There may be other risks depending on your specific medical condition. Be sure to discuss any concerns with your healthcare provider before the procedure.
How to prepare for reconstructive plastic surgery
The specific type of surgery will be determined by your doctor based on:
Your age, overall health, and medical history
Severity of the defect
Your tolerance of specific medications, procedures, or therapies
Location of the defect
Your opinion or preference
You may require multiple procedures done in several stages.
There are a number of areas in plastic surgery that may be either or both reconstructive or cosmetic, depending on your situation. For example, eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty) may be a procedure done for cosmetic improvement, as well as to correct eyelids that are drooping severely and obscuring vision.