If your child suffers from a birth defect which led to a physical deformity, you may want to consider having him or her looked at by a pediatric plastic surgeon. They are the professional doctors that specialize in treating those  kinds of conditions. Other cases where deformities can arise in children include injuries, tumors, and even some certain illnesses.

Parents have accepted the fact that their children will undergo certain illnesses and diseases at some point while they are still at their prepubescent. In a majority of these cases, your general pediatrician should be able to help your child in getting well. In special cases however, your child might have a specific need that only a surgeon can provide. In these situations, the problem might be more cosmetic in nature. If you think you think your child fits the description, you might want to get a hold of a pediatric plastic surgeon in your city.

Building a Pediatric Plastic Surgeon

Pediatric plastic surgeons, as with other doctors in the field of surgery are licensed doctors who underwent the same training of their peers. They are required to complete a complete course in medicine, which in most countries requires four years of medical coursework on top of their pre-medical college degree.

After graduation, they are required to gain their licenses before they are allowed to practice as a general doctor. These licenses are usually regulated by government institutions sponsored by the state. Before acquiring their license they will be required to undergo exams which will scrutinize their medical ability and ensure that they have what it takes to practice in their field.

A licensed physician still needs to undergo at least three years in residency, among other certifications, before becoming a full-fledged pediatric plastic surgeon. During which, they may train in general surgery. However, related fields, which include neurosurgery, orthopedic surgery, urology otolaryngology, or a combination of oral surgery and general surgery will also suffice. After which, they will then undergo the three years in training focusing on plastic surgery. During which they will train under a professional plastic surgeon. If they intend to become a pediatric plastic surgeon, it may then be an added advantage for them to train with one.

Finally, they will join training programs specific to pediatric plastic surgery and then gain certification from a board of plastic surgeons. This board will comprise professionals from the field who are nominated by its contingent body often through elections during conferences.

What this shows is just how much training it is needed to be able to become a pediatric surgeon and practice legally. In total, an additional 14 years of coursework and training after high school is required on top of certifications and exams that they have to go through.

This should give each parent the needed confidence when giving the reins of their child’s safety and wellness to a pediatric plastic surgeon. A pediatric plastic surgeon will treat a child until they reach young adulthood and could start as early as after their birth. They usually alternate their time between pediatric care and plastic surgery.

What a Pediatric Plastic Surgeon Treats

The range of treatments that a pediatric plastic surgeon provides ranges from a lot of different birth defects. The most common of which are defects of the face and of the skull. These include a misshapen skull, and more familiar conditions like cleft palates and cleft lips.

Other birth defects that a pediatric plastic surgeon can deal with involves malformations of the ear. It can either be an absent ear which can either be anotia or microtia. This is characterized by having either of the external ears being too small or failed to develop properly. These defects normally manifest during the first few weeks of pregnancy. The other kind of condition is called the prominent ear which is also referred to as bat ear or otapostasis. As its name suggests, this condition is characterized by having ears protruding which people liken to a bat’s. Similar to the absent ear, a protruding ear also normally happens during the early stage of pregnancy.

Webbed fingers and toes are birth defects of the limbs that a pediatric plastic surgeon can also take care of. These conditions are characterized by tissues connecting one or more digits together which renders the affected digits unable to move freely individually. The extent of the malformation can vary between a small stretch bound together up to the entire length of the digit. Relative to this is the range of motion that either digits are able to extend to. It is approximated that one baby born out of two to three thousand suffer from this defect. It is not yet known what causes this condition. Luckily, this is rarely ever life threatening and with the immediate attention of a pediatric plastic surgeon, this should not be a problem.

Other than more serious conditions that are stated above. Pediatric plastic surgery also caters to the cosmetic requests more often associated with the terms plastic surgery. For instance, birthmarks which can be identified immediately after birth can be treated just as soon. Pediatric plastic surgeons will also cater to conditions that were not brought upon by a birth defect like scarring from injuries or bruises for instance. And more severely, burns can also have lasting effects on the physical appearance of a child which should be taken care of as soon as possible.

Why Go to A Pediatric Plastic Surgeon

Most of the cases that were pointed out above are what are considered to be serious conditions. This means that they affect a person’s ability to physically function at an optimal capacity or at any capacity at all. However, as with most cases requiring plastic surgeries, the end point can simply be to improve the self image of the child. Having a visible birth defect while growing up can gnaw on a child’s personality and he or she should not be made to suffer such. Such is the responsibility of a good parent.

Cite this article as:
Editorial Staff, "Pediatric Plastic Surgeon," in Medicalopedia, June 25, 2020, [Permalink: https://www.medicalopedia.org/8998/pediatric-plastic-surgeon/].