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Pediatric facial plastic surgery refers to surgical treatment of any pediatric facial anomaly (unique characteristic) that a child is born with or has acquired.
Some congenital conditions (conditions with which a child is born) that sometimes require pediatric facial plastic surgery are:
Some conditions that occur later in a child’s life which might require facial plastic surgery include:
Sometimes, children who are injured in the following situations and have suffered facial trauma may require facial plastic surgery:
Facial plastic surgeons can perform surgery soon after an incident occurs, such as in the case of a car accident, or they can perform surgery to improve the appearance of scars that are several years old. It is always preferable that your child see a pediatric facial plastic surgeon sooner rather than later, so that the surgeon can determine the best course of surgical action for your child.
Your child may be under the care of multiple doctors during the course of his or her plastic surgery at Riley at IU Health. He or she may see a pediatric facial plastic surgeon, a pediatric otolaryngologist and a pediatric ear surgeon, for example.
Because there are a wide variety of surgeries that fall under the category of pediatric facial plastic surgery, the lengths of these procedures vary greatly. An experienced plastic surgeon can improve the appearance of a scar in less than 45 minutes, while the removal of a large tumor from a child’s face and related reconstruction of the face can take 12 hours or more. Almost always, your child will be under general anesthesia during plastic surgery.
The facial plastic surgery team will provide you with the details of what to expect from the specific procedure your child is scheduled to undergo. Be sure to ask any questions you may have and listen carefully to ensure you understand what is involved with the surgery. Even with the best treatments available today, it is important to note that plastic surgeons may not be able to make your child’s face look as though the anomaly never existed. Plastic surgeons can certainly improve the appearance.
Your child’s aftercare will also vary depending on the specific plastic surgery procedure that he or she receives. In some cases, the aftercare is as simple as applying petroleum jelly (Vaseline®) or sunblock to the incision site twice daily. For more major procedures, you may have to regularly change the dressing (wound covering) or apply antibiotic drops on the incision site twice daily.
Before your child leaves the hospital following surgery, the plastic surgery team will review specific aftercare instructions with you and your child in detail until everyone is clear on what will be required. Please ask any questions you have to ensure you understand what is required, so your child can have the best outcome possible.
Ellen Randall was born with a cleft lip that was repaired at Riley; now she’s joining the hospital’s craniofacial team as a physician assistant.Continue reading