According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 120,000 babies will be born every year in the United States with some form of birth defect. In other terms, every five minutes or so, a baby is born with some type of birth defect, many of which manifest as physical deformities.
Physical birth defects include:
- Cleft lip
- Cleft palate
- Spina bifida
- Underdeveloped hands
Children with birth defects that cause malformed body parts may begin to develop a lowered sense of self-worth, a lessened self-esteem, and a damaged self-image. Ideally, something will be done to treat a birth defect safely and effectively. But what treatment options are there?
Reconstructive Plastic Surgery Methods
In recent years, reconstructive plastic surgery has gained popularity in terms of correcting, addressing, or otherwise treating physical deformities. Most procedures are performed on adults who have lived with a deformation for years or recently suffered one due to an accident. However, the notion of using similar methods on young children is being explored and seems promising.
In particular, children with cleft lips or cleft palates would likely benefit the most from reconstructive plastic surgery methods. With the right preparation and diagnosis of the birth defect, the procedure could be kept low-risk and minimal by staggering sessions over the course of weeks or months.
While the idea of treating a physical deformity with surgery may seem like a cosmetic issue, it may be anything but. Children with a congenital defect that is untreated with reconstructive surgery may never fully develop, physically and sometimes mentally. Social skills are also limited due to a sense of “being different” or the harsh, unfiltered judgement from other young children. In many situations, considering using plastic surgery to address a child’s birth defects is therefore the responsible thing to do.
At Pacific Center Plastic Surgery, our Newport Beach plastic surgeons are interested in seeing how reconstructive plastic surgery methods used on young children develops in the coming years. At this time, our procedures are only available to adults in most cases. If you have any questions or concerns, though, please feel free to contact us and we would be happy to help you in any way we can.