If you thought that plastic surgery was made only for grown-ups to look younger and more attractive, think again. Most kids’ medical and health concerns can be addressed by pediatricians. However, certain conditions require the attention and expertise of a pediatric plastic surgeon.
What are Pediatric Plastic Surgeons?
Pediatric plastic surgeons are specialists who are trained to see what other surgeons don’t. More than holding a scalpel and adson bipolar forceps in hand, they hold extensive knowledge and expertise in the area of complex congenital pediatric deformities and other similar cases.
The way that pediatricians are different from internal medicine doctors is similar to the difference between a pediatric plastic surgeon and a general plastic surgeon.
As mentioned, children may have some special medical cases that need the expertise of another person. Most pediatricians prefer sending patients with certain cases to pediatric subspecialists.
Most surgical subspecialties, such as general surgery, orthopedics, ENT, and neurosurgery, all have equivalent branches in pediatrics. It’s the same thing with plastic surgery. Children have different problems and needs compared to adults, thus requiring someone who’s trained and equipped for the task at hand.
What Do They Treat?
Typically, adult surgeons focus their attention on one primary field of expertise. Pediatric plastic surgeons, on the other hand, perform a wider range of operations and procedures on patients from different age groups.
The constant changes in demands that go along with their practice have led to these professionals undergoing extensive training to add on to their knowledge in dealing with different cases and scenarios.
On top of a minimum of four years in medical school, they also need to undergo residency training for general surgery. Then add about three more years to that for plastic surgery training and additional fellowship training for their subspecialization before they receive a certification from the American Board of Plastic Surgery.
The journey to becoming a pediatric plastic surgeon can be challenging and overwhelming, but just because you already got the certification doesn’t mean it’s smooth-sailing moving forward.
The challenges of the job are equally, if not more, herculean.
Dealing with the common cold or flu is easy. Any pediatrician can deal with that. Pediatric plastic surgeons deal with more complicated children’s cases.
Typically, they deal with and provide treatment and care for the following conditions:
- Birth defects on the skull and the face, such as a misshapen head or a cleft lip
- Birth defects on ears, whether absent or protruding
- Birth defects on limbs and torso, such as webbed fingers and toes or misshapen breasts
- Injuries to different parts of the body (face, head, arms, hands, legs)
- Scars and birthmarks
- Pediatric cosmetic surgery
Simply because pediatric plastic surgeons deal with children doesn’t mean that they should be taken less seriously as medical professionals. Children aren’t like adults who have a better understanding of what’s wrong with their bodies nor are they as patient when it comes to medical check-ups and procedures. It takes a special kind of person to help kids process things and deal with their situation in a manner that they understand.