Children require specialized treatment when plastic surgery is needed. They are growing very quickly, they cannot express themselves well and they are not patient when being examined or treated. Approximately 3% of all plastic surgery is performed on children, often to correct a congenital deformity such as an abnormal ear, cleft palate or a craniofacial defect.
Dr. Joshua Lampert, board certified plastic surgeon, always tries to understand the challenges that parents face when surgery is in their child’s future. His approach is to spend ample time with each family to ensure they are fully informed and involved with the treatment plan.
Pediatric Otoplasty: Ear Pinning
This surgery is most commonly performed on children between the age of 5 and 14. This is sometimes a functional as well as cosmetic correction, as some children are born with structural ear defects that can impair hearing. Children born with protruding or mismatched ears benefit greatly by having this correction.
Dr. Lampert recommends that children have surgery once their ears have fully developed and that they are able to deal with the requirements of recovery. Sometimes, it is best performed before they reach school age to avoid unnecessary teasing, which can impact self-confidence and scholastic performance.
Each child develops at a different rate. Some children can easily handle otoplasty surgery as early as age 5, while others should wait until they are able to follow directions and are not resistant to the idea of surgery. Dr. Lampert finds that most young patients can easily deal with the surgery and are compliant wearing a compression headband while they sleep for a the first few months.
Functional & Cosmetic Pediatric Surgery: Birth Defects and Injuries
Reconstructive surgery on children is predominantly focused on restoring normal function or avoiding future health problems, but aesthetics are important as well. Dr. Lampert believes that avoiding low self-esteem is a vital component of restoring normal form and function.
Generally, reconstructive plastic surgery focuses on repairing congenital defects, deformities associated with abnormal development, injuries caused by traumatic events and defects caused by tumors or disease. Some of the conditions treated are:
- Prominent or asymmetric ears
- A broken or crooked nose
- Birthmarks, burns and scars
- Abnormal breast development, Poland’s syndrome, and Gynecomastia
- Traumatic injury repair from dog bites, car accidents, or other injuries
- Ear defects, missing ears
- Cleft lip and palate repairs
- Cleft nasal deformity
- Neurofibromatosis and Von Recklinghausen Disease
- An abnormally shaped skull (from Craniosynostosis or Plagiocephaly) and birth defects of the face and skull
- Micrognathia – an undersized jaw
- Facial paralysis
- Birth injuries – nerve injuries
- Webbed fingers or an extra finger
Surgery has to be planned to keep in mind the amount of growth that will still occur after the procedure, as well as the potential impact of the surgery on any future growth. For some conditions, surgery should wait until growth is nearly complete. Comparing the child’s stature to the parents may help. Additionally, hand X-rays can be performed to evaluate any remaining growth plates, which can help determine how much more growth is expected. Other conditions, such as cleft palate or cleft lip are repaired earlier in life.
Before & Afters
All plastic surgeons should be judged on the aesthetic merits of their work. Review Dr. Lampert’s before and after gallery to see what he has accomplished.
Cleft Lip & Palate Repair
Some of the most common pediatric defects treated by plastic surgeons are cleft lips and cleft palates. Clefts occur when the two sides of the face do not fuse completely at the midline during pregnancy. This leaves a cleft or opening that can occur on the lip, nose, the gum ridge or the palate. The cleft can be on one or both sides of the mouth.
This condition can impact infant feeding and breathing and can interfere with normal speech. The first surgery (cleft lip repair) can usually be done within the first 2-3 months of life. The cleft palate repair is usually performed around 6-18 months. Correcting further cleft lip and cleft palate defects often will require more than one surgery as the child grows and develops. Frequently the jaw and the nose will need surgery later in life as well. Surgical correction of a cleft has a lifelong impact on the child’s health and self-esteem. This is one of the most satisfying procedures that Dr. Lampert performs.
Dr. Lampert frequently travels to underserved countries in Latin America to repair clefts in children who would otherwise go through life with this defect untreated. He has found great individual reward participating in multiple medical missions to surgically treat the underserved pediatric patients of Guatemala, Peru, Ecuador and the Dominican Republic. In addition, Dr. Lampert participates in the annual Day of Smiles—a local Miami charity organized by the Baptist Pediatric Hospital that provides surgical treatment for children without resources who require surgery for cleft lips and various other facial deformities.
Arrange a Consultation with a Leading Miami Plastic Surgeon
Contact Dr. Lampert to arrange a consultation and find out what treatment options are best suited for your child. His practice is designed to allow ample time for each patient to ask as many questions as necessary, until they are fully confident that they are doing the right thing for their child.