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Children who need plastic and reconstructive surgery require expert, individualized care that focuses on their unique needs as they grow. At Comer Children's, our pediatric plastic and reconstructive surgeons are specially trained in surgery for infants, children and adolescents. Our surgeons are experienced in the full range of plastic and reconstructive procedures for congenital conditions (present at birth), acquired problems and injuries.
Children undergoing reconstructive surgery, and their families, have access to support services including child and adolescent psychiatrists, social workers and child life experts who can help ease children's fears and help families cope before and after surgery.
In addition to providing expert patient care, our pediatric plastic and reconstructive surgeons are active in both clinical and laboratory research. Topics under study include wound healing, repair of craniofacial defects, tissue transplantation and tissue engineering, bone substitutes, survival of bone-cartilage grafts and genetic expression in craniofacial development.
Pediatric plastic and reconstructive surgeons can perform a wide variety of cosmetic procedures to improve appearance. These procedures include rhinoplasty (nose reshaping), blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery), otoplasty (ear repositioning for prominent ears), orthognathic surgery (jaw correction for jaw discrepancy and bite abnormalities) and genioplasty (chin repositioning surgery).
Poland's syndrome and other conditions may result in the uneven or absent development of breast muscles and tissue. Plastic and reconstructive surgeons can greatly improve appearance by using implants and reconstructive surgery to create natural-looking breasts and nipples.
Teen girls with large breasts may benefit from breast reduction surgery.
Male teens who develop gynecomastia (enlarged breasts) can benefit from surgery to reduce breast and nipple size.
Children with severe burns are treated at the UChicago Medicine Burn and Complex Wound Center, a multidisciplinary burn injury program accredited by the American Burn Association and the American College of Surgeons. This special program is housed in an eight-bed intensive care unit dedicated to comprehensive burn care. As an integral part of this center, our pediatric plastic surgeons can provide skin grafting and cosmetic reconstruction to treat burns.
Congenital problems such as aural atresia (absent or narrow ear canal) and microtia (underdevelopment of external ear) result in absent, small or abnormally formed ears. In a combined effort, our pediatric plastic surgeons and pediatric otolaryngologists (ear, nose and throat specialists) work together to treat these conditions. Otolaryngologists focus on improving hearing, while plastic surgeons construct the outer ear using cartilage, skin grafts and other techniques.
Children with abnormally protruding ears or misshapen ears may also benefit from plastic and reconstructive surgery to improve appearance.
Our surgeons have vast expertise in removing disfiguring hemangiomas, vascular malformations and birthmarks, including growths that may threaten normal breathing, eating and vision. Our pediatric surgeons work closely with pediatric dermatologists and other specialists to treat these problems. Many birthmarks can be successfully treated with laser therapy in an outpatient setting.
Some very large birthmarks — known as congenital nevi — may require more sophisticated treatment using implantable balloons that expand tissue so that blemished skin can be removed in favor of birthmark-free skin.
Our team can perform a variety of procedures to reduce the appearance of scars, including keloid scars (overgrowth of a scar).
Traumatic injuries to the face may require a variety of treatments to restore appearance. Our plastic and reconstructive surgeons are experienced in reshaping bone and using implants to rebuild facial structures, as well as repairing soft tissue and skin. Other traumatic injuries, including deep cuts and animal bites, can be treated with plastic surgery.