Children aren’t just small adults. They have their own unique anatomy, physiology, and psychological needs. As a result, if they need plastic surgery, it makes sense to go to a pediatric plastic surgeon.
Dr. Leo Urbinelli at PNW Plastic Surgery in Portland, Oregon is not only a board-certified plastic and reconstructive surgeon, but he also received specialized fellowship training in pediatric plastic surgery. That makes him uniquely suited to address all manner of procedures on infants, small children, and teens. So, why would a child need plastic surgery? Keep reading to find out.
Plastic surgery is an often misunderstood specialty; many people believe it only focuses on cosmetic treatments designed to improve appearance. However, pediatric plastic surgery addresses problems that affect both the patient’s health and function, whether congenital or acquired, from a birth defect or an injury.
In addition, it involves using innovative technology and techniques created specifically for kids’ needs. Examples include absorbable implants, pain-distraction therapy, and minimally invasive techniques to lessen anxiety and recovery times as much as possible.
Though what counts most is what’s on the inside, a physical abnormality or difference can seriously impact a child’s life, from a lack of self-confidence and feelings of “aloneness” to drawing taunts from other kids. Correcting the problem surgically can positively benefit the child’s development.
It’s important to distinguish between the types of plastic surgery. Reconstructive surgery corrects an anatomical difference to optimize functionality. Aesthetic surgery restores form and appearance. In most cases, the surgeon combines both types to treat the pediatric population. Dr. Urbinelli specializes in blending the two to create superior results.
Some types of procedures he performs include:
A congenital defect, a cleft palate causes an opening or split in the roof of an infant's mouth, while a cleft lip causes an opening or split in the upper lip. Dr. Urbinelli repairs primary cleft palates and uses revision palatoplasty to repair or reconstruct the palate.
He also performs primary and revision cleft lip surgeries on both bilateral and unilateral clefts. He may do so with or without presurgical orthodontics.
Gingivoperiosteoplasty (GPP or cleft alveolar repair) is a gum line repair that Dr. Urbinelli performs in some infants while doing a cleft lip repair. He also offers alveolar bone grafting. The minimally invasive techniques allow patients to go home the same day as the surgery, need less pain medication, and recover faster.
If the child has a congenital nasal difference caused by a cleft lip or palate, Dr. Urbinelli performs cleft rhinoplasty/septoplasty during the cleft lip repair while in infancy and/or during their teenage years when their bones have stopped growing.
Soft tissue masses encompass a wide variety of problems, including moles, precancerous and cancerous lesions, cysts, hemangiomas, venous malformations, arteriovenous (AV) malformations, and vascular anomalies, among others.
Dr. Urbinelli not only tries to disguise scars in hidden locations, but he keeps them off sensitive areas of the face/body for children.
Dog bite injuries, facial trauma, and complex burn reconstruction all require a skilled pediatric plastic and reconstructive surgeon. Dr. Urbinelli handles all types of bodily injuries and scarring, as well as tumor removal that requires tissue reconstruction to repair the damage.
There’s nothing sweeter than a child’s smile, so if your child has facial weakness or paralysis related to congenital conditions or trauma, it can be crushing. Dr. Urbinelli has had great success performing smile restoration in children, and he finds it both personally and professionally rewarding.
These surgeries can be performed in one or two stages, and they can involve nerve grafting, free muscle transfer, and microvascular surgery. The resulting smile looks completely natural.
If your child is dealing with a congenital or acquired abnormality, plastic surgery can prove both physically and psychologically rewarding. To learn more, or to discuss your child’s case with Dr. Urbinelli, call PNW Plastic Surgery at 503-208-2348, or book your appointment online.