The Difference Between Pediatric Surgery & Adult Plastic Surgery

The Difference Between Pediatric Surgery & Adult Plastic Surgery

by Natalie (SU)

Pediatric Plastic Surgeons


Children are not just miniature adults. They cannot be treated as such, nor do they respond or communicate in similar ways. The anatomy and physiology of a child is unique and different from adults, especially when you take into consideration the factors of growth and development. For the most part, the same procedures and treatments do not apply.


Pediatric plastic surgeons have additional training and certification, compared to the standard plastic surgery training and education. They have specific knowledge of a child’s anatomy, along with an understanding of the growth cycle and its effects. They are skilled in examining and treating children effectively with a level of compassion that gains them the child’s cooperation and participation.


Their offices and equipment are specifically designed, decorated, and arranged with children in mind. Their waiting and examination rooms would be painted in calming, child-appropriate hues, and fitted out with toys, videos, and books. The ambience is comfortable, welcoming, and non-threatening. 


Pediatric Plastic Surgery Procedures


Pediatric plastic surgeons treat children with congenital physical abnormalities, or those who have suffered traumatic accidents. The procedures are either reconstructive or cosmetic. In children, this distinction is not always clear, as many congenital deformities affect both physical function and aesthetics.


Reconstructive plastic surgery is applied to abnormalities resulting from congenital defects, developmental issues, trauma, infection, tumors, or disease. Usually undertaken to regain normal motor functions or prevent current or future health problems, reconstructive surgery also takes aesthetics into account.


Cosmetic plastic surgery is usually undertaken to improve physical appearance and self-esteem, and is usually at the patient’s request.


Reconstructive Pediatric Plastic Surgery


Your child may need reconstructive plastic surgery in case of a deformity caused by congenital defects, accidental injuries, tumors, or illness:


•              Craniofacial: deformities of the skull, head, face, jaw, or neck 

•              Syndactyly/Polydactyly: fused fingers/toes, or extra digits

•              Positional Plagiocephaly: flattened area of skull

•              Craniosynostosis: fused fibrous joints in the skull

•              Anotia/Microtia: absent, misshapen, or missing ears 

•              Chest: abnormal breasts, nipples 

•              Accidental injuries to face, head, or limbs

•              Birthmarks, and skin growths such as cysts/moles

•              Scars, burns, or wounds

•              Hemangiomas and congenital tumors

•              Hidradenitis suppurativa or acne inversa-inflamed and swollen lumps in groin and armpits.


Cosmetic Pediatric Plastic Surgery


The majority of pediatric plastic surgery procedures are reconstructive. However, some are performed for cosmetic purposes. This is elective surgery undertaken at the request of the child’s parents/caregivers for aesthetic purposes and to promote a child’s image and self-esteem.


These are important to help children settle into their environments and deal with their peers confidently, and from a position of equality and strength.


This is especially true in the age of social media, selfies, high-definition cameras, and reality television. Statistics from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) show that 13 to 19 year olds are increasingly opting for cosmetic surgery.


Plastic surgeons advise waiting until at least 18 years of age before electing to have cosmetic plastic surgery, for the body to acquire both physical and mental maturity. However, different cosmetic procedures have different age ranges, depending on the patient and their specific situation.


A consultation with an experienced, board-certified plastic surgeon is the best way to determine fitness for a cosmetic surgery procedure.


Common Cosmetic Procedures for Children:

•          Breast augmentation and lifts

•          Liposuction

•          Tummy tucks

•          Male Breast Reduction

•          Ear surgery as a result of microtia

•          Rhinoplasty – nose reshaping


Adult Reconstructive Plastic and & Oral Surgery


Adult reconstructive surgery repairs the part of your body that is affected from any of these issues:


•              Breast reconstruction or reduction:  for mastectomies, abnormally breasts that cause back problems or other health issues; men also undergo breast reduction

•              Surgeries for feet and hands: for tumors, webbed or extra digits, or carpal tunnel syndrome

•              Wound care for severe burns or cuts 

•              Skin grafts

•              Microsurgery or flap procedures: to repair/replace parts of the body affected by injury or disease

•              Facial surgeries: to correct facial defects such as cleft lip, breathing problems, or chronic infections

•              Vascular anomalies: hemangiomas, vascular tumors, and malformations


Adult Cosmetic Plastic Surgeries Surgery


•          Breast surgery and reconstruction

•          Facial reconstruction: face and forehead lifts

•          Blepharoplasty: upper and lower eyelids

•          Skin (including skin cancer) reconstruction, chemical peel, laser surfacing

•          Body surgery and makeovers

•          Hair transplantation

•          Male plastic surgery

•          Oral surgery

•          Craniofacial surgery

•          Ear surgery

•          Rhinoplasty: nose reshaping and reconstruction

•          Liposuction: fat removal

•          Abdominoplasty: including tummy tuck 



These treatments and others can be performed by board-certified plastic surgeons at Atlantic Center Surgery, including:


·      Wound therapy and care

·      IV treatments

·      Tissue debridement

·      Controlled management of infections

·      Cauterization

·      Topical creams

·      Specialized dressings

·      Surgical interventions


While there are some plastic surgery procedures that are specifically for children or adults, there are many that are common to both. The main difference is in the knowledge and training of the anatomy, physiology, psychology, and associated age and growth factors.


This determines the approach, diagnosis, treatments and after-care. 


For cutting edge plastic surgery to safely restore form and function for your child or yourself, call Atlantic Center of Aesthetic & Reconstructive Surgery at (954) 983-1899 or request an appointment online at one of our locations in Ft. Lauderdale, Hollywood, Weston, Boynton Beach, and Naples, Florida.