Offering Surgical Repair for Cleft Lip, Cleft Palate, Skull and Jaw Malformations, Hand and Chest Deformities, and More
SLUCare pediatric plastic surgeons treat children with a wide range of medical conditions – from skin growths and discoloration to disfiguring conditions such as cleft
lip, cleft palate and chest deformities. Our team includes Dr. Alexander Lin, one of the area's foremost experts on pediatric craniofacial surgery, known for using the latest technologies, such as 3D printing, to help repair birth defects and injuries of the skull and face.
Our team treats young patients from across the region at SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital. Our SLUCare doctors also travel across the globe, bringing hope and healing to impoverished children abroad through medical missions.
Conditions We Treat
Cleft lip and cleft palate are the most common surgical birth defects, occurring in 1 in 600 births nationally. The condition may cause severe facial deformities, feeding problems, speech defects, misaligned teeth, poor growth and hearing problems. SLUCare pediatric plastic surgeons repair even the most complicated cases, which may affect the mouth, nose, gums, and jaws, including speech surgery to improve palate speech function. As part of the St. Louis Cleft-Craniofacial Center at SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital, we take a team approach to care for these young patients, restoring functions such as chewing, breathing and speech, and creating a more normal appearance.
SLUCare plastic surgeons are experts in treating complex conditions of the face, including problems with hard tissues (bone and cartilage) and soft tissues (muscles, fat, skin and nerves).
Soft tissue procedures include treatment of tumors, growths, injuries, or birth differences that may require reconstruction of eyelids, noses, ears, lips or tongue, to improve form and function.
Craniofacial surgery also includes reshaping of the skull, face, and jaws for function and appearance. Our surgeons offer corrective procedures for craniosynostosis, a birth defect in which part of the skull is fused, restricting growth; orbits (the bones around the eyes) in the wrong position; removal of bone tumors; overbite and underbite requiring jaw surgery; and small jaw problems, such as Pierre Robin sequence or obstructive sleep apnea, that may require jaw expansion to improve breathing, feeding, and speech.
The decision to have pediatric plastic surgery, or to wait for more childhood growth, is done with our team of experts at the St. Louis Cleft-Craniofacial Center at SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital.
Children are sometimes born with misshapen chests due to a bone deformity, or one side of their chest may develop poorly over time (Poland syndrome). SLUCare pediatric plastic surgeons work closely with thoracic surgeons to assess and care for children with these unusual problems, both during childhood and in adolescence when abnormal breast development may occur. We use the latest procedures for both breast reconstruction and bone reconstruction, rearranging tissues and muscles, and using tissue expanders and implants to help children enter adulthood with as normal a physique as possible.
Birthmarks and other skin growths are common among children and may take many forms. There are hemangiomas (common birthmarks), lymphangiomas, and venous malformations, which may be contained within the skin or may be larger, affecting deeper tissues. SLUCare pediatric plastic surgeons work closely with other specialists, coordinating care to control or treat vascular anomalies as needed. Treatment varies from observation to oral medications through dermatology, injections through interventional radiology, lasers or surgical resection by pediatric plastic surgeons.
Tumors and growths can form in soft tissues such as muscles, fat or skin, or in nerves, such as in neurofibromatosis. In addition, pigmented skin growths, such as moles, can grow to become very large, involving major regions of the body. For all these types of abnormalities, SLUCare plastic surgeons use the latest techniques, including lasers and surgical reconstruction, to manage, remove and resurface the affected area, reducing the risk of cancer or other problems later in life.
SLUCare plastic surgeons use advanced techniques to restore function and repair injured hands, including broken bones, cut tendons, and cut nerves. Children can also be born with hand differences such as fused fingers (syndactyly), extra digits (polydactyly), or missing thumbs, that require reconstruction. Plastic surgeons are specialists in microsurgery, enabling delicate connections of the tiniest vessels and nerves in the body, through the use of high-powered surgical microscopes, for hand, face and extremity reconstruction.
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