Cosmetic surgeries for children

More and more parents are turning to cosmetic surgery to correct defects present from birth or acquired after an accident. We explore the subject of cosmetic surgeries for children!

In the frantic race of women – and men! – to resort to cosmetic surgery to correct any real or perceived physical defects, it's normal to start worrying about the growing trend of parents who choose cosmetic surgery for their child. But what are the real reasons why these parents take this controversial decision, what are the benefits and what does it actually imply?

Why parents choose cosmetic surgery

When we think of cosmetic surgery, we tend to imagine the women with augmented breasts, collagen-filled lips and tight faces. But are the reasons to get cosmetic surgery for children the same as for adults? Besides parents who take that decision for purely perceived aesthetic reasons like a nose considered too big, there are valid reasons to consider cosmetic surgery for a child. These reasons can stem from birth defects that are disfiguring or even debilitating or injuries caused by an accident or an illness. When one considers cosmetic surgery on a child, a multidisciplinary team specializing in the specific needs of the child is present to assist the surgeon to provide appropriate treatments for his age and needs.

If you are considering cosmetic surgery for your child, we recommend that you talk about it with your family doctor, so he can evaluate whether surgery is needed in his case and if so, direct you to the appropriate resources. It is recommended to do this at a hospital, like the CHU Sainte-Justine and the Montreal Children's Hospital that offer clinics specializing in cosmetic surgeries for children who suffer from different defects.
Most common defects and surgeries

Cleft lip or cleft palate
Most parents who consult a surgeon for their children do so because of a cleft palate, a division of the upper lip, palate or both. This defect affects approximately 14 % of newborns and develops between the fifth and eight week of pregnancy. Cleft palate develops between the eights and twelfth week of pregnancy and prevents the baby's mouth from separating from the nasal cavity, resulting in several potential problems like difficulty nursing, learning speech and even ear infections or deafness in the long run.

Overview of the surgery to correct a cleft lip or cleft palate


The newborn who is diagnosed with a cleft lip or cleft palate must be seen by a specialist within two weeks after birth. The surgeon can help parents choose the right treatment for their child and guide them to a multidisciplinary team that will handle the care of the child and follow him into adulthood to ensure proper development of his bones.Objectives

  • Improve speech and the function of the mouth and nose
  • Improve the appearance
  • Help the child to be socially accepted so he can develop normally

When to perform an operation and the extent of it will vary with the severity of the cleft lip or palate. Complete surgery may include:

  • Repair the defect at around 3 to five months of age
  • Repair the palate at 1 years old.
  • Orthodontic care
  • A bone graft to repair the gums
  • Jaw surgery in adulthood to correct bad facial profile caused by a poor development of the mouth

Vascular birthmarks
The exact cause for vascular birthmarks is unknown, but their impact on the child is easily quantifiable because their marks, formed by small blood vessels that are grouped together, affect his appearance and the older he gets, his self-esteem. Among the most common are hemangioma, a red mark that can appear anywhere on the body and be of any size. There are several types of hemangioma: port-wine stain hemangioma, strawberry hemangioma, cavernous hemangioma and many others. A surgeon can help you determine what type it is and recommend a suitable treatment accordingly.

Overview of the surgery for vascular birthmarks


Some hemangioma can be treated right after birth while others are known to disappear over time without treatment and only require constant monitoring to keep an eye on the progress.


  • Improve the appearance
  • Improve self-esteem and social acceptance

The most successful operation to treat vascular birthmarks is the vascular laser which is a non-invasive procedure for the child and which has a high success rate.

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