Can Plastic Surgery Help Remove Birth Defects?

Can Plastic Surgery Help Remove Birth Defects?


By Dr. Parag Telang, Cosmetic/Plastic Surgery

Birth defects are problems that affect appearance, organ function and physical or mental development in babies. Such defects are a result of genetic abnormalities, infections or appear as a reaction against certain medicines. They develop in babies when they are in the womb and remain permanent throughout their life. These congenial conditions cannot be improved through natural processes and require surgical treatment for a permanent repair of the deformed or disfigured parts of the body.

Reconstructive surgery has been established as a successful and less time-consuming method for proper management of these defects. Here is a list of five birth defects that can be corrected with the help of reconstructive surgeries-

1. Hypospadias

It is a condition in which the opening of the urethra in males is found at the bottom of the penis. The condition can be treated through a process of soft tissue reconstruction, which strives to provide an appearance of normalcy.

2. Arteriovenous malformations (AVM)

The abnormal development of arteries and veins can interfere with the proper functioning of the body, leading to problems like a severe headache, vision loss, difficulty in speaking and unsteadiness. Surgical excisions are found to be beneficial in such cases as they resolve the problem allowing the body to work more efficiently.

3. Facial, cranial and hand deformities

Birth defects that cause visible structural irregularities like craniosynostosis (a condition in which the joints of a baby’s skull close too soon before its brain has sufficiently developed) as well as birthmarks can be treated by a variety of reconstructive techniques.

4. Cleft lip and palate

The opening in the lip or the roof of the mouth (palate) is considered to be an orofacial malformation. Through reconstructive surgery, the fused area of lip and palate in these cases can be corrected by using flaps and grafts.

5. Ears defects

Ear-related problems like prominent ears, constricted ears (a condition characterized by folded, wrinkled or tighten ear rim) and microtia (a condition in which the external ear or pinna is underdeveloped) can be corrected with the help of surgical methods like Otoplasty (the surgical repair of the outer ear).