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Christopher Derderian, M.D. Answers Questions On Craniofacial and Pediatric Plastic Surgery

Christopher Derderian, M.D. Answers Questions On: Craniofacial and Pediatric Plastic Surgery

What is the benefit of a child having his or her cleft lip/palate procedure performed here?

We have an outstanding team of craniofacial surgeons and other health care professionals who are dedicated and who have a passion for what they do. Nurses, speech therapists, oral surgeons, pediatric dentists and orthodontists, psychologists, and social workers all work together on one team to come up with a consolidated treatment plan for each patient.

Structure of our cleft and craniofacial team clinic allows our patient families to meet with all of the specialists on the team in one morning. Those specialists all meet in a conference to discuss each patient and develop a comprehensive treatment plan. Only a small number of children’s hospitals in the U.S. consolidate care in such a way.

What is the benefit to having a physician trained in plastic surgery perform a cleft lip/palate procedure?

Plastic surgeons have long been the pioneers driving the advancement of techniques in cleft lip and palate surgery. What is most critical for patient families is to find a plastic surgeon who is fellowship trained in craniofacial and cleft surgery and practices as a member of a designated cleft and craniofacial team.

With reconstructive surgery, why is it sometimes important to be dedicated to the aesthetic outcomes too?

As surgeons dedicated to the care of children, we are acutely aware of the impact that any appearance difference has on a child’s social interactions and psychological well being. While achieving a sense of normalcy is the ultimate goal for our patients, as plastic surgeons we always strive to achieve the aesthetic ideal, whatever the problem.

The term “soft tissue” is used a lot among plastic surgeons. What exactly is that?

The craniofacial skeleton is the foundation upon which all non-bony, soft tissues are draped. Thus, the bones of the face give the general shape and features of the face such as cheek projection, facial width, and the “strength” of the jawline and chin. The soft tissues are responsible for finer features, such as the eyelids, nasal tip, lips, and cheeks.

What should parents consider when choosing a pediatric plastic surgeon?

Your pediatric plastic surgeon should be board certified or working toward certification. Second, the surgeon should have significant experience in a particular procedure, perhaps performing them on a weekly or monthly basis. Parents should also find a surgeon who they feel comfortable with. In some cases, the children will require long-term care, so their child will be seeing this doctor often. Parents and children should have a good rapport with a surgeon who is receptive to their needs.