Children's Hospital Colorado

Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery

Dr. Duncan Wilcox, Surgeon-in-Chief, performing surgery with other healthcare providers in the operating room

We are committed to providing the highest standard of plastic and reconstructive care to newborns, infants, children and adolescents. As the only pediatric plastic and reconstructive surgery program in the state of Colorado, we treat patients from all over the Rocky Mountain region.

Why choose Children’s Hospital Colorado for your child’s plastic or reconstructive surgery?

For more than 25 years, our experienced care team has been providing plastic surgery treatment for children. The Department of Plastic Surgery at Children's Colorado offers treatment for acquired and congenital (present at birth) conditions of the face, head and neck, body and upper and lower extremities.

Children’s Colorado pediatric plastic surgeons are fellowship-trained and experienced in providing a wide range of plastic surgery care, from conditions impairing function to appearance-related conditions with psychological effects. Specialized multidisciplinary care is offered in cleft-craniofacial surgery, as well as in reconstructive surgery and in care for children with birthmarks/moles (nevi) and vascular lesions.

Treatment is provided in both the inpatient and outpatient settings. The program integrates the multidisciplinary efforts of other specialties when necessary, including ear, nose and throat; speech pathology; dentistry; ophthalmology, neurosurgery, radiology, dermatology, genetics and the burn program, to ensure your child receives the best possible treatment.

The Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery care team at Children's Colorado includes skilled and experienced health care professionals who work together to provide your child and family with the most advanced plastic and reconstructive surgical care.

Conditions we treat

Our experienced care team provides specialized care for a variety of conditions, ranging from common cysts and moles, to the most complex congenital defects and birth abnormalities.

Craniofacial surgery: congenital and post-traumatic
Our Craniofacial Program provides comprehensive services for the diagnosis and management of congenital and acquired deformities of the soft and hard tissues of the head, face and neck. We have the leading program in the Rocky Mountain region for the treatment of patients with craniosynostosis and dysmorphic craniofacial abnormalities. Our team provides craniofacial surgery for deformities caused by events such as facial fractures, dog bites and other traumatic injuries so that children can restore both form and function.

Cleft lip and palate surgery
Our Cleft Lip and Palate Clinic treats children with cleft lip and palate as well as submucous cleft palate, velopharyngeal incompetence and dysfunction, and oral-motor coordination problems. Pediatric plastic surgeons at Children’s perform all stages of surgery for the cleft patient, such as the initial cleft lip repair, palate repair, nasal surgery and the final jaw surgery at skeletal maturity. Our department has is recognized as an official Cleft Palate Team – a national distinction from the American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association.

General reconstructive surgery
Our plastic surgeons also perform procedures for complex reconstructive problems caused by injuries or tumors. Many of these procedures are done in tandem with other pediatric surgical specialists. Using specialized techniques, our plastic surgeons can transplant a flap (a section of tissue carrying its own blood supply) to help restore skin, muscle or bone that has been lost.

Breast surgery
Both males and females can suffer from breast disorders, which may include macromastia (heavy, pendulous breasts) and gynecomastia (enlargement of the male breast). Surgery can be performed on children after their breast growth is complete to improve discomfort and/or psychosocial problems.

Ear and nasal surgery
Otoplasty, or ear surgery, can be done to improve the shape, position or proportion of a child’s or teen’s ear. Our plastic surgeons perform ear surgery for a variety of issues, including correction of defects in the ear structure that are present at birth, setting prominent ears closer to the head and treating misshapen ears caused by injury.

Nasal surgery can be used to improve nasal breathing or to improve the appearance of a child who has sustained an injury. In addition, both ear and nasal surgery may be considered for patients suffering significant psychosocial discomfort from their appearance.

Birthmarks and skin surgery
Congenital nevi, or birthmarks, are the most common abnormality of the skin. When large birthmarks are found in children, surgical removal is considered. Giant nevi carry a risk of developing into skin cancer (melanoma), although the exact risk is still being debated and remains controversial. Plastic surgery techniques, such as tissue expansion, can help the surgeons treat congenital nevi.

Surgical reconstruction for burn scars and other scar revision surgeries are also commonly performed by our plastic surgery team.

Vascular anomalies
A multidisciplinary team at Children’s Colorado, consisting of specialists from Plastic Surgery, Otolaryngology, Dermatology, Hematology, Pediatric General Surgery and Interventional Radiology, evaluates and treats vascular anomalies in children, ranging from vascular malformations to hemangiomas.

Hand anomalies
Our expert team treats the following hand anomalies: constriction ring syndrome, extra digits or duplicated digits (polydactyly), webbed digits (syndactyly) and thumb abnormalities.

Other conditions
We also treat the following conditions:

  • Facial paralysis
  • Tumors of the jaw and scalp
  • Hemifacial atrophy – a slowly progressive wasting of tissue on one side of the face
  • Hemifacial microsomia – one side of the jaw and face is underdeveloped and does not grow normally
  • Neurofibromatosis – a genetic disorder that causes tumors to grow on nerve tissue, producing skin and bone abnormalities

Services offered

  • The Plastic and Reconstructive Clinic meets two times per week. A plastic surgeon, a clinical nurse specialist and a plastic surgery physician assistant evaluate patients with congenital and acquired facial differences, facial clefts, hand anomalies, skin conditions, breast conditions, vascular malformations and other conditions. An individual operative plan is established based on this evaluation. When necessary, referrals may be made to one of several multidisciplinary clinics, including the Craniofacial Clinic, Cleft Palate Clinic, and Vascular Malformation Clinic.
  • Plastic surgery for adults is available at University of Colorado.
  • Colorado law requires insurers offering health care policies within the state to provide coverage for medically diagnosed congenital defects and birth abnormalities. For more information, or to see if you qualify, please contact your health-care provider. Read more about insurance accepted at Children's Colorado.