Every dog has its day, but this is one story that is not exclusively for the dogs. The Clarion Ledger recently did a feature on plastic and cosmetic surgeons who specialize in reconstructive surgery, especially based on bites. According to their report: “If a child's face is injured, doctors work immediately to try to address it, but most of the scar revision is delayed while the child grows.” It is not uncommon for these surgeons to work with patients for several years following a bite in an effort to reduce the appearance of scars.
University of Mississippi Medical Center's Dr. Ricky Clay is one such surgeon. "It's a very long process. Everyone thinks that you can fix it," Clay claims. "But a child is growing. And scars grow proportionally with the child. And growth hormone that makes you get bigger makes your scars get thick and puffy and ugly and red."
Roughly four and a half million Americans are bitten by dogs each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Clay suggests that surgeries should be scheduled for children around growth spurts. The good doctor further states that surgeries for children are habitually done prior to the entering school in order to prevent name calling, and then a follow up before the child enters adolescence. Sometimes more surgeries are necessary.
Cosmetically addressing canine bites for adults is more challenging. Dog attacks for adult will often require substantial reconstructive plastic and cosmetic surgery, without the luxury of summer breaks or growth spurts.
According to Clay, "We try to put things back as close as we can. But scars are like diamonds. They're forever. They never go away. If somebody looks closely at your face, they can always see it. Our job is to fix it so that the average person passing you on the sidewalk doesn't notice it in a cursory glance."
As technology in the field improves, plastic surgery is steadily becoming safer and increasingly cost-efficient. Plastic surgery is not exclusively cosmetic and is an effective way to treat burns and physical deformation. Plastic surgery is not for everyone, and nobody should feel they have to receive treatments. However, plastic surgery should also remain available for everybody without a person feeling embarrassed or ashamed about receiving consultation and treatment. The choice is up to you.
If you or someone you know is interested in your own procedure, please contact our team to get started. We can provide you with information about your desired procedure and help locate a board-certified surgeon near you!