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Surgery Superheroes: Pediatric Plastic Surgery

Surgeons at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis provide the best quality care to all patients, of all ages. Surgeons in pediatric specialties care for a very special kind of patient at the School of Medicine: children. These young patients exhibit qualities that amaze and impress Washington University surgeons every day. Courage, resilience, curiosity—these characteristics make children much more than good patients. In the eyes of pediatric surgeons, these children are superheroes!

Pediatric plastic and reconstructive surgeon Kamlesh Patel, MD, shares what makes his young patients superheroes, and how his procedures help enhance their superpowers.

Doctor Patel measures a child's head

Kamlesh Patel, MD

Pediatric Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon

Why do you like working with children? What is your favorite part of working with younger patients?

Kids are strong. Even with a tough diagnosis due to congenital abnormality, they continue to have a positive outlook. I really enjoy being able to follow my patients from birth and seeing them grow.

What superpowers do your patients possess?

Strength and compassion.

How can a parent be a good sidekick for their superhero child?

Always voice your opinion and concerns. I always say that “mothers always know and are correct.”

What do you want parents to know about you, the surgery you perform, or Children’s Hospital?

My goal is always to operate less on their children and avoid secondary procedures.
I always explain that I perform clinical outcomes research to understand how I can avoid secondary procedures and obtain the best outcome for your child

Can you describe some of the operations you frequently perform for younger patients? How do these procedures enhance their superpowers?

Craniosynostosis repair: We have become a national leader and produced the most outcome papers related to craniosynostosis over the past 10 years. We are a leader in endoscopic repair. Shorter operation and able to avoid secondary procedures. It gives children the ability to continue their lives not knowing they had anything and with minimal scarring.

Cleft lip and palate care: Similar focus on reducing secondary procedures. Allows these kids to continue their lives without the burden of surgical care when older.

Did you have a favorite superhero growing up?

Superman and Thor