Skip to main content

Pediatric Procedures Overview

Craniofacial Birth Anomalies

Craniofacial Birth Anomalies, like Craniosynostosis, occur when infant skull joints fuse prematurely, altering skull shape and potentially increasing brain pressure. Surgical correction, led by Dr. Petersen in collaboration with a pediatric neurosurgeon, involves removing the fused joint and reshaping the skull bones. Depending on the correction type, post-operative molding helmet therapy may be included. Typically performed within the infant’s first year, the procedure entails a brief stay in the pediatric ICU followed by a short hospital stay.

As infants grow, the skull’s joints (sutures) allow expansion and bone formation. However, premature fusion of these joints can lead to Craniosynostosis, necessitating surgical intervention. Dr. Petersen conducts this surgery in tandem with a pediatric neurosurgeon, focusing on correcting skull shape abnormalities and alleviating brain pressure. Treatment often involves post-operative helmet therapy, aiming for optimal outcomes within the infant’s first year. The procedure entails a short pediatric ICU stay followed by a brief hospitalization.

Birth Marks

Birth Marks” encompass a diverse range of skin lesions present at birth, including vascular structures like hemangiomas and port wine stains, as well as pigment-producing cells found in congenital nevi and Giant Hairy Nevi. These lesions vary in size, shape, and potential risk, with some having the potential to transform into malignancies later in life. Treatment typically involves surgical removal, which can range from a simple one-time procedure to a multi-stage process. In complex cases, tissue and skin expanding techniques may be necessary to achieve optimal outcomes and minimize scarring.

Surgical intervention for birthmarks is tailored to each patient’s unique condition, aiming to address cosmetic concerns and mitigate potential health risks. Dr. Petersen employs a comprehensive approach, utilizing advanced surgical techniques to ensure effective removal while preserving skin integrity and minimizing scarring. Whether it’s a straightforward procedure or a multi-stage process, the goal is to achieve optimal results while prioritizing patient comfort and safety throughout the treatment journey.

Removal of Extra Fingers or Toes

Polydactyly, a congenital condition characterized by the presence of extra fingers or toes at birth, is more common than one might think, often displaying familial patterns. It occurs in approximately one out of every 500 to 1,000 births, with variations seen across ethnic groups. Typically affecting one hand, the additional digits can range from rudimentary nubbins to fully developed structures, with some cases showing incomplete separation, termed synpolydactyly.

Treatment approaches vary based on the complexity of the condition. In straightforward instances where the extra digit is connected by a small skin bridge, removal can be performed swiftly and with minimal discomfort in a medical setting. However, for larger or more intricate anomalies, surgical intervention is often recommended, preferably after the child reaches 6 to 24 months of age. Surgical procedures for polydactyly entail intricate techniques to ensure both optimal function and cosmetic appearance. This involves delicately relocating shared parts between digits to maintain functionality and aesthetic harmony, emphasizing the importance of specialized care and expertise in addressing this congenital anomaly.

Female Adolescent Breast Asymmetry

Breast asymmetry is not uncommon among teenage females and can significantly impact self-esteem and body image. When one breast fails to develop properly, it can lead to noticeable asymmetry, causing discomfort and difficulty finding well-fitting clothes. To address this concern, various reconstructive techniques are available to establish symmetry and restore confidence in young women.

Before considering breast surgery, it’s crucial for teen patients to engage in open discussions with their parents or guardians regarding their concerns and aesthetic objectives. Our experienced team conducts thorough pre-operative evaluations, providing a platform for teens and their families to express their expectations openly. Additionally, we offer computerized imaging services to visualize potential outcomes, ensuring informed decision-making and optimal satisfaction with the results. These preparatory steps are fundamental for any teenager embarking on the journey of cosmetic plastic surgery.


Gynecomastia, the development of female-like breasts in males, is a condition commonly observed in adolescent boys but can also manifest in adult men. Understanding the factors contributing to this condition requires a comprehensive evaluation, including a thorough medical history and physical examination to identify any underlying causes. Treatment typically involves surgical intervention, which may vary depending on the severity of the condition. Surgical options range from liposuction alone to remove excess fatty tissue to excision of glandular tissue through incisions around the nipple, or a combination of both techniques to achieve optimal results.

In addressing gynecomastia, the chosen surgical approach aims to restore a more masculine chest contour while considering individual patient needs and preferences. Our experienced team specializes in providing tailored treatment plans that prioritize both aesthetic outcomes and patient satisfaction. By offering a range of surgical options and personalized care, we ensure that each patient receives comprehensive treatment suited to their unique condition and desired results.

Trauma Reconstruction

When wounds from incisions or lacerations heal poorly, it can lead to visible scars that may cause concern. However, there are various techniques available to revise these scars and exchange them for more aesthetically pleasing outcomes. Dr. Petersen specializes in scar revision procedures and can assess your child’s scar to determine if improvement is possible. By carefully evaluating the scar’s characteristics, such as its size, location, and texture, Dr. Petersen can recommend the most suitable approach for scar revision.

During a consultation, Dr. Petersen will discuss the options available for scar revision and provide personalized recommendations based on your child’s specific needs and goals. Whether it involves surgical techniques, such as excision or tissue rearrangement, or non-invasive methods like laser therapy or topical treatments, Dr. Petersen will work closely with you to develop a tailored treatment plan. With his expertise and attention to detail, Dr. Petersen strives to achieve optimal scar improvement and enhance your child’s confidence in their appearance.

Cleft Lip and Palate Repair

During infancy, cleft lips are typically repaired around 3 months old after weight gain, allowing for safe surgery. Cleft palate repairs usually occur at age one, involving a multidisciplinary team and post-surgery monitoring for speech development and additional procedures as needed.

Following palate repair, hospital stays last 1-2 days, with ongoing speech development monitoring and potential bone grafts to support teeth. Teenage years may involve jaw surgery for bite alignment and final adjustments to the lip and nose. NuVista Plastic Surgery’s Utah office offers comprehensive care for cleft lip and palate, with over 30 years of experience in treating children locally and from afar. Contact us to schedule a consultation.

Otoplasty/Ear Pinning Surgery

Otoplasty, or ear pinning, is a procedure that addresses prominent or protruding ears, which can cause insecurity for both children and adults. Typically performed under general anesthesia, the surgery involves restructuring the ear cartilage to create a more natural shape and projection. Incisions are made behind and possibly in front of the ear, allowing for cartilage trimming, reshaping, or stitching closer to the head. Recovery involves wearing a protective wrap for about a week, followed by a headband for a month. Scars are discreetly located and usually fade over time.

This outpatient procedure can lead to significant or subtle changes in ear appearance, resulting in a boost in self-esteem for patients. We offer otoplasty services to Utah residents and those from out of town. Contact us to schedule a consultation and learn more about this life-changing procedure.

Scar Revisions

Children are susceptible to a wide range of injuries that may necessitate reconstructive intervention, including facial lacerations, fractures of the facial bones, burns, and injuries to the extremities. Traumatic incidents such as dog bites, car accidents, and encounters with lawn mowers can result in severe and often life-altering injuries for young children. In addressing these complex cases, Dr. Petersen brings to bear his extensive expertise in pediatric reconstructive surgery, ensuring that children receive the specialized care they need to achieve optimal functional and aesthetic outcomes.

With a focus on comprehensive care and individualized treatment plans, Dr. Petersen utilizes advanced reconstructive techniques to address a variety of pediatric injuries. Whether repairing facial trauma or restoring function to injured extremities, his dedication to excellence in pediatric reconstruction ensures that children receive the highest quality of care to promote healing, recovery, and a return to normalcy following traumatic events.