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In the United States, patients must generally be 18 years of age or older in order to undergo plastic surgery. The reason being that not only can a child or teen’s body change and grow, but an underage patient is much more likely to change their minds and decide they would have rather never undergone a makeover. However, there are instances in which plastic surgery on underage patients is appropriate, especially if the procedure can save their life or correct a medical issue or deformity.

Cleft-Palate

Plastic surgery treatments for children are not as uncommon as one might think. One of the most common involves surgery to correct a cleft lip (cheiloschisis) or cleft palate (palatoschisis), conditions which affect formation of the upper lip or the roof of the mouth. Other treatments correct scars and physical damage from accidents and can give children a chance to experience life without having their conditions define them. There are many unique cases to consider before allowing a child to undergo plastic surgery, but if the treatment is in the best interest of the child and will improve their quality of life or ability to function normally, exceptions are often made.

One mother has recently made headlines after sharing her daughter’s plastic surgery story with the world, but not all the attention has been favorable.

Some mothers raise their children to accept who they are and how they look so they can grow up to be confident individuals. However, there are times in which a child is born with birth defect that can prove to hinder their ability to live a normal life. According to Sasha Emmons, her daughter Chloe was one of these children, which is why she made the difficult decision to approve plastic surgery for the toddler.

At this point, you may be thinking that there must be something wrong with Emmons to allow her young child to go under the knife, but after learning about her intentions, you may just have a change of heart.

Chloe was born with a unique strawberry colored mark on her head near the hair line called a hemangioma birthmark. A hemangioma is not so much a birthmark, but rather a benign blood-vessel tumor that approximately 1 in 10 babies develop, most of which are girls.  After she was born, Emmons and her husband Justin were told by their physician that the mark should dissipate by the time Chloe turned two. However, as Chloe started growing older, the birthmark started getting bigger.

The tumor eventually grew to the size of a golf ball, which was a far cry from what doctors had initially told the family. Yet, Chloe’s physicians continued to tell Emmons to ignore the mark and reassured it would face soon.  As the tumor grew, the negative effects it was having on Chloe were magnifying. Although she was too young to realize what was happening, the tumor prevented hair from growing on Chloe’s head and led many to ask Emmons what was wrong with her daughter.

The more this happened, the more Emmons was afraid that the birthmark would never go away and her daughter would be perpetually known for the hemangioma, instead of for any of her wonderful attributes.  She feared her daughter would grow up being bullied or outcast, and given that the birth mark wasn’t fading, Emmons also suspected something was wrong with the hemangioma and might be threatening her daughter’s life.

It was then that Emmons decided to research the condition further and found the Vascular Birthmarks Foundation. The family consulted with Milton Waner, M.D., an expert on hemangiomas at the center, who told the parents that most pediatricians don’t know the full extent of what a hemangioma really is or how long it will take to go away. He explained that it can actually take as long as 10 years to dissipate, and even if it did, go away, Chloe would be left with a permanent section on her head without hair.

Fearing for her daughter’s future and believing Chloe might never forgive her if she didn’t have the mark removed before it got worse, Emmons proceeding with the surgery.

Now, a few years later, there is no trace of the intrusive hemangioma aside from a miniscule scar on Chloe’s head that can be easily concealed.  Chloe, a second-grader, has no recollection of the hemangioma and boasts long, beautiful long blonde hair – something that would not have been possible had the hemangioma been left to grow.  As difficult of a decision as it was for Emmons to make the call as a parent to have the two-year old undergo surgery, she firmly believe others wouldn’t do the same in her position.

Do you agree with Emmons’ choice to remove the birthmark with plastic surgery? Would you approve of your child to undergo a similar procedure or scar-removal plastic surgery?

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