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Pediatric Reconstructive Surgery

East Tennessee Pediatric Reconstructive Surgery

Surgery for Restoring Function & Physical Appearance

Cleft Lip and Cleft Palate

R. Mark Ray, MD, Cleft Lip and Cleft Palate Reconstructive Surgeon

R. Mark Ray, M.D., an ear, nose and throat specialist and reconstructive surgeon, can begin treating a child with an oral cleft before they take their first breath.

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Pediatric reconstructive surgeons restore the appearance, movement and use of body parts that have been changed due to injuries, developmental abnormalities, birth defects, tumors, burns, disease or birthmarks. Our reconstructive surgeons work with other Children's Hospital specialists to create a plan for your child and schedule surgeries at the right time in the healing process.

Reconstructive surgeries can be strongly tied to self-esteem and confidence during childhood. Our doctors aim to restore function, but also realize that your child's looks may be affected by the surgery. By coming to a hospital specifically for children, your child will be treated by doctors who understand how the surgery's effects will last and change as your child grows in the long term. Keep reading to learn about some common reasons younger patients need reconstructive surgery.

Ear Abnormalities

The most common ear abnormalities are microtia and prominent ears. These conditions usually happen with other facial growth problems in your child. Microtia means that one or both of your child’s ears is small and undeveloped. This issue will be present at your child’s birth. Treatment and surgery for microtia begins after age 7. Prominent ears mean that your child’s ears stick out very noticeably from their head. If needed, your doctor will perform an otoplasty to pin ears back closer to the head or reduce their size. Otoplasty is the most common reconstructive procedure for children.


Your pediatric reconstructive surgeon may work with your pediatric dermatologist to treat your child’s vascular birthmarks. Many birthmarks do not require surgery. When the birthmarks are more challenging, they can appear as large legions. The surgeon will work with a team of other specialists to find out if your child would benefit from birthmark removal surgery.

Hand Abnormalities

Some babies are born with syndactyly, which causes two or more fingers or toes to be fused together, or duplication of fingers. Both of these conditions can be fixed by pediatric reconstructive surgeons.

Traumatic Injuries

Traumatic injuries from accidents, burns and other unexpected events may need surgery to restore appearance or function. Reconstructive surgeons can reshape bone, repair soft tissue and skin and use implants to rebuild facial structures. Deep cuts, animal bites and scars can also be treated by these specialists.

Craniofacial Surgery

Your child may require reconstructive surgery if they have deformities of the skull, closing the palate or rebuilding facial features in the jaw and skull. The craniofacial surgery team includes:

A coordinated team can make sure your child receives the best pre-surgery and follow-up care possible.

The most common craniofacial issues reconstructive surgeons treat are: