Applications of Endoscopic Surgery in Pediatric Patients

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Although the advent of endoscopic technology is expanding the fields of reconstructive and aesthetic surgery in adults, there have been few reports of the use of this technology in the pediatric population. Because of their minimally invasive nature, yet wide range of exposure, endoscopic techniques have much appeal for this age group. Here we present our experience with endoscopic pediatric plastic surgery. From February of 1995 to August of 1997, 104 patients underwent 139 procedures utilizing 5- and 10-mm endoscopes. There were 58 male and 46 female patients. The mean age at surgery was 5.6 years (range, 3 weeks to 19 years). The most common type of procedures performed were insertion of tissue expanders (n = 34), excision of benign head and neck masses (n = 27), torticollis release (n = 20), excision of vascular lesions (n = 13), and miscellaneous procedures, (n = 10). There were 26 complications in 139 procedures (19 percent). Seventeen (65 percent) were in the tissue expander group. The rest were scattered among the groups with other diagnoses. Although there did not appear to be a specific type of complication associated with endoscopy, 77 percent occurred in the first 2 months of our study. This suggests a relatively steep technical learning curve. These results demonstrate that endoscopic techniques are eminently applicable in the pediatric population, providing the benefits of small and remote incisional wounds, with complication rates that are comparable with those of conventional open surgical treatment. (Plast. Reconstr. Surg. 102: 1446, 1998.)

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