Surgery on a Little One

Updated on February 22, 2009
B.S. asks from Norristown, PA
18 answers

My 9 month old was born with a birthmark/mole on her face. Not very large, but definitely noticeable. We've spoken to the pediatrician, a dermatologist and Children's Hospital dermatology. We were told that we could have it removed (in the rare chance that it could become cancer) now or when she's older. I am a little worried about anesthesia for a baby, but I'm also worried about all the teasing she'll get as she's growing up (if we elected to wait). Has anyone experienced this or know anyone that has (the mole and removal or anesthesia)? I've gotten medical advice, now I'm looking for mommy advice:)Thanks!

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So What Happened?

Thank you so much everyone for your stories and advice! We have decided to wait since she won't be teased or feel self conscious for awhile. Possibly some time in the next few years. Thanks everyone!

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answers from Lancaster on

What type of anesthesia would they use? My daughter had a mole on her head that was pretty large - we had it removed this past spring, and they just numbed the area. If you are going to have it removed, I would do it when she is young - she may not pick at the site as much, etc.



answers from Reading on

My son had a growth removed from his scalp at the age of three. It was about an inch and hair did not grow on it. The doctor said those things sometimes can become precancerous as someone ages (30's ir 40's) and I guess he thought the age of three was a good time to remove it. The operation was done as an outpatient. We spent the better part of the day at the hospital until he was released from recovery. The staff was very gentle and friendly with him and allowed him to bring his favorite stuffed toy. They kept it with him until they put him under, and it was there with him when he woke up. All in all, it went well at that age.

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answers from Philadelphia on

my little guy has had 2 surgeries one when he was 6 months (open heart), and one when he was 2 1/2 for his phrenulum to be clipped because it was causing speech problems. Both were just as hard, obviously the first was even more. But you know if they are removing something from her face that could become cancerous it's better safe than sorry. The surgery shouldn't take that long, and you could have peace of mind knowing that you don't have to have it checked out every now and then. Plus let's face it, if we were born with it on our faces what would we want our mothers to do?



answers from Philadelphia on

I was born with a hemangeoma (extra blood vessels, making it swollen and red) on my nose. I had to wait until I was five to getit removed. It definitely affected my conifence and sense of self throughout my life. I can'ttell you what to do, but I think removing it while she's still a baby would be a gift you can give her. Thank Godfor modern technology.



answers from Harrisburg on

As a mother whos daughter has had a hemangioma on her chin beside her lip, I did not want it removed. Unlike yours, my daughters will prob disappear by the time she is 12yrs old. My daughter is the age(3) that she is asking about it. I dont even see it/notice it on her anymore. It is a part of her. I know where you are coming from with your concerns, but in all honesty, do what you feel is right. She will be fine with the anesthesia, and such. My friend had a mole removed from her daughters cheek who was 10 months (it was big), and she was fine. Hope I helped.



answers from Philadelphia on

I have not had experience with moles however I can comment on anesthesia. My 3 year old has had 2 "surgeries" - tonsils removed and ear tubes. We had both done at Dupont in Delaware - they were amazing! Totally recommend Dupont or Childrens in Philadelphia. Of course your main concern as a mother is how your child will handle the anesthesia. I had this "dream" of the surgery going well and walking in to the recovery room with my child wanting to snuggle and be held. Boy was I wrong! Both surgeries went very well with no complications however after the 2nd surgery this fall, we realized that my 3 year old does have a common reaction to anesthesia. For these kinds of "non-evasive" surgeries, they use a inhalent type of anesthesia which may have some side effects to children. Don't worry nothing life threatening however scary! During the first surgery, at 1 year old, my daughter woke up from surgery not knowing who I was - she screamed, scratched and bit me. There was no calming her down at all. The docter says that this is common because these types of surgery are fast and the child does not need to be under anesthesia that long - it's the fact that their brain does not have the chance to compute what's going on. They allowed her to scream it out (not in pain) for 20 minutes. The doctor said that if she did not come out of this "reaction" that they would have to put her back under and bring her out of the anesthesia again -sometimes this is the only way to control the situation. Thankfully, she was able to calm down after a 1/2 hour. This again happened during her 2nd surgery and again about 45 minutes to calm her down. They are not in pain - it's just confusing. It's also not because they are children and children cry - it's a reaction. I would suggest speaking to your doctor and ask about this type of reaction which is called "Emergence Delirium" - just so you are prepared if it does happen. I also have a little one (8 months) - I am sure everything will go well***



answers from Altoona on

Hi Becky,
My nephew has a birthmark/mole on his face. His is in the middle of his forehead. A round red circle and 1/2 in. around. It is not flat, so you can feel the bump. He is 16 months old. His doctor told my sister it will shrink and go away. They chose not to operate and see how it progress. From the time of his birth to today, it shrank a little and it has flattened some. Though it is taking a slow course, they chose to wait a little longer. My sister thought her son may have a better chance if he was older. She said she will make the decision before he goes to pre-school. In the mean time my sister is saying only positive things. Tyler now, is a good and happy baby. His is still young and he does not even realize he has a birthmark. Children sense the tension and worry from their parents, then they start to fuss. If you remain calm, they will be fine. No matter what decision my sister makes, I know she will be right there. Just for the record, I have a mole on my right eye. It is right next to my nose. Growing up, I was never teased about that. Everything else was. I had to wear glasses in the third grade, so that added another name. When I think about it, I was the only one bothered about it. You are right though, kids are cruel. I didn't mind being called shorty. Couldn't do nothing about four eyes, but it was my low self esteem about myself that I ate to much. Being called fatty later in life, didn't helped. I am okay about everything now. (Even lost weight.) I am very proud of my sister and her positive talking and thinking. I just wished someone spoke up for me and taught me how to like myself growing up. Back to your other option. If you do have to or chose to have the operation. As long as you are calm and with your little one, she'll be okay. I've tested this theory about the last thought going under anesthesia and the first thought out. It's true. I've had two operations. The one that made the most impression on me was when the nurse came to me and told me I was the first person ever to come out of anesthesia singing. That time, I remember was the only time no one was with me before the operation. I was worried, just like the first time, but I was singing to myself the whole time I was alone. Thinking positive thoughts. It is true, happy positive thoughts before an operation, helps you come out easier. That's why I volunteer at the Hospital, in the same day surgery dept. talking and praying with the patients. To those who have no one with them. With your love and caring, your little girl will know you'll be there for her. I hope this has help some in the decision concerning your little girl. I'll be praying for you.



answers from Pittsburgh on

Hi Becky,

It is always scary when your child needs a procedure. My niece has a mole on the back of her head (covered by hair so not visible) and one that was in her throat which was removed at 5 months of age. She did very well through the procedure. My daughter underwent a colonoscopy due to ongoing intolerances and GI issues at 7 months of age and had to go under anesthesia. I was also worried about the anesthesia, but all went well. Having the procedure completed at a Children's hospital will go a long way towards making sure you have an expert on sedation in children working on your case. My daughter recovered very well after the procedure with few side effects except for being more clingy and sleepy than usual for approximately a day or two. The hardest part is letting go of them when they have to have the procedure done. Some hospitals allow you to be present as they sedate the baby, it is not an easy thing to watch, but if you want to be there ask and see if they allow it. I was able to do that (however I do work at the facility) and it made me feel more confident that she was okay. For us the worst part was deciding whether to do the procedure and then waiting for it. Good luck.



answers from State College on

I have had moles removed myself, and instead of anesthesia, they gave a local injection and then removed the mole. It doesn't hurt much and happens very fast. Though I'm not sure about how they would handle it being on a baby's face.

My daughter had anesthesia just before she turned one, and she handled that ok. There are a lot of concerns with having anesthesia though.

She may also not get teased for having a birthmark on her face. They are also called "beauty marks". The famous model Cindy Crawford had one. I have even seen where models would use an eyeliner pencil to draw "moles" on their faces because it was desired.



answers from Erie on

Wow, do i remember this! My little girl was under a year as well. she had a very dark mole right near her belly button. My sister has a small mole right where a necklace would hang on her chest and was horribly self-concious and was strongly in the camp of having my daughters mole removed. I was much more leary of anything the least bit invasive in my baby,it was just part of her body that made her special, worried about the scar etc etc. Because of another condition we were meeting regularly with a Ped derm associated with children's at his wexford office and he strongly strongly recommended the removal.
We did end up having it removed, it was done by a plastic surgeon in our city. It was actually something where they called us back, rubbed a numbing agent on her skin, let that sit for 15 mins, then came back with a huge needle, shot her up in 3 different places surrounding it, let that sit for 15 mins, then the dr came in with 2 nurses, we held her down since she was still awake, and he sliced it off, real quick under five minutes including the stitching back up. Now,a little one who has been stuck in an office for over an hour and held down while her belly was fiddled with was unable to appreciate how quick was, and neither was I as the freaked out momma. Of course it felt like forever! But it really was quite quick.
He didn't get it all the first time though, and did have to go back again and do it all over. UGG. and there is a scar. But over all i'm glad not to have to worry about it.
I'm sure being a facial surgery your experience will be different but if you would like to talk please message me. I do also have experience with actually putting a child under for a prodecure too.
distracted by children may edit later.



answers from Allentown on

how big is it?

do they think it will grow? has it grown since birth?

some get bigger some smaller as time goes on.

My daughter had a hemongiano spelling it wrong i know on her lip which grew so her lip looked swollen a bit and people all the time use to ask if she fell or maybe hit. We had laser treatments for over 3 years which did little but turn it little grey finally at age 6 went to plastic surgeon who said lets cortorize it cause had to be just little blood coming into the vein. She had to do it again 7 years later came back maybe due to sports not sure.

Go talk to a plastic surgeon also how much of a scar?



answers from Reading on

Hello Becky,

I'm a mom with 6 kids, and have run the gammut of surgery on young and older too. I don't think any age you don't worry. I had a very sick newborn who needed major kidney surgery. Because they were functioning they wanted to put it off as long as possible, mainly becasue at birth his lungs ruptured. At 10 moths his cry sounded like a newborn. However that is not the case for your child. But anesthesia at any age can have complications, but is usually safe. They certainly wouldn't reccommed it if he was at risk. With that said, I had older children K, 1st grade and at 3 years old have their tonsils out. Though none had complications from the anesthesia that were critical situations, they did have reactions. None that they remember, it was sorta like "nightmares" for them. The brain has no memory under anesthesia so there is no memory of it but as a mom that stays with you. I was very concerned with my 3 year old getting his tonsils out at 3, I did feel it was too young, but it was necessary. Then it took forever to complete the surgery. An extra 1 1/2 hours because he was a bleeder. During that time I got nothing to tell me he was ok I just had to wait it out. Not fun! That was baby #5. The other 2 tosilectimy's were baby #3 and #4. So I had history on this. This was my experience, and not necessarily going to be yours. But my advice is this, listen to your gut about timing. You will know. I get the fact of doing it before school starts, but you have time for that too. Kids can be mean. You and your hubby will know what is right for your child go by that and learn to trust your gut when raising your children. YOu won't go wrong. Learn to trust it and act on it. I hope this helps we are the best stewards of our children that's why they are ours!



answers from Erie on

My nephew had a LARGE mole on his face, and it got removed when he was in his 20's I don't know if he ever got teased at school.

Your baby won't get teased while she's young. Little kids are VERY accepting. I think I'd feel the same way you do about surgery on a really little child. But then I don't know what's involved, how long it would take, etc. Get more information, and then decide.

Frankly, I have 5 moles on my face, all smaller than a pea, and am 54, have hated them ALL my life, but I was never teased about them. I ignore them now, but sometimes I still wish I'd gone and gotten them removed. I just don't want to spend the $$ on it now.



answers from Sharon on

My four month old had double intestinal hernias. You can imagine how awful it was to be told he would need surgery. It was scary to let him just be wheeled off so tiny. They put little baby socks on his hands to keep him warm as they get cold sometimes after anesthesia.

The nice thing was that we had met with the specialist before and he took so many great pains to make sure I knew exactly what was going on with his little body and why we needed the surgery. Second the day we went in (it was outpatient), the nurses did a thorough check to make sure his oxygen levels and everything else were good before they operated or put him under. This put me somewhat at rest. Everyone was wonderful and very reassuring. It helped that I knew exactly what was going on, what they would do and how long it would take.

When they carried him back in he was sleeping. They said we had to wait till he woke up somewhat to make sure the medicine had worn off. Well, my little one was a big sleeper anyway and he would stir if you shook him but he just kept right on sleeping. The nurses kept checking him and in the end they said you know what we think hes fine just take him home and it should wear of by this time.

We took him home and he slept a bit more and then he work up. He was a little sleepy for a few days but everything was fine. (They told us what to look for).

I had my husband with me who is my biggest support. Find out how much experience the hospital you're going to has with children and get as much information as you can from everyone so you'll be comfortable.

Good luck.



answers from Philadelphia on

My youngest had open-heart surgery at 4 months old. If you decide to do surgery, I would do it sooner than later. The older she gets, the more likely she will be to remember the experience. My son was kept sedated for most of the day after his surgery because of pain. When the sedation medication was stopped, he woke was his normal self by the next morning. Not bad for open-heart surgery.
All surgery can and will be scarey for the parents. Since your daughter's surgery will be a minor one, the anesthesia should wear off quickly along with any side effects.
Also, the older she is, the worse the side effects may be. She may be more irritable than if she were younger, especially once she gets more independent.
Good luck whatever you decide.



answers from Philadelphia on

Hi Beckey,

I can understand completely what you are going thorugh. I am a stay at home mom with my 6yr old daughter, who is in Kindergarten, my son who will be 4 in April and my now almost 9 month old daughter,. My youngest daughter had surgery when she was only 5 months old and it was for a ingual hernia. I was worried about everything including the anesthesia, however when I talked to the surgeon and the anestheologist I felt much better. I think what really made me feel at ease was talking to my mother and my mother in law, who is a nurse. They made me feel more relaxed by letting me know everything would be ok.

It is hard to take in all of the information doctors give you for surgery on yourself but when it is for your child it is even harder to take it all in. I would suggest that if you have any worries or concerns ask if you could talk to the surgeon and the anestheologist so you could feel at ease. Please let me know how things go. I hope I helped you.



answers from Williamsport on

My main concern (along with anesthesia) would be the expansion of the scar as she grows. Waiting may minimize that. If your doctors say waiting would be better in this way, any teasing she gets is going to be much less while she's so young-as toddlers aren't cruel like bigger kids. Also, she wouldn't remember it even if you wait a few years.



answers from Pittsburgh on

Hi Becky,
My son has two little skin tabs in front of his ear (cheek area). They look like very small pimples and, to tell you the truth, I don't "see" them at all. Some people do. My thought is to leave them alone until they are an "issue" because I figure when he's older it will most likely be a very simple outpatient procedure. I guess it depends on how YOU feel you should proceed. Maybe if it is noticeable, it would be better to do it before she's aware of it and doesn't really know what's going on. If I had done that, it would be history for me by now. But my son's isn't really noticeable.
Is it a raised mole? I had O. removed from the back of my neck and it was super-easy, took like 5 seconds.
I guess you have to decide what's right for you right now. That said, I do believe if you decide to wait, you will have to wait a few years until you can get her to understand and cooperate with the procedure. Good luck!

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