Congenital Birth Defects in Philadelphia

Serving Philadelphia, the Main Line, King of Prussia, Wayne, PA, New Jersey and the neighboring tri state areas

American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery American Society of Ophthalmic Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery, Oculofacial Plastic Surgery American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery American Academy of Ophthalmology American Board of Ophthalmology American College of Surgeons (ACS) WillsEye Hospital Philadelphia, PA

Congenital disorders are conditions present from birth and can be inherited or caused by environmental factors.

Also known as congenital diseases or birth defects, the impact from this condition on a child's health and development varies from mild to severe involving a disability or a health problem that continues throughout his life. Some of the most common congenital disorder includes cleft palate, clubfoot, heart defects and spina bifida.

There are two main categories of birth defects. Structural birth defects relating to a problem with the structure of body parts such as:

  • Abnormal limbs (clubfoot)
  • Brain and spinal cord problems (spina bifida)
  • Cleft lip/palate
  • Heart defects or mis shape or missing valves

Functional or developmental birth defects relating to a problem with the function of a body part or body system such as:

  • Brain problems that lead to behavioral disorders, intellectual and developmental disabilities, seizures and speech or language difficulties
  • Degenerative disorders (conditions that can cause characteristics of health to worsen like muscular dystrophy)
  • Metabolic disorders (chemical reactions in the body that reduces the body’s ability to get rid of waste materials)
  • Nervous system (Down Syndrome and Prader-Wili Syndrome)
  • Sensory problems (hearing loss and visual problems)

Cardiac catheterization is the ability for a surgeon to repair hearts using catheters by inserting a thin tube into a blood vessel in the leg and guiding it to the heart. The surgeon can then see where the catheter is located inside a body using special X-ray equipment.

Cardiac catheterization can be used for closing a hole in the heart or opening a narrowed valve or artery. One of the defects of a congenital heart is having a hole in one of its chamber walls. With a catheter, the surgeon inserts a small patch over the hole to allow tissue to form over it while a baby grows up. Another issue is difficulty when a valve is too small to let blood flow through the heart. A catheter can insert a tiny balloon to the valve and inflate it, which enlarges the opening and allows the blood to flow better.

If a baby needs open-heart surgery, there could be a number of different problems going on inside the baby, including holes in the heart, restrictive arteries and valve problems. With the right tools and an experienced surgeon, many congenital heart defects can be fixed with a procedure. But it may require several surgeries as the child grows up.

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“I did a lot of research before choosing a surgeon. I like and trust Dr. Morgenstern as he is artistic, he aims for a natural look and gives attention to detail. Dr. Morgenstern is a perfectionist.”

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Is it Safe?

Technology and knowledge have come a long way in making these procedures effective and safer. The majority of the surgeries are performed with anesthesia so the baby is not awake during the procedure. Talk to a surgeon today and get all the information you need about any risks involved in surgery for your child.

How is the Recovery?

After a surgery, a baby is usually moved to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). How long will your baby stay at the hospital depends on what procedure was completed and how your baby is reacting to it. Before you take your child home, your surgeon will let you know what you’ll need to do once you get home and when to come back for follow-up appointments.

Recovery time is faster with a catheterization than an open-heart procedure. It is not unusual for a baby with congenital heart defect to get tired quickly after a surgery. Make sure to discuss different concerns with your surgeon and nurses. In the end, it will be worth getting through the procedure and see the improvement in your child.

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