Dr. Stephen Hardy of Northwest Plastic Surgery Associates has a strong passion for pediatric surgery. In fact, pediatric surgery is the reason why he wanted to be a plastic surgeon. The ability to be able to repair and restore normal function of a child’s mouth through cleft lip and palate surgery is an extremely rewarding experience.
DR. STEPHEN HARDY: Pediatric plastic surgery was really my academic forte. I mean, that's what introduced me to plastic surgery and why I wanted to be a plastic surgeon is when I saw that you could fix a little baby who had a cleft, correct something in a little child who really had no option. It wasn't their fault. They didn't do anything. This poor little thing just had this go wrong, and now you want to do everything you can so they can grow up and live a normal life and not be teased.
The majority of what I see is a cleft lip and palette type of surgery. We see some children with what's called synostosis where the cranial bones are fused together or don't grow properly, so the head ends up being misshapen. There are several other abnormalities, say with vascular birthmarks, hemangiomas, vascular malformations, etc. But this broad spectrum of pediatrics, I find very, very technically challenging and very, very personally rewarding.
That's the whole reason I became a plastic surgeon, and it opened my eyes to the rest of the field of plastic surgery, which is just a wonderful, wonderful field. But my real core, my heard is with the pediatric plastic surgery, something I don't think I'll ever give up. It will probably be what I'll go out the rest of my life doing that kind of thing on some voluntary surgery trip overseas or something. I mean, it's really a lot of fun.