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Dr. Alizadeh is a renowned plastic surgeon with extensive expertise in reconstructive surgery, particularly in treating severe dog bite injuries on both adults and children. Additionally, he has extensively written about this topic and even published an award-winning paper on the plastic and reconstructive approach to treating such injuries.


Dr. Alizadeh receiving an award

Dr. Alizadeh receiving an award

An Algorithmic Approach to Operative Management of Complex Pediatric Dog Bites

National Dog Bite Prevention Week with WMCHealth and Dr. Kaveh Alizadeh

National Dog Bite Prevention Week

Rise in Dog Bites

In recent years, there has been a concerning rise in dog bites requiring plastic and reconstructive surgery. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, over 28,000 people underwent reconstructive surgery in 2018 due to dog bites.

Between 2012-14, Dr. Alizadeh's Level 1 Pediatric Trauma Center treated 108 children with complex dog bites. Of these patients:

  • Of the total number of children, 61 were male, and 47 were female, ranging from 5 months to 18 years. Most of the children were within the preschool to grade school age range.
  • Roughly 60 percent of the children sustained injuries to their head and neck, while approximately 30 percent had injuries to their arm, hand, leg, or foot.
  • Around 39 percent of children received wound closure treatment in the emergency room, with consultation from plastic surgeons and other specialists frequently required.
  • In addition, 21 percent of patients needed surgery in the operating room, occasionally involving reconstructive procedures like skin flaps.
  • Following initial treatment, around 27 percent of children were hospitalized. Nine patients required extended hospitalization of four days or longer, primarily due to infection.

Dog Bites: Why Immediate Medical Attention is Crucial!

Dog Bites: Why Immediate Medical Attention is Crucial!

Complex Factors Behind Rising Dog Bite Incidents

The reasons behind this increase are complex. One factor is the growing popularity of certain breeds known for their aggressive behavior. Another factor is the need for more education and training for dog owners, leading to improper handling and socialization of their pets. Finally, dog bite incidents often increase in summer when people are more likely to interact outdoors with dogs.

Dr. Alizadeh acknowledges certain limitations of the study, such as the need for more information on dog breeds in approximately half of the cases. Furthermore, he notes that their trauma center tends to receive more patients with complex injuries caused by larger biting dogs.

Types of Dog Bite Injuries

Dog bites can cause serious injuries, including:

  • Deep lacerations
  • Puncture wounds
  • Tissue loss

In some cases, the damage can be so severe that reconstructive surgery is necessary to repair the affected area. Dog bite scars can have a significant emotional impact on victims, causing anxiety, fear, and even post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). While plastic and reconstructive surgery can help improve physical function and appearance, it does not address trauma's psychological effects.

there is a man sitting on a rock with a dog

Plastic Surgery Minutes: Dog Bites and Plastic Surgery

Plastic Surgery Minutes: Dog Bites and Plastic Surgery

Dog Bite Scar Removal

Dog bite injuries can leave physical and emotional scars lasting a lifetime. While plastic and reconstructive surgery can help restore physical function and appearance, it may not always be enough to address the psychological trauma associated with the attack. Scar removal surgery is a viable option for those who wish to minimize the appearance of scars caused by dog bites. This procedure involves removing and replacing the scar tissue with healthy tissue from another body part.

Scar removal surgery can help:

  • Improve the appearance of scars
  • Reduce discomfort
  • Boost self-confidence

Why Choose Dr. Alizadeh?

Dr. Alizadeh is a world renowned plastic surgeon based in New York specializing in reconstructive and cosmetic surgeries. He has extensive experience in treating severe dog bite injuries for both adults and children and has published an award-winning paper on the subject. He is the founder of Alizadeh Cosmoplastic Surgery. He is the former Chief of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at Westchester Medical Center and Professor of Clinical Surgery at New York Medical College. Additionally, Dr. Alizadeh is the current President of the New York Regional Society of Plastic Surgeons and the founder of Mission: Restore, a humanitarian group committed to providing surgical care in developing countries and training local doctors to do the same.

Dr. Alizadeh’s accomplishments span various areas, including training over 100 plastic surgeons and holding the position of oral examiner for the American Board of Plastic Surgery. Among the academic community, he is known for his numerous peer-reviewed articles and the more than 100 international lectures he has delivered. As the primary clinical trial investigator for the FDA, he's been instrumental in advancing various medical devices used in a wide array of surgical and non-surgical treatments. He has shared his surgical expertise with hundreds of surgeons in numerous countries, garnering him international renown. 

Dr. Alizadeh in front of NYC skyline.


Prevention is critical in reducing the number of dog bites that require plastic and reconstructive surgery. This includes:

  • Responsible pet ownership
  • Proper training and socialization
  • Dog behavior and body language education
  • Teaching your kids never to approach an unfamiliar dog, look a strange dog directly in the eye, run away from it, or scream at it
Dr. Kaveh Alizadeh

First Aid

Dr. Alizadeh notes, “When bitten by a big dog, you must treat that injury differently.” To treat a minor wound:

  • Cleanse the bite area with soap and water
  • To stop bleeding
  • Apply pressure with a wet washcloth
  • Get your bite looked at by a doctor within six hours

If the wound is severe, a plastic surgeon can meet you in the ER to minimize scarring.
Apart from the possibility of severe injuries that require medical attention, there’s a high risk of psychological and emotional consequences that victims may experience after a dog bite. Dr. Alizadeh emphasizes the importance of seeking medical care at facilities that offer trauma, surgery, and psychological support services.

Do You Need a Plastic Surgeon?

Whether or not you need a plastic surgeon for a dog bite depends on the severity of the injury. Sometimes, minor wounds can be treated with basic first aid, such as cleaning the wound and applying a bandage. However, more severe injuries may require the expertise of a plastic surgeon. This is especially true if the bite has caused significant tissue damage, including:

  • Deep lacerations
  • Puncture wounds
  • Tissue loss

Plastic surgeons can help repair the affected area through reconstructive surgery, which may involve:

  • Skin grafts
  • Tissue expansion
  • Complex wound closure techniques
  • Scar removal surgery to minimize the appearance of scars caused by dog bites
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