Parental views on plastic surgery for Down syndrome: an African perspective

  • Afieharo Igbibia Michael Department of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery, University, College Hospital, Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria
  • Olumide Olatokunbo Jarrett Department of Paediatrics, Faculty of Clinical Sciences, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, Nigeria
Keywords: Parents; down syndrome; plastic surgery; ethics; prominent tongue; mothers; Africa; attitudes; awareness; stigmatization


Introduction: plastic surgery for Down syndrome has not been embraced in sub-Saharan Africa. This study sought to determine the attitudes of some parents from sub-Saharan Africa to plastic surgery for their Down syndrome child.

Methods: consenting parents completed a questionnaire survey instrument that obtained demographic characteristics and contained a likert scale on attitudes to plastic surgery. Internal consistency of the scale was determined with Chronbach's alpha and Pearsons chi square analysis was used to analyze relationships between demographic variables and attitudes scores. Values less than 0.05 were considered statistically significant.

Results: most (61.9%) of the 42 consenting mothers were above 35 years of age. The most disturbing of the Down syndrome characteristics were the protruding tongue, 18(42.9%), slanting palpebral fissures, 14(33.3%) and the flattened nasal bridge 14(33.3%). Although the mothers had low awareness of plastic surgery, most of them had favourable attitudes towards it. A reliability analysis of the mother's attitudes on the likert scale showed good internal consistency. Chronbachs alpha 0.87.

Conclusion: the parents in this study have favourable attitudes towards plastic surgery for Down syndrome. The prominent tongue was the most disturbing feature.


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eISSN: 1937-8688