A significant illness, injury, or birth defect can impair the functionality of a body part or even compromise your physical appearance. The role of reconstructive surgery is to restore the functionality and the appearance of an area affected by illness, injury, or congenital abnormalities.
There are a number of different types of reconstructive surgery, each one addressing a particular pathology or need. The following list is not exhaustive, but does provide some insight into the range of what reconstructive surgeons do.
What are the Different Types of Reconstructive Surgery?
When a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer, the best way to eradicate the disease may be to remove all or part of the breast tissue, in a procedure known as a mastectomy. Many women who undergo this procedure wish to have new breasts created, allowing them to maintain their natural figure and their sense of femininity.
Reconstructive surgeons can provide this solution. Note that breast reconstruction differs from breast augmentation, which uses either implants or fat grafts to add volume to existing breast tissue.
Hand and Foot Surgery
Another common area for reconstruction is hand and foot surgery. When the outer extremities are damaged in a traumatic accident, it can limit mobility or dexterity, making it hard for the patient to carry out even simple day-to-day tasks. Reconstructive surgeons can perform the delicate work of repairing the hands and feet, and returning fingers and toes to a full range of motion.
The goal of hand and foot surgery is both to restore normal use and functionality, but also to ensure that these extremities look healthy and normal.
Skin Cancer Reconstruction
Skin cancer, including melanoma, is an extremely common condition. When it is left untreated, it can spread throughout the body, and even prove fatal.
While many skin cancers can be removed and the surrounding skin simply closed, larger cancers or cancers on delicate or aesthetically important areas may require the expertise of a skilled reconstructive surgeon. Through a procedure such as skin grafting or rearranging local tissue, reconstructive surgeons restore full facial aesthetics or full extremity function.
It is important to note that having the skin cancer removed by a skilled reconstructive surgeon can minimize damage to surrounding tissues, and make reconstruction a bit easier.
Rectal Cancer Reconstruction
For patients with advanced rectal cancer, the only viable treatment may be the complete removal of the rectum, colon, and anus. This procedure may prove lifesaving, yet it can also lead to significant postoperative complications or wounds. Reconstructive surgeons will use muscle flaps and other techniques to help restore the body and even to minimize the scar tissue that is left from the initial cancer treatment.
Treatment for Facial Trauma
Facial trauma can happen for any number of reasons. Often, it is the result of a car collision, a sports-related accident, or an accident in the workplace. The results of facial trauma can be significant, leaving the patient with a compromised physical appearance while also sapping some of their self-confidence.
Reconstructive surgery can be performed to restore a normal, healthy facial appearance. In fact, reconstructive surgery can be used to address a number of particular issues, including facial lacerations, jaw fractures, eye socket fractures, nose fractures and cheekbone fractures.
Burns happen pretty often, usually due to simple accidents, yet the damage they do can be profound. Often, a burn can result in significant skin and tissue damage. In order to provide full restoration, reconstructive surgeons may need to perform debridement (eliminating all dead skin cells), then completely clean out the wound.
Some specific methods used for burn reconstruction can include direct wound closure, skin grafting, tissue expansion, or transfer of tissue using flaps.
When wounds heal, they can often leave behind scars. Though scarring is inevitable, particularly following surgery or a significant accident, it does not have to be permanent. Through reconstructive surgery, it is possible to minimize the appearance of scarring, helping the scar to blend in with the surrounding skin. Sometimes, this will require the scar tissue to be surgically removed.
Find Out More About Reconstructive Surgery
Reconstructive surgery can help restore you to a normal and confident appearance, while also ensuring you have full control over your body and its functions.
At Thrive Reconstructive Surgery, we are committed to tackling the toughest reconstructive cases, and providing excellent care on behalf of each patient. Contact any of our offices for a consultation.