Have you recently suffered from an injury, unexpected medical complication, or complex diagnosis that has compromised your health, appearance, or self-esteem? Advanced surgery may be necessary to optimally address and solve the issue so you can get back to living an enjoyable life.

For many, reconstructive surgery or plastic surgery is the best option for restoring full functionality and aesthetics, but how do you choose which is right for you? And what is the difference between the two?

We are here to help you distinguish the difference between reconstructive surgery and plastic surgery so you can better understand which is best for you and your specific reconstructive goals.

What is Plastic Surgery?

When you think of plastic surgery, what comes to mind? For many, it is procedures like breast implants, nose jobs, and facelifts that enhance an individual’s appearance through “artificial” work. However, this could not be further from what defines plastic surgery.

While this broad surgical specialty includes the word “plastic,” this does not mean it exclusively involves the use of fake or artificial materials, such as implants. In fact, plastic surgery comes from the Greek word plastikos, which simply means to form or mold. This appropriately illustrates plastic surgery, as it involves repairing or reconstructing missing, damaged, or compromised facial and body tissue to restore and improve function, as well as appearance.

Though plastic surgery procedures like breast augmentation and liposuction get all the press, plastic surgeons are experts in treating and correcting a wide range of pathologies, from birth defects, like cleft palates and cleft lips, to post-cancer breast reconstruction and work-related hand injuries.

Plastic surgery can involve surgery on any part of the anatomy, except the central nervous system, including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Skin (such as skin cancer, scars, burns, birthmarks, and tattoo removal)
  • Maxillofacial (the facial skeleton)
  • Congenital anomalies (such as deformed ears, cleft palate, and cleft lip)

Furthermore, it is important to understand that plastic surgery is an umbrella term that includes both cosmetic (aesthetic) surgery and reconstructive surgery. Cosmetic surgery, sometimes referred to as aesthetic surgery, is used to alter a part of the body an individual would like to improve or enhance, while reconstructive surgery aims to correct abnormal structures on the body due to instances like trauma or disease.

What is Reconstructive Surgery?

As mentioned above, reconstructive surgery is a type of plastic surgery, which is why it is sometimes referred to as reconstructive plastic surgery. The overall role of reconstructive surgery is to correct, restore, and improve the appearance of abnormal structures that may be the result of disease, injury, cancer, infection, developmental abnormalities, congenital anomalies, or trauma.

While the main goal of reconstructive surgery is to restore form and function to an area of the body, it may also be used to improve or change appearance to elevate a patient’s self-esteem.

Our board-certified plastic and reconstructive surgeons at Thrive Reconstructive Surgery offer several different types of reconstructive surgeries in a safe and comfortable manner, including breast reconstruction, hand and foot surgery, skin cancer reconstruction, rectal reconstruction, treatment for facial trauma, burn reconstruction, and scar revision.

Some common examples of reconstructive surgery procedures include:

  • Creating new breasts for women who have had a mastectomy to ensure they maintain their natural figure and sense of femininity.
  • Repairing the hands and returning fingers to a full range of motion following a traumatic accident or injury.
  • Skin grafting or rearranging local tissue to restore full facial aesthetics or full extremity function after skin cancer removal.
  • Reconstructing a major perineal wound following abdominoperineal resection, or APR, with a Vertical Rectus Abdominis Musculocutaneous (VRAM) flap.
  • Using surgery to improve the appearance of a burn, as well as restore form and function to the affected area.
  • Reconstructing and restoring the face to its natural appearance after facial trauma.
  • Reducing the appearance of a scar by surgically removing scar tissue, leaving behind a thinner and much less visible layer of scarring.
  • Removing a pilonidal cyst to alleviate discomfort and restore optimal form and function to the gluteal cleft (upper region of the buttocks).

With our extensive list of comprehensive reconstructive surgeries, our experienced reconstructive surgeons can help restore your appearance for improved self-esteem, while also ensuring you have full functionality and control.

You’re In Good Hands with Thrive Reconstructive Surgery

As mentioned above, reconstructive surgery falls under the plastic surgery umbrella, so it is not a question of which do you choose, but who do you choose to perform your reconstructive surgery?

At Thrive Reconstructive Surgery, our plastic and reconstructive surgeons are highly-experienced in performing complex reconstructions to restore both functionality and aesthetics. No matter how rare, convoluted, or difficult your pathology may be, we are first and foremost problem-solvers that deliver the highest standard of care, versatility, and responsiveness to get the results you desire.

We are the team that patients and referring providers trust when nobody else has a solution. We are proud to share our experience and knowledge in reconstructive surgery with patients throughout the nation. If you are interested in learning more, we welcome you to contact us.