Reconstructive Plastic Surgery: The Basics

by Monica Prata

Reconstructive Plastic Surgery: The Basics

There’s a common misnomer that plastic surgery is synonymous with cosmetic surgery. In truth, a large portion of plastic surgery procedures fall under the category of reconstructive plastic surgery, in which doctors work to repair body and facial features that have been affected by birth defects, traumatic injury, or disease. More than one million reconstructive surgeries are performed per year, and unlike elective cosmetic surgeries, most insurance carriers cover reconstructive surgery. Some of the most common areas of non-cosmetic surgeries are breast reconstruction or reduction, surgeries on hands and feet, wound care, microsurgery and facial surgeries.

Breast reconstruction is primarily available for woman or men who have undergone a mastectomy because of cancer or severe infection. Breast reduction benefits women whose breasts are disproportionately large for their body size and are causing back problems, shoulder pain, circulation problems, difficulty breathing or even self-esteem issues.

Reconstructive and non-cosmetic surgeries are often performed on hands and feet. Extremities are commonly affected by growths or birth defects and can be the cause of immense distress and discomfort. Feet affect balance and problems within one’s hands can cause great impedance in almost all professions. Surgeries on hands and feet correct a number of problems, including tumors (cancerous and non-cancerous), webbed fingers or toes, extra fingers or toes and carpal tunnel syndrome.

Wound care is essential for individuals who has suffered traumatic injuries and have been severely burned or cut. Surgeries of this nature often include skin grafting, a technique used to replace the skin that was lost or irreparably damaged. Microsurgery, a technique in which a surgeon uses a microscope for surgical assistance to sew tiny blood vessels or nerves together, allow him or her to repair damaged nerves or arteries. Microsurgery makes it possible to restore sensation in areas that were severely damaged or dismembered and is frequently used with other non-cosmetic medical procedures.

Facial reconstructive surgery allows patients who are affected by facial deformities to feel healthier and more confident. These surgeries are often needed because of birth defects, infectious disease, or other accidents. Facial reconstructive surgery differs from cosmetic surgery because it alters the appearance of abnormal facial structures as opposed to enhancing already “normal” appearances.

As medical science continues and new technologies are discovered, non-cosmetic, reconstructive surgeries will enhance the lives of even more children and adults suffering with disfiguring and often debilitating problems.

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