Plastic surgery is derived from the Greek word plastikos, meaning to mold, mend, or restore. Reconstructive surgery repairs the function and appearance of a specific body-part or feature defect. There are three main reasons why reconstructive plastic surgery may be appropriate:
It’s estimated that more that one million reconstructive procedures are performed by plastic surgeons every year. Reconstructive surgery helps patients of all ages and types - whether it’s a child with a birth defect, a young adult injured in an accident, or an older adult with a problem caused by aging.
The goals of reconstructive surgery differ from those of cosmetic surgery. Reconstructive surgery is performed on abnormal structures of the body, caused by birth defects, developmental abnormalities, trauma or injury, infection, tumors, or disease. It is generally performed to improve function, but may also be done to approximate a normal appearance. Cosmetic surgery is performed to reshape normal structures of the body to improve the patient’s appearance and self-esteem.
Although no amount of surgery can achieve "perfection," modern treatment options allow plastic surgeons to achieve improvements in form and function thought to be impossible 10 years ago.
This will give you a basic understanding of some commonly-used techniques in reconstructive surgery. It won’t answer all of your questions, since each problem is unique and a great deal depends on your individual circumstances. Please be sure to ask your doctor to explain anything you don’t understand. Also, ask for information that specifically details the procedure you are considering for yourself or your child.
“I practice at Edgewood Surgical Hospital because I know my patients will get the best possible care available. I am constantly complimented by patients who were pleased with how they were treated by the staff before and after their surgery.”
– Bruce E. Abbott, D.P.M.
Who has Reconstructive Surgery?
There are two basic categories of patients: those who have congenital deformities, otherwise known as birth defects, and those with developmental deformities, acquired as a result of accident, infection, disease, or in some cases, aging.
Some common examples of congenital abnormalities are birthmarks; cleft-lip and palate deformities; hand deformities such as syndactyly (webbed fingers), or extra or absent fingers; and abnormal breast development.
Burn wounds, lacerations, growths, and aging problems are considered acquired deformities. In some cases, patients may find that a procedure commonly thought to be aesthetic in nature may be performed to achieve a reconstructive goal. For example, some older adults with redundant or drooping eyelid skin blocking their field of vision might have eyelid surgery. Or an adult whose face has an asymmetrical look because of paralysis might have a balancing facelift. Although appearance is enhanced, the main goal of the surgery is to restore function.
Large, sagging breasts are one example of a deformity that develops as a result of genetics, hormonal changes, or disease. Breast reduction, or reduction mammaplasty, is the reconstructive procedure designed to give a woman smaller, more comfortable breasts in proportion with the rest of her body.
In another case, a young child might have reconstructive otoplasty (outer-ear surgery) to correct overly-large or deformed ears. Usually, health insurance policies will consider the cost of reconstructive surgery a covered expense. Check with your carrier to make sure you’re covered and to see if there are any limitations on the type of surgery you’re planning. Work with your doctor to get pre-authorization from the insurer for the procedure.
Planning Your Surgery
In evaluating your condition, a plastic surgeon will be guided by a set of rules known as the reconstructive ladder. The least-complex types of treatments-such as simple wound closure-are at the lower part of the ladder. Any highly complex procedure-like micro-surgery to reattach severed limbs-would occupy one of the ladder’s highest rungs. A plastic surgeon will almost always begin at the bottom of the reconstructive ladder in deciding how to approach a patient’s treatment, favoring the most direct, least-complex way of achieving the desired result.
The size, nature and extent of the injury or deformity will determine what treatment option is chosen and how quickly the surgery will be performed. Reconstructive surgery frequently demands complex planning and may require a number of procedures done in stages.
Because it’s not always possible to predict how growth will affect outcome, a growing child may have to plan for regular follow-up visits on a long-term basis to allow additional surgery as the child matures.
Everyone heals at a different rate-and plastic surgeons cannot pinpoint an exact "back-to-normal" date following surgery. They can, however, give you a general idea of when you can expect to notice improvement.
The objective of cosmetic surgery, also known as aesthetic surgery, is to reshape facial and bodily features and to improve your natural beauty. These procedures are chosen by women and men who wish to change or refine their appearance or reduce the effects of aging. Such improvements tend to make people feel better about themselves because they feel better about how they look.
The objective of reconstructive surgery is to restore or improve function to abnormal structures of the body. These are most often caused by birth defects, injury or disease.
We perform many forms of cosmetic and reconstructive surgery. Some of the procedures we perform are listed below.
Patients who undergo plastic surgery can look forward to gaining self confidence and a sense of well-being from looking, feeling and functioning at their best. For those who wish to enhance their appearance, today’s cosmetic surgical procedures offer patients the opportunity to reshape physical features and improve their self-esteem.
Modern reconstructive surgical procedures can eliminate or minimize a wide range of physical abnormalities caused by accidents, disease and congenital defects, enabling patients to enjoy full and normal lives. The main focus of our practice is the complete satisfaction of cosmetic surgical services to all our patients. Every effort is made to ensure that our patients are comfortable with their decision for cosmetic surgery and are pleased with the results.
At Edgewood Surgical Hospital, we are once again on the forefront of providing innovative and exceptional services to our community.
Our Board Certified Plastic Surgeon is passionate about serving you as they understand the many benefits of cosmetic surgery – both physically and emotionally. Not only do the many services we offer make it possible to look and feel younger, thinner, and more beautiful; but they also make it possible to have increased confidence and self-esteem.
Whether you are looking to enhance your features through cosmetic procedures or you need to address specific concerns with reconstructive plastic surgery, our goal is to provide exceptional, personalized care in a friendly, comfortable setting.
We are available at 724-646-0400 to answer any questions you might have. Please give us a call.