When many people hear the words “plastic surgery” they immediately think of breast augmentations, liposuction, and age-defying Botox injections. Of course, there are many other procedures in the realm of plastic surgery than the purely cosmetic. In many cases, plastic surgery is performed for reconstructive or reparative purposes, rather than cosmetic or aesthetic reasons. Following physical trauma that leaves lasting damage, certain cosmetic surgery can restore not just the physical appearance of damaged tissue, but also physical function.
Why Might Someone Need or Want Reconstructive Surgery?
Following an accident or other injury that results in physical trauma, once a patient’s overall health has become stable again, thoughts begin to turn to repairing the damage, particularly in the case of severe or disfiguring facial trauma. Studies have shown that patients with uncorrected facial trauma have a higher incidence rate of body-image issues, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Types of Reconstructive Surgery
This type of surgery takes many forms, and the number of techniques and procedures is growing every day. Facial reconstruction in particular is a rapidly growing field, and now includes techniques that would have been impossible even just a decade ago.
Facial reconstructive procedures can include:
- Scar Removal or Revision
- Skin Cancer Removal
- Mole Removal
- Facial Fillers
- Revision Rhinoplasty
- Custom Reconstructive Implants
- Burn and skin graft revision
- Other Skin Resurfacing
Reconstruction of the Skin
Skin treatments typically take the form of chemical peels or laser treatment to lessen the raised appearance of scars, or to eliminate excessively darkened or lightened pigmentation following a burn or skin graft. These same procedures can also be used to reverse the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles that comes as a result of passing time.
Laser treatments, particularly C02 laser treatment, can also be used to “sand away” a raised or hypertrophic scar in order to bring it in line with the rest of the skin on the face, thereby making it far less noticeable and obtrusive. The same can also be done with dermabrasion, and often the two techniques are used in conjunction with chemical peels and other deeper reconstructive options to achieve the very best result.
Skin Treatments Beneath the Skin
For deeper damage that causes the skin to be raised or lowered, particularly following trauma such as a burn, there are more intensive options that can aid in scar removal. This typically takes the form of collagen or other fillers, but it can also include tissue expanders that help to bring the skin together to promote smoother, more aesthetic healing. This procedure is a bit more involved than other simple skin treatments, but it can also be used in combination with Z-plasty to help bring severe scars more in line with the natural lines of the face in order to more effectively blend them into the surrounding skin
What Reconstructive Surgery Can’t Do
Despite the advances in modern cosmetic surgery, there are some things it just can’t do. For one, deep burns are particularly problematic to reconstruct, as there is often very little tissue left to work with. There is likely to always be some measure of visible damage following a severe burn. However, even the most severe scarring can be lessened with the proper techniques. By combining several different types of reconstructive procedures to achieve a customized solution, severe scarring can be improved and the physical and emotional after-effects of trauma can be lessened.
Why Choosing the Right Surgeon Matters
The most important part of any surgery is choosing the right surgeon. The very best reconstructive surgeons are the ones that specialize in particular areas of care, so be sure to find one that is specifically focused and well versed in facial reconstruction, before choosing to undergo such delicate procedures. Facial scarring can easily be made much worse with improper or poorly performed scar removal procedures, making it especially important that you choose a reliable physician with an excellent track record.
Dr. William J. Binder is one of the world’s leading facial reconstructive experts, and has a long history of innovation and creative application of advanced reconstructive procedures. He is based out of Los Angeles, but due to his expertise and experience, patients from around the country and even the world come to receive treatment from him. Dr. Binder is extensively published and is board certified by both the American Board of Otolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery and the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. If you have questions about facial reconstruction and want a consultation with the very best, contact Dr. Binder’s office today.