Aging, disease, birth defects, and injuries can alter the appearance and function of the various parts of the body. Unfortunately, this can negatively affect a person’s self-esteem and quality of life. The good news is that some of the imperfections caused by these issues can be corrected through reconstructive plastic surgery.
But what is reconstructive plastic surgery, and what does it entail?
Here is everything you need to know about reconstructive plastic surgery.
What Is Reconstructive Plastic Surgery, and Why Is It Done?
Reconstructive plastic surgery can be understood as a collection of cosmetic procedures performed to correct birth defects and deformities caused by developmental abnormalities, injuries, illness, or aging. Examples of some common reconstructive plastic surgical procedures include:
- Breast implant removal
- Breast reduction
- Cleft lip and cleft palate repair
- Gender affirmation surgery
- Scar revision
- Giant nevi removal
- Breast reconstruction
- Reconstruction after skin cancer removal
- Orthognathic surgery
- Hand surgery to improve flexibility and strength
- Craniosynostosis surgery
In addition to correcting anomalies in the various parts of the body to improve appearance and function, reconstructive surgical procedures can help patients to start feeling better about themselves and be able to face life with renewed confidence.
The Ideal Candidate for Reconstructive Plastic Surgery
In addition to having an anomaly that needs to be corrected through a reconstructive surgical procedure, the ideal candidate for these procedures should:
- Be in good physical health, free of illnesses that could negatively affect the healing process
- Be a non-smoker or willing to quit smoking since smoking might lead to poor healing
- Understand what procedure entails and the risks it is associated with
- Be willing to follow their surgeon’s instructions before, during, and after the surgical procedure
During the initial appointment with the surgeon, your surgeon will perform some tests, check your medical records, and ask some questions to determine if a given reconstructive surgical procedure is safe for you.
Reconstructive Plastic Surgery Risks
Like other surgical procedures, reconstructive plastic surgical procedures are not without risks. Some of the risks associated with reconstructive surgery include:
- Excessive Bleeding
- Blood clots
- Poor healing
- Unfavorable scarring
- Unfavorable aesthetic results
- Surgical site infections
- Bruising and swelling
- Anesthesia risks
- Persistent pain
- Loss of sensation
Your surgeon will explain the risks to help you understand what can go wrong before signing the consent to have reconstructive plastic surgery. If you have any questions or doubts, a board-certified surgeon should be happy to listen to you, understand your concerns, and respond accordingly.
Benefits of Reconstructive Plastic Surgery
Although plastic reconstructive surgery is associated with several risks, it also has a lot of benefits. Some of the gains you can expect by seeking plastic reconstructive surgery include:
- Improved aesthetic appearance and self-esteem
- Improved quality of life
- Improved safety. For example, blepharoplasty can help you to see better and consequently avoid accidents.
- Improved independence, especially in cases where reconstructive surgery is meant to correct defects that make it harder for patients to move or perform other basic tasks
- Improved function. For example, orthognathic surgery, also known as jaw surgery, will enable a patient to eat solid food.
FAQs About Plastic Reconstructive Surgery
Who Performs Reconstructive Plastic Surgery?
In most cases, reconstructive plastic surgery is performed by board-certified plastic surgeons. However, depending on the deformity that needs to be corrected, reconstructive surgical procedures can also be performed by other medical specialists, such as dermatologists and otolaryngologists.
What Is the Difference Between Cosmetic Surgery and Reconstructive Plastic Surgery?
Cosmetic surgical procedures are performed to reshape normal features of the body to give them a better appearance and improve a patient’s self-esteem. On the other hand, reconstructive plastic surgery is performed to correct body features deformed by injuries, disease, or birth defects. Although reconstructive plastic surgery can also improve the appearance of a patient, it is primarily done for functional purposes as opposed to aesthetic purposes.
Does Reconstructive Plastic Surgery Require Hospitalization?
In most cases, patients do not need an overnight hospital stay after reconstructive plastic surgery. Therefore, after undergoing the procedure, there is a good chance that you will be allowed to go home the same day. However, in some cases, a patient may need hospitalization, especially if there are complications. But even in the cases where hospitalization is needed, it is often brief, and it is unlikely to last longer than a couple of days.
Is Reconstructive Plastic Surgery Safe?
All surgical procedures, including reconstructive plastic surgery, involve risks. Indeed, several things could go wrong during and after a procedure. However, these procedures are generally safe when performed by qualified, board-certified surgeons. Before the procedure, your doctors will assess your medical history and perform some tests to determine if you are healthy enough to undergo the plastic surgical procedure you are seeking. After the procedure, you will need to follow the instructions your surgeon will give you to minimize the risk of complications.