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What is a Reconstructive Plastic Surgery?

December 6, 2016

Reconstructive plastic surgery is actually the oldest form of plastic surgery, having developed from the need to treat soldiers with traumatic injuries in World War I.

Reconstructive plastic surgeons go a step beyond making someone look good; they restore form, function and health to bodies, and usually have a large impact on a patient’s quality of life and self-esteem.

Following surgery to remove cancer, reconstructive plastic surgeons rebuild the body structures that have been damaged or removed due to the disease. This might include soft tissue, bone, vascular systems and even nerves.

If a wound left after cancer removal can’t simply be stitched closed, plastic surgeons can use a local flap, or nearby tissue that can be moved to cover the wound. If that’s not possible due to lack of tissue in the area, a flap from another part of the body can be used. Surgeons use microscopes in the operating room to carefully connect fragile blood vessels and graft delicate nerves. Things get even more complicated when bone must be taken from other areas of the body, such as a rib or leg bone, and carved into a new shape, such as a jawbone, and connected with titanium plates and screws to restore a face’s framework.