Reasons for Getting Reconstructive Plastic Surgery

The main purpose of reconstructive surgery is to restore function and create as normal an appearance as possible in people who have abnormal body structures due to injuries, burns, illnesses and genetics. This type of corrective surgery is different from cosmetic surgery as cosmetic surgery is not meant to fix abnormalities. Reconstructive plastic surgery is meant for those who either have a developmental deformity or congenital deformity.

Developmental Deformities

A developmental deformity is a deformity acquired from an injury, burn or illness. In some cases, aging is a contributing factor in a developmental deformity. Even procedures that people think are for aesthetic purposes can also meet reconstructive goals, such as a balancing facelift for partial paralysis or eyelid surgery to lift drooping eyelid skin that obstructs a patient’s field of vision. Skin grafting is one commonly used reconstructive plastic surgery technique.

Skin Grafting

Skin grafting can improve the impaired body part’s function and appearance as well as minimize the amount of necessary treatment and healing time. During a grafting procedure, the surgeon transplants tissue, known as a skin graft, to treat:

  • Burns
  • Extensive wounds
  • Skin loss from infections

A surgeon will perform one of two kinds of skin grafts: a partial thickness or full thickness graft. Partial thickness skin grafts involve peeling a healthy layer of skin from the body to transplant it to the injured site while full thickness grafts require the surgeon to pitch and cut the healthy donor skin. Although full grafts carry a higher rejection rate, they heal more quickly and cause less pain than partial grafts.

Congenital Deformities

A congenital deformity is a medical issue that is acquired before or during birth, usually as a result of genetics. Some examples of a congenital deformity include atypical breast development, a cleft lip, webbed fingers or an extra toe.

In children, otoplasty, which is an outer-ear surgery, is a common reconstructive plastic surgery used to correct deformed or overly-large ears. A reduction mammaplasty is another common reconstructive surgery that gives smaller, proportioned breasts to women who have sagging, large breasts due to hormonal changes and genetics.