Reconstructive plastic surgery is performed to correct facial and body abnormalities caused by birth defects, trauma, disease, or aging.
Usually, the goal of reconstructive plastic surgery is to improve body function. However, reconstructive plastic surgery may also be performed to create a more normal appearance and improve self-esteem (this may also be called cosmetic surgery). Abnormal structures of the body may result from the following:
Congenital (present at birth) anomalies
Generally, two types of patients have reconstructive plastic surgery, including the following:
Persons with congenital anomalies (including cleft lip, craniofacial anomalies, or hand deformities)
Persons with developmental deformities (including those due to an accident, infection, disease, or aging)
Any type of surgery carries some risk. Patients differ in their anatomy and their ability to heal. Some complications associated with reconstructive plastic surgery may include, but are not limited to, the following:
Difficulty in wound healing
Risk of complications may increase if a patient:
Has connective-tissue damage
Has skin damage from radiation therapy
Has decreased circulation at the surgery site
Has an impaired immune system
Has poor nutritional habits
The specific type of surgery will be determined by your doctor based on:
Your age, overall health, and medical history
Severity of the deformity
Your tolerance of specific medications, procedures, or therapies
Location of the deformity
Your opinion or preference
Reconstructive plastic surgery may require multiple procedures done in several stages.
There are a number of areas in plastic surgery that may be either or both reconstructive or cosmetic, depending on a patient's situation. For example, eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty) may be a procedure performed for cosmetic improvement, as well as to correct eyelids that are drooping severely and obscuring vision.