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Understanding Facial Reconstructive Surgery

Facial reconstructive surgery is developing rapidly to treat a variety of cases.

For example,  face transplants have been performed successfully in the U.S. and around the world in recent years. Through partially new or donated faces, people with severely deformed faces, some people are given a second chance at life.

However, these surgeries are highly complicated, they will likely never be commonplace.  The first near-total face transplant in the U.S. was performed at the Cleveland Clinic in 2008 on Connie Culp who was injured when her husband shot her in 2004. Although the surgery is risky, there are also many ethical qualms that need to be sorted out before complete transplants become common. Nonetheless, the field anticipates further success in the future.

If not complete facial transplants, there are many patients who utilize facial reconstructive surgery to repair damage to their face, jaw, and mouth. For example, infants and grown adults with cleft palates seek reconstructive surgery to close their upper lip. Further, cancer patients seek facial reconstructive surgery to repair the affects of skin cancer procedures.

Facial reconstruction after skin cancer excision is huge component of the treatment process. Your face is how you present yourself to people. So to feel 100% again, you want to feel comfortable with your outward appearance.

Although there is more than one type of skin cancer, many affect the face, and will need to be removed surgically. The skin then requires surgical attention.

The extent of surgery varies widely depending on the location and complexity of the defect.

Reconstructive procedures vary widely. They may involve reconstruction of soft tissue injuries from motor vehicle accidents, or reconstruction following removal of skin cancers.  Procedures are typically performed on an outpatient basis. They can be done under either general anesthesia or local anesthesia with sedation. Thankfully, most insurance companies recognize the procedures as medically necessary.

However, every treatment is specific depending on the patient’s case. Methods of treating skin cancers may radiation therapy and topical agents. Because the operation itself depends on the extent of injury, the patient’s personal preferences, and expectations and goals, you’ll need to discuss with your physician and your surgeon who can provide specifics on the surgery itself.

Call Dr. Mark Reichman for a consultation on your individualized procedure.

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