Reconstructive plastic surgery can restore function to parts of your body damaged by cancer, disease or injury. These procedures can also be used to correct defects you were born with or changes from certain types of cancer treatment.
The benefits begin with patient counseling and go through surgery, recovery and long-term support.
Improved Self-Esteem and Confidence
Many people who undergo reconstructive plastic surgery experience improved self-esteem and confidence. Reconstructive experts like Dr. Joel Aronowitz explain how reconstructive and cosmetic surgeries can help. Procedures like rhinoplasty can change how someone looks and make them feel more confident in their appearance. Similarly, breast reduction can change the size of a person’s breasts and make them feel more comfortable in clothing, especially in social situations. When people feel more positive about their physical attributes, they are often happier and can better cope with life’s challenges.
Some patients need to see these benefits and are satisfied with their results. This is usually because of body dysmorphia, a mental condition that causes people to become obsessed with a flaw in their appearance. While plastic surgery can fix the physical aspect of a patient’s problem, it is important to address the emotional issue. However, most people who have cosmetic surgeries are generally satisfied with their results and are happier overall. This trickles down into other aspects of their lives.
Reconstructive plastic surgery corrects abnormal structures of the body that are congenital or caused by injury, illness or trauma. Its primary purpose is to restore function; in many cases, it aims to achieve a near-normal appearance.
In addition, some reconstructive procedures are life-saving. For example, medical insurance often covers cleft lip and palate repair, hand reconstruction after burns, or breast reconstruction after a mastectomy because they are considered medically necessary.
Plastic surgeons like Joel Aronowitz MD, also play an important role in reducing mortality and morbidity. They are involved in various complex surgical procedures, including reshaping and contouring the head, neck, breasts, arms and legs and treating traumatic injuries.
They perform most cranial and facial surgeries, including treatment for congenital disabilities such as craniosynostosis (a condition that causes skull bones to fuse prematurely). They also treat burn patients, using techniques like skin grafts and flap surgery, which transfers living tissue and blood supply.
Better Quality of Life
Reconstructive plastic surgery repairs damaged tissues and skin to create a more natural-looking appearance. It also restores functions that may have been lost because of an accident, injury, disease or congenital disability, like webbed fingers or cleft lip and palate.
For cancer patients, reconstructive procedures can help them feel and look more normal after treatments that change their bodies. They may have reconstructive surgery right after their medical oncologist removes tumors or as part of their overall treatment plan, or they can wait until the area heals.
Reconstructive surgeons use innovative techniques, such as taking tissue from another body part to repair a part removed due to cancer treatment. They are like elegant artisans in the operating room, using their skills to sculpt bone into new structures, reattach thread-like blood vessels and build scaffolding for cratered body areas. They often work with colleagues from other specialties to meet each patient’s needs.
Some people choose to have plastic surgery to enhance their appearance. This is called cosmetic surgery, and it’s different from reconstructive surgery.
Cosmetic surgery can help with issues like a droopy eyelid or a prominent chin. It can also improve symmetry and balance in your body. For example, rhinoplasty (nose reshaping surgery) can improve your nose’s size, shape and proportion.
Cosmetic surgeons can also use the same techniques for reconstructive procedures. For example, a skin flap can repair an area affected by cancer surgery or radiation therapy.
Reconstructive plastic surgery can make your body look more normal, which may boost self-esteem and confidence. It can also increase your quality of life by allowing you to function better and feel more confident in social situations and your career. It’s important to discuss the benefits of reconstructive surgery with your doctor before you have it.