Wilmington Health plastic surgeons perform reconstructive and cosmetic surgery. With modern plastic and reconstructive surgical procedures, we can eliminate or minimize a wide range of physical abnormalities caused by accidents, disease, and congenital defects to help our patients enjoy full and normal lives.
Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Services
As time passes your skin begins to show the natural, inevitable signs of aging—wrinkles, sagging, sun damage, and other imperfections. But you can counteract those effects with several non-surgical cosmetic procedures available.
For those who wish to enhance their appearance, today’s cosmetic surgical procedures offer patients the opportunity to reshape physical features and improve their self-esteem.
Reconstructive surgery helps patients of all ages and types—whether it’s a child with a birth defect, a young adult injured in an accident, or an older adult with a problem caused by aging.
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Wilmington Health plastic surgeons perform reconstructive and cosmetic surgery.
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When you are talking about plastic surgery, it is a term that encompasses procedures that alter the look of the body or face. Many people think that the term plastic refers to something fake but that isn’t the case. The plastic, in plastic surgery, comes from the ancient Greek word – plastikos – that means to form or mold. Plastic surgery is divided into two subcategories, reconstructive and cosmetic surgery.
Reconstructive surgery refers to procedures that deal with disfigurement that has occurred because of an accident, a disease such as skin or breast cancer or a birth defect such as a cleft lip. (Read about “Skin Cancer” “Breast Cancer” “Birth Defects” “Cleft Lip & Cleft Palate“) Most of these procedures are covered by insurance. (Read about “Health Insurance Terms Glossary“)
Cosmetic surgery refers to procedures done that deal with non-medical conditions. Liposuction and facelifts are examples of cosmetic surgery. Many, if not most, cosmetic surgical procedures are not covered by insurance because they are considered elective. Sometimes eyelid surgery will be covered if the drooping eyelids are making sight difficult for the patient. Some surgery on the nose may also be covered if it is correcting breathing difficulties. You should contact and discuss the issues with your insurance carrier.
The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) estimates its members perform over one million reconstructive surgeries each year. The goal of reconstructive surgery is to improve function and appearance. It is performed when body structures are abnormal because of congenital or developmental issues, injuries or disease.
Some examples of congenital or developmental issues are:
- birthmarks (Read about “Vascular Birthmarks” “Moles/Nevi“)
- cleft-lip and/or palate (Read about “Cleft Lip & Cleft Palate“)
- abnormal ears
- syndactyly (webbed fingers)
- extra or absent fingers
- overly large breast development
Examples of conditions that may occur because of infections or other diseases, accidents and fires and even aging are:
- burns (Read about “Burn Prevention“)
- wounds caused by accidents (Read about “Wound Care“)
- tumors and other growths (Read about “Cancer: What It Is” “Noncancerous Skin Growths“)
- cancers such as skin or breast whose treatment involves removal of tissue that changes the appearance of the body (Read about “Skin Cancer” “Breast Cancer“)
- conditions such as a stroke that has left portions of the face paralyzed (Read about “Stroke“)
- sagging skin from aging or massive weight loss (Read about “Skin“)
The methods used to fix these issues vary depending on the exact problem, including the type of injury or deformity, the age and health of the patient and the desired outcome. Reconstructive surgery may require more than one procedure to reach the desired outcome. Planning is therefore a major part of any reconstructive procedure.
Some of the methods used in reconstructive surgery include:
- Flap surgery – Flap surgery involves taking tissue and moving it from one part of the body to another. The flap contains its own blood vessels and nerves that then grow more connections. ASPS says there are different types of flaps:
- a local flap is located next to the area being repaired
- a regional flap stays attached to a blood vessel but can be moved farther
- a musculocutaneous flap includes both skin and muscle. It is often used for breast reconstruction surgery.
- bone/soft tissue flap takes skin, underlying tissue and even bone and moves it to the wound
- Hand surgery – Hand surgery can repair problems as varied as syndactyly (webbed fingers), extra digits, carpal tunnel syndrome and trigger finger. (Read about “Carpal Tunnel Syndrome” “Tendinitis & Bursitis“)
- Laser surgery – Laser surgery has dramatically changed plastic surgery over the last decade or so, according to ASPS. Lasers are very effective in treating conditions such as warts, birthmarks, age spots, spider and varicose veins, rosacea, skin growths and tattoos. (Read about “Warts” “Vascular Birthmarks” “Varicose Veins” “Rosacea & Rhinophyma” “Noncancerous Skin Growths“)
- Microsurgery – Microsurgery comes into play during other procedures such as some hand surgery and some flap surgeries. When the reattachment of a thumb or fingers is required or a flap is taken from a distant point on the body, the surgeon must reattach blood vessels and nerves using microsurgery techniques.
- Reduction mammaplasty – This is breast reduction surgery.
- Skin Grafts – Skin grafts are often used for burns and wounds that can’t be pulled back together. Skin is taken from another part of the body and placed where skin is either missing or severely damaged. ASPS says there are three basic types of skin grafts.
- a split-thickness graft uses the layers of skin near the surface. It is often used for burns.
- a full-thickness graft involves taking all the layers of skin and moving them to a new location.
- a composite graft involves more than just the skin, taking underlying tissue as well
- Tissue Expansion – Tissue expansion involves inserting and then expanding a balloon like device under the skin next to a wounded area. The skin expands and grows. It is then stretched over the wound when the device is removed. This can be done more than once.
Cosmetic surgery involves reshaping and changing parts of the body that a patient is dissatisfied with. People undergo cosmetic surgery to make themselves look and feel better. It is often not covered by insurance. Some of the types of cosmetic surgery include:
- Breast Augmentation – Breast augmentation (breast implants) involves inserting some type of implant under the breast tissue, sometimes behind the chest wall muscle. Both the Food and Drug Administration and ASPS warn that implants may need to be replaced.
- Breast Lift – Breast lifts, which are also called mastopexy, involves the removal of excess skin and the reshaping of other tissue to help hold the new shape. The size of the areola may also be reduced.
- Brow Lift – A brow lift can help minimize frown lines and creases in your forehead and between the eyebrows. It can also lift the eyebrows.
- Eyelid Surgery – Eyelid surgery is designed to improve the appearance of both the upper and the lower eyelids. It is also called blepharoplasty. It can remove fatty deposits along the upper eyelids that make them look puffy and the bags under the lower eyelids.
- Facelift – A facelift pulls the skin back to literally lift the face and remove many signs of aging. It is also called rhytidectomy. It can smooth out the skin on both the face and the neck.
- Facial Implants – Facial implants can be used to smooth out imperfections around the cheek, chin, jaw or nose.
- Injectable Fillers – Fillers can also smooth out imperfections. They can also help plump out lips, smooth out wrinkles and fill-in some scars.
- Liposuction – Liposuction is used to remove localized fatty deposits. As the name suggests, a suction technique is used to remove the excess fat. ASPS says the following areas are possible candidates for liposuction.
- abdomen and waist
- calves and ankles
- cheeks, chin and neck
- chest area
- hips and buttocks
- inner knee
- upper arms
- Male breast reduction (gynecomastia) – Excess fat and glandular tissue can leave males with enlarged breast area. Various techniques can be used to remove the fat, tissue and skin to give the area a more normal appearance.
- Nose Surgery – Many people are dissatisfied with the way their nose looks or a person’s nose can be damaged in an accident. Rhinoplasty can change the shape and size of the nostrils, profile of the nose, the size, the symmetry, the tip of the nose, and the width of the nose.
- Skin Resurfacing – Skin resurfacing can improve the appearance and even remove things like acne (Read about “Acne“) and other scars, uneven skin color, age spots and other sun damage. Various techniques, including lasers, chemical peels and dermabrasions, can be used.
- Spider Veins – Many people develop blood vessels that are close to the surface of the skin. Removing these so-called spider veins is called sclerotherapy. A solution can be injected into the veins to cause them to fade; a laser can also be used.
- Tummy Tuck – A tummy tuck will remove both fat and skin to give you a smother stomach. The procedure is also called an abdominoplasty.
As with any type of surgery, there are potential complications. Some surgeries are done on an out patient basis with local anesthesia. (Read about “Anesthesia“) Other procedures may involve general anesthetic and you may need to remain in the hospital. (Read about “At the Hospital: For Patients“)
Your choice of a doctor can have a great deal to do with the success of your procedure. Do not be afraid to ask about your surgeons experience and don’t be afraid to ask to see before and after photographs of previous patients.
All Concept Communications material is provided for information only and is neither advice nor a substitute for proper medical care. Consult a qualified healthcare professional who understands your particular history for individual concerns.
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