When people hear the words "plastic surgery", they tend to think of cosmetic surgery. Not many people think about reconstructive surgery. Reconstructive surgery restores or improves physical form and function after birth defects, abuse, accidents and diseases. Reconstructive surgery is performed on people of all ages Reconstructive surgery is done to make someone look normal or to improve function. Tumors, skin cancer, birthmarks, cleft-lip, webbed fingers, extra fingers/toes, burn wounds and growths are all examples of why you might have reconstructive surgery done. Cosmetic surgery is used to enhance the body's appearance to improve the patient's self esteem and appearance. Many people think of cosmetic surgery as a quick fix to their problem. Some examples of cosmetic surgery are face lifts, nose jobs, breast enhancement, liposuction, and collagen injections.
In some cases, something you would think as cosmetic surgery would actually be a form of reconstructive surgery. A child with an ear that is larger than the other might have surgery done to make them equal in size. A child with a cleft lip might have surgery done to make the lip connect and look normal. An older person might have their eyes lifted to correct poor vision. A child with webbed fingers would have their fingers separated so they can have use of all five fingers. .
When I was younger, I remember my dad telling me a story about a little boy who was accidentally shot in the face by his brother. His face, lips and jaw were so inflamed and disfigured, you couldn't even tell who he was if you knew him. He couldn't eat because his jaw hung so low. He had harsh scarring and disfigurement in his face. He underwent several surgeries throughout his childhood, and now as an adult, has only minor scarring on his face.
In deciding how to treat a wound, a plastic surgeon has to carefully evaluate its size, severity, and features: Is skin missing? Have nerves or muscles been damaged? .