Trauma Facial Reconstructive Surgery

What is Facial Reconstructive Surgery?

Facial reconstructive surgery differs from cosmetic facial surgery in that reconstruction focuses on reshaping the normal structures of the face, neck, and head to improve appearance. This type of plastic surgery seeks to correct developmental abnormalities and those caused by birth defects, tumors, infection, injury, or disease. The primary purpose of facial reconstructive surgery is to restore a normal appearance. However, procedures often also improve function, self-esteem, and quality of life.

Who is a candidate for Facial Reconstructive Surgery after trauma?

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Facial reconstructive surgery may be warranted in several situations. Primarily, a person who has a facial deformity due to a birth defect or who has scarring, soft tissue injury, or deformity as a result of traumatic injury is a good candidate for reconstruction. Defects or injuries that occur to the eyes, soft tissue (including burns) cheeks, jaw, nose, and other facial structures can be improved with well-planned reconstruction.

What are the benefits of Facial Reconstructive Surgery after trauma?

Facial reconstructive surgery can improve symmetry as well as function after traumatic injury to the face or head. Patients can resume a more normal way of life by correcting the cosmetic consequences of birth defects or injury. The more normal way of life includes greater self-esteem, confidence, and success in social and professional settings.

When is surgery necessary?

After initial healing following traumatic facial injury, a surgeon anticipates future progress and the chances of scarring, asymmetry, deformity, and atrophy. Facial reconstruction is performed to minimize the consequences of injury while protecting nerve and sensory function. Surgeons trained in facial reconstruction attempt to preserve these functions and fundamental structure as much as possible.
Sometimes, facial reconstruction is performed within a few weeks after injury or disease such as cancer. Initial repair of soft tissue injuries and bone fractures is usually performed as soon as the patient’s condition is stabilized.

What is the facial reconstruction procedure?

Facial reconstruction is an intricate process that often extends beyond a single surgery. The degree of remodeling is determined by the severity of the injury or defect. Accurate diagnostics enable surgeons to formulate an outline for optimal reconstruction. Nearly all facial reconstruction performed after traumatic injury involves repairs to soft tissue. Soft tissue repair can be conducted with stitches. When scars are present, resurfacing techniques may also be performed. Using precision microsurgery techniques, surgeons can correct deficiency, misalignment of tissue, and asymmetry.

Many reconstructive procedures also repair facial bone fractures. Here, techniques are performed to improve the form and function of affected facial structures. Facial bone repair may involve plate-and-screw fixation to stabilize facial bones and restore a desirable shape.
During our consultation, we provide detailed information regarding proposed techniques so patients know what to expect and how they may be helped by facial reconstruction.

What is the recovery like?

Facial reconstructive surgery typically causes noticeable swelling and bruising during the initial recovery period. Depending on the extent of repair and the body’s natural healing process, these side effects may last from 10 days to several weeks. Comfort is maintained with prescription pain medication. In some cases, surgeons approve the use of cold compresses to minimize discomfort and swelling.
Sometimes, reconstruction takes place in stages. The intensity and duration of swelling and bruising after each procedure may vary based on extensiveness. We discuss anticipated side effects and recovery stages in an attempt to prepare the patient as best we can.

What are the risks and side effects of Facial Reconstructive Surgery?

Facial reconstructive surgery carries similar side effects to other types of surgery. The most common complications and side effects that are discussed include:

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Blood or fluid accumulation beneath the skin
  • Adverse reaction to anesthesia
  • Poor wound healing
  • Asymmetry

Patients may decrease their risks of side effects by avoiding tobacco and alcohol and consuming a nutrient-dense diet that fosters tissue healing.

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Our internationally recognized facial reconstruction experts can help you feel better about your appearance. Contact our office at 512-688-8000 to schedule a consultation. We serve patients in Austin, Dallas, San Antonio and surrounding areas in Texas.

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