Facial reconstruction can encompass any corrective surgeries that alleviate deformities or eliminate abnormalities all together. With ailments ranging from cleft palate to skin defects, this broad term can be used to describe any corrective procedure that brings the face to a “normal” state. Although most people take the natural state of their face for granted, there are a few thousand cases a year in which facial reconstruction is a warranted step to take with a patient.
There are many different reasons for facial reconstruction. Things like cleft lip, cleft palate, or other birth defects are usually the fodder for facial surgery discussions. But more recently, and more common in predominantly sunny areas like California and Florida, Mohs surgery (also known as Chemosurgery) has become synonymous with facial reconstruction, as well. Post-Mohs facial reconstruction is for patients who have had sun exposure throughout their lives, resulting in skin cancer, in which the affected area and the surrounding skin is removed via Mohs surgery. After this procedure, the patient can end up with a large hole in the face. Whether it be on the nose, in the ear, or on the eyelid, it is then up to a plastic surgeon specialist to repair this deformity.
In this world of medical specialization, it is important to find a plastic surgeon with extensive facial surgery experience to perform such corrections. Scar tissue is a constant concern. It is up to the surgeon to recognize the area of correction and plan their incisions accordingly, to minimize facial scarring. There are doctors who would like to do the procedure in stages, in which parts of the surgery are done at different times, to reduce of the amount of discomfort, down time, and unsightly scars for the patient.
There are also additional areas of thought during facial reconstruction that a surgeon should pay special attention to, like aesthetics and functionality. If a Mohs patient is having tissue removed from the nose and the nasal cavity collapses, which can happen if too much is taken, then it is up to the surgeon to reconstruct a portion of the face that is both functional and aesthetic. This is also acceded in the facial surgeries to correct cleft palates and cleft lips. In these cases, the revisions are dual purposed and patients should be prepared to have special directions tailored to their specific surgery, before and after the operation.
The great thing about the face is that it has a readily available supply of blood that aids in the time of recovery. Technologies and specializations allow a surgeon to have a plethora of tools at their disposal to help the patient get back to their normal life quicker. But, generally speaking, recovery depends on the type of procedure, the patient, and the technique used in surgery. It can vary from person to person, surgery to surgery. And just like any other major surgery, there are inherent risks like bleeding, infection, and pain or discomfort.
The most important thing to remember is to do your research to find the kind of doctor who has dedicated their career to these procedures. Be vigilant and ask questions. That way, as a patient, you get the best possible results and your doctor can temper your expectations, if need be.
Written by Cosmetic Town Editorial Team through exclusive interview provided by Dr. Jacob Steiger of Stegier Facial Plastic Surgery in Boca Raton, FL.