Plastic Surgery vs Cosmetic Surgery

Many people use the terms plastic surgery and cosmetic surgery interchangeably. However, there is a difference in the official definitions.

Developments in Reconstructive Surgery

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Cosmetic surgery is related to an elective surgery that helps make a specific characteristic, although functional, look more aesthetically appealing. Plastic surgery refers to an area that requires reconstruction of facial and body defects due to issues like birth disorders, trauma, burns, and disease.

Reconstructive surgery is all about restoring function. It is used to treat a wide range of conditions, which usually fall into a couple different categories:

Congenital
Congenital conditions are those that are present at birth. Congenital conditions that are treated with reconstructive surgery include:

  • Cleft lip and palate
  • Vascular anomalies
  • Prominent ears, constricted ears and microtia
  • Hypospadias
  • Craniofacial conditions

Acquired
Acquired conditions are those that develop or occur after birth. They can involve disease and infection, or they can involve accident and injury. Acquired conditions that are treated with reconstructive surgery include:

  • Cancer
  • Trauma
  • Infections
  • Burns
  • Hand surgery for issues such as nerve compression, paralysis, arthritis

Reconstructive Surgery

Debilitating conditions such as scoliosis, or sideways curvature of the spine, can be painful and disabling. It is a fairly common issue and tends to be hereditary, although can be caused by neuromuscular conditions such as muscular dystrophy or cerebral palsy.

Depending on the level of severity, surgery can correct the problem. There are new techniques in which reconstructing the spine to correct the curve are used, such as in the following video animation:

This fascinating new technology in healthcare is helping people live a more normal life. The range of motion might be somewhat limited, but the level of pain would be much improved.

Reconstructive Flap Surgery

Flap transplantation has been an important procedure in plastic and reconstructive surgery to cover and fill a variety of defects. Sometimes referred to as autologous reconstruction, it involves using skin, fat, and sometimes muscle from another place on your body to re-shape an affected body part,

It is most commonly used in breast reconstruction following a mastectomy. This post discusses what to expect:

Chances are your new breasts won’t look exactly like your natural ones did. However, the contour of your new breasts can usually be restored so that your silhouette looks similar to your silhouette before surgery.

Breast reconstruction with flap surgery is the most complex breast reconstructive option. Your surgeon transfers a section of skin, muscle, fat and blood vessels from one part of your body to your chest to create a new breast mound. In some cases, the skin and tissue need to be augmented with a breast implant to achieve the desired breast size.

Breast Reconstruction with Flap Surgery

Surgical Tools

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Advancement flap surgery is used for repairing areas of trauma or where skin cancer was removed and are typically used in forehead, scalp, eyelid, and upper lip areas. The surrounding skin is moved forward perpendicular to its leading edge and sutured into the defect. By retaining its own blood supply, it tends to have a higher chance of success.

Developments in reconstructive surgery are helping people get their lives back following a traumatic event. It is usually covered by most health insurance policies, although coverage for specific procedures and levels of coverage may vary.

Research San Jose plastic surgeons to find a good match for your needs. The initial consultation will give you a chance to address concerns and ask questions.