Reconstructive plastic surgery improves form and function

Reconstructive surgery is plastic surgery to help restore form or function to some part of the body due to injury, infection, disease or tumor. Reconstructive plastic surgery is also used to correct congenital abnormalities (birth defects) and developmental abnormalities. Unlike cosmetic surgery, in which a procedure is not considered "necessary" but is done to enhance the way a person looks, reconstructive surgery is considered a necessary operation that will improve a person’s health or appearance for greater social acceptance.

Examples of reconstructive surgery include:

  • Breast reconstruction – such as after breast cancer surgery
  • Cleft lip and palate repair – commonly in children to help with eating and breathing, and to improve appearance
  • Hand surgery – such as to reshape a hand deformity for greater functionality and improved appearance
  • Panniculectomy – to remove excess flaps of fat after extreme weight loss, to help prevent chafing and skin infection
  • Septoplasty – to repair deviated septum, the wall of bone between the toe nostrils, to improve breathing and air flow

Reconstructive surgery risks and recovery

Reconstructive surgery recovery depends on the type of surgery involved. As with any surgical procedure, there is always the risk of infection, bleeding, prolonged wound healing, and potential complications from anesthesia. Certain patient groups may have a more difficult time recovering from surgery, such as patients who have a poor diet, have a weakened immune system, or smoke cigarettes. Before having reconstructive surgery, your doctor will discuss all the benefits and risks with you to help you make an informed decision and understand what to expect after surgery.

To schedule an appointment with a specialist at Main Line Health, call 1.866.CALL.MLH (225.5654) or use our secure online appointment request form.