Reconstructive Facial Surgery
Facial reconstructive surgery is done to treat patients with facial deformities after facial trauma; patients that had parts of the jaws and face removed after tumor treatment and birth defects resulting in a cleft lip and palate and craniofacial anomalies. Since the face is often the most obvious bodily aspect during interactions, having deformities can cause psychological and emotional difficulties for a person. The ability to alter these deformities through facial reconstructive surgery has allowed a high number of children and adults to feel confident about their appearance. Reconstructive surgery differs from cosmetic surgery because it alters the appearance of abnormal facial structures opposed to enhancing already normal ones.
Reconstructive Jaw Surgery
Reconstructive jaw surgery is performed by Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons to correct minor and major skeletal and dental irregularities including misalignment of the jaws, face and teeth, which, in turn, can improve chewing, speaking and breathing. In other cases a part of the upper or lower jaw may be missing after tumor removal; this is replaced with the use of bone grafts that can be obtained from the patient (hip, leg); from a deceased donor; or using newest techniques using growth factors like stem cell and platelet rich plasma and/or bone morphogenetic protein.
Reconstructive Surgery for Cleft Lip and Palate
A cleft lip and palate hurts one’s aesthetics and is detrimental to the baby’s health, as the palate is necessary for sucking and learning how to speak properly. A cleft palate has a hole in the roof of the mouth that communicates with the nose. If a child has a cleft lip, treatment is performed starting as early as the age of 3 months. In the cases of a cleft palate, the surgery is performed between 7 and 18 months. When these patients reach the adult life they still have multiple deformities like hypoplasia of the maxilla (backward position of the upper jaw), asymmetry of the nose and lip and/or malocclusions. They need to be corrected with orthognathic surgery, plasty of the upper lip, rhinoplasty (nose surgery), and/or orthodontic treatment.
Reconstructive Surgery after Skin Cancer Removal
Cancer of the skin of the face, nose, lips and ears is usually caused by sun exposure and frequently require wide excision of the involved tissue and in some cases the entire organ has to be removed. Like with most reconstructive surgery, the goal of lip reconstruction is to reestablish the appearance and function. In some cases is necessary to use neighbor (local flaps) or distant tissues (bone, cartilage) to reconstruct this organs and multiple surgeries to get a good result. The knowledge and experience of your maxillofacial surgeon is crucial to achieve a good result.