Reconstructive Surgery
Reconstructive Surgery Guide

Reconstructive Surgery Techniques Overview

If you've been considering reconstructive surgery, get the facts here and then set up a consultation with a doctor. We're here to help provide you with the information you need about it and then connect you with the best surgeons in your area.

This surgery aims to fix or repair a body part or facial feature. The goal is to restore proper function and structure.

A skilled plastic surgeon can repair a congenital defect or fix an abnormality caused by injury, trauma or illness, allowing you or your loved one to perform daily activities with greater ease, return to work after an injury or regain independence and confidence.

The results depend on the skill of your surgeon. Our site will help you learn about the procedures and find a local plastic surgeon you can trust.

This Guide helps prospective patients like you learn about procedures, discover the latest trends and developments in reconstructive surgery and find a skilled plastic surgeon in your area.

Our goal is to provide you with the information you need to begin your surgery journey, including descriptions of various procedures, whether or not you are a good candidate, possible complications and side effects, questions to ask your surgeon and details about what to expect after your surgery. Our site will answer many of your initial questions about surgery. Take some time to explore the informative pages of our site to research surgery options.

Cosmetic VS. Plastic/Reconstructive Surgery: What's The Difference?

Although cosmetic surgery aims to improve the physical appearance, the goal of plastic surgery is to restore function, correct structural problems and fix abnormalities in appearance.

Correcting a cleft lip, misaligned jaw or birth defect falls under the category of plastic surgery. Breast augmentation is usually considered cosmetic surgery. However, when breast cancer patients seek reconstructive breast surgery after a mastectomy or removal of breast tissue, the procedure is considered plastic surgery. Rhinoplasty, or nose surgery, may be considered cosmetic or plastic surgery, depending on the purpose and medical necessity of the procedure.

Performing plastic surgery requires different education, training and certifications than are required to perform cosmetic surgery. Insurance coverage may cover plastic surgery procedures if they are deemed medically required, while cosmetic surgery procedures are normally considered elective and are not covered.

Find The Right Surgeon

Finding the right surgeon can make all the difference in your experience. We work hard to connect you with the best doctors in your area. Our physicians are skilled and qualified in cutting-edge techniques. They perform surgery in accredited medical facilities, keep abreast of the latest developments in their field, complete continuing education and follow the highest standards in patient care and safety.

Click on “Surgeon Locator” to search our physician directory for a surgeon in your region. You can read about physicians' credentials, visit their websites, learn about the procedures they perform and see pictures of their offices and patients.

The first step toward your surgery is setting up a consultation with a surgeon. During your consultation, your doctor will gather information about your medical history and ask you questions about your goals in pursuing it. He or she will determine whether or not you are a candidate for surgery and which procedure will work best for your situation and produce the best results.

The only way to know for certain if you are a candidate is to meet with a qualified plastic surgeon.

The goal is to improve your appearance, your ability to accomplish everyday tasks, your sense of well-being and your life. We encourage you to take this important step by searching for a local doctor today.


When you meet with your doctor for the first time, be sure to ask any questions you have about your procedure. Don't hesitate to express concerns. It's important that you know what to expect when considering this surgery.

Please let your surgeon know all necessary details about your medical history and previous surgery history, medications that you are taking and current health conditions. The more your surgeon knows about you, the more he or she can make an adequate assessment about your case that will also help you get the best results.

Be honest with your doctor. Your doctor's ability to safely treat you depends on your honesty. Be upfront about any medications you take and your habits regarding smoking, drugs and alcohol.

You should discuss with your doctor what your goals are and what results you hope to achieve with your surgery. A frank conversation with your physician about your expectations and concerns will help you to have a more positive experience.

When choosing a surgeon, you must consider skill, experience and training, as well as certifications. Learn about the doctor's work and experience with the particular procedure you are considering.

Remember, choose a doctor you trust and feel comfortable with. Your doctor should be able to adequately explain the benefits and risks of surgery, explain what happens during the surgery and let you know what to expect before and after the procedure.

Skip to the bottom of this page for a comprehensive list of questions you may want to ask your surgeon regarding your procedure.


  • Restoring proper function to a body part
  • Providing a more natural appearance where a defect existed
  • Gaining confidence due to restoration of normal features and abilities
  • Reducing pain caused by wear and tear on joints
  • Fixing a congenital defect
  • Providing the ability to perform daily activities more easily


  • Breast surgery
  • Cleft lip or palate surgery
  • Surgery to correct craniofacial defects
  • Facial surgery
  • Rhinoplasty (nose surgery)
  • Jaw surgery
  • Knee replacement
  • Hip replacement
  • ACL reconstructive surgery
  • Hip and knee arthroscopy

Before Your Surgery

Before your surgery, you should discuss with your doctor any drugs you take, including non-prescription drugs and supplements. It's important that you are honest and upfront about your drug use, smoking habits and use of alcohol, as these substances may affect your recovery.

Your doctor will give you specific instructions regarding which medications you should stop temporarily and which you may continue taking. If you take maintenance drugs for a medical condition, such as heart disease or diabetes, you should discuss these medications and your upcoming surgery with the doctor who treats these conditions.

Your doctor will direct you to refrain from eating for a specified number of hours before your surgery and will give you further instructions to follow to prepare for your surgery. It's normal to be nervous before the procedure. You must follow your doctor's instructions carefully and be sure to ask him or her any questions you may have.

Before your surgery, you will undergo a thorough evaluation and tests will be run to reduce the risk of complication during surgery. Your surgeon may order x-rays if necessary.

Complications and Side Effects

As with any surgical procedure, this surgery is not without risk. Risks that come with any surgery include:

  • Risks of anesthesia, including allergic reactions
  • Bleeding
  • Infection

Ask your doctor about the possible risks, complications and side effects of your particular procedure.

Although the techniques are usually effective, in some cases, surgery may not restore normal function or appearance. This surgery may not achieve the exact look and feel of a natural feature or body part. You should discuss your expectations and goals in advance with your surgeon.


Costs can vary greatly depending on the surgeon's skill and experience, where you live, the type and extent of your procedure, additional therapies needed after your surgery and other factors.

The best way to accurately determine the cost of your surgery is to set up a consultation with a surgeon. He or she will be able to evaluate your case, let you know if you are a good candidate and also discuss the costs associated with the surgery based on your situation.

In many cases, it is covered by medical insurance plans. Because procedures aim to fix defects, abnormalities or injuries, they are often deemed medically necessary and approved for coverage. You should contact a representative of your insurance company to discuss your surgery.

Don't hesitate to ask your surgeon any questions you have about your procedure. Following are questions you may want to consider asking your surgeon.

  • Is it the right step for me?
  • Are there any alternatives and would you recommend any for my case?
  • Am I a good candidate?
  • What results should I except from my surgery?
  • What is the next step to get surgery?
  • How can I pay for it?
  • Do I need additional blood work or x-rays before my surgery?
  • How is the procedure performed?
  • How successful is the procedure?
  • How much experience do you have with these procedures?
  • What are the risks associated with surgery?
  • What complications might develop from surgery (immediate and long-term)?
  • Where will my procedure takes place?
  • What kind of preparation do I need before my surgery?
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