Facial Reconstructive Surgery
Facial reconstructive surgery can help relieve patients of problems associated with facial irregularities and create a more natural appearance, improving quality of life.
Facial reconstructive surgery involves correcting structural problems in the bones of the face as well as other facial abnormalities. A qualified facial reconstruction surgeon can successfully treat congenital defects, problems associated with how the bones of the face have developed and issues stemming from fractures, injuries or other facial traumas.
Better Quality of Life Through Facial Reconstructive Surgery
If you suffer from a facial deformity or injury, you should seek medical help. A qualified facial reconstruction surgeon can determine whether or not you can benefit from facial reconstructive surgery.
Facial reconstructive surgery doesn’t only fix facial irregularities that can lead to serious medical problems; it also can improve your quality of life by improving your appearance and self-esteem. Advancements in facial reconstructive surgery procedures have made it possible to produce a natural-looking face and improve quality of life.
In the case of trauma, it’s essential to take action quickly. Motor vehicle accidents, domestic violence and other trauma can lead to serious bone fractures in the face that must be addressed right away. A facial reconstructive surgeon can act quickly to restore the face’s appearance.
Don’t wait to set up a consultation with a facial reconstructive surgeon. Click on “Surgeon Locator” in our menu to find the best facial reconstructive surgeons in your region.
Problems Corrected by Facial Reconstructive Surgery
Facial reconstructive surgery is aimed at fixing structural problems in facial bones and relieving medical problems caused by facial abnormalities, while also creating a more natural and attractive appearance.
Facial reconstructive surgery can benefit people with facial abnormalities caused by:
- Cleft lips or palates
- Other congenital birth defects and craniofacial anomalies
- Trauma or injury, such as a motor vehicle accident, domestic violence, on-the-job injury or sports mishap
- Infectious disease
- The removal of tumors and skin cancers
- Misalignment of the jaws (overbite or underbite) or other jaw abnormalities
- Severe dental problems
- Severe scarring from previous medical procedures or lacerations
Facial reconstructive surgeons are trained to treat a variety of problems and are highly skilled in performing surgery on the bones of the skull.
One major area of facial reconstructive surgery is treating congenital defects. If you have an infant or child who was born with a facial abnormality, it’s important to find a quality facial reconstructive surgeon to evaluate your child and address the problem. Taking this step now can help give your child a healthier life. Advancements in surgical techniques have made many types of facial reconstructive surgeries effective and reliable.
Facial Reconstructive Surgery Procedures
Facial reconstructive surgery is often referred to as craniofacial or craniomaxillofacial surgery, or surgery of the skull (cranium) and facial bones.
The human skull is made up of 22 bones, most of which are joined together at rigid joints. Some of the major skull bones include the frontal bone (forehead), temporal bones (located on the side of the head above the ears), maxilla bone (top portion of the jaw), mandible (lower jaw) and nasal bones. These bones protect the brain, house the eyes and affect breathing and speech, so injuries or abnormalities can seriously affect normal human functioning. Craniofacial abnormalities can lead to serious medical problems that must be corrected surgically.
A facial reconstructive surgeon is called an oral and maxillofacial surgeon, or OMS. These surgeons receive extensive training in dentistry and anesthesia administration, as well as facial surgery techniques. Facial reconstructive surgeons are trained to treat a variety of facial abnormalities and defects and are highly skilled in working with the bones of the face.
Facial reconstructive procedures vary depending on the type of problem the surgeon is treating. Facial reconstructive surgery may occur in a hospital or office setting and may use general anesthesia, local anesthesia or an IV sedative. Recovery time varies depending on the type and complexity of the procedure.
Procedures may involve realigning bones that have not formed properly, fixing fractured bones by fastening them into place, removing skin defects, reshaping a skull that did not form properly or using skin and bone grafts to reshape areas where skin and bone damage or loss has occurred.
Cleft Lip or Palate Facial Reconstructive Surgery
A cleft lip or palate, called “oral clefting,” occurs when the tissue of the lip or palate does not form properly in a developing fetus. The tissue does not grow together, leaving a gap in the lip or palate. An infant may be born with only a cleft lip or palate or with both cleft lip and palate. Clefting may be unilateral (occurring on one side of the lip) or bilateral (occurring on both sides of the lip).
Oral clefting is one of the most common congenital defects and leads to dental problems, problems with eating and speech, ear infections and other problems. Fortunately, modern surgical techniques can successfully correct a cleft lip or palate.
Surgery for oral clefting normally takes place during the first year of a child’s life; cleft lips are often treated within 6 months. To treat a cleft lip, the surgeon makes incisions near the gap in the lip and sutures the lip together. For a cleft palate, tissues from other parts of the mouth are used to create the missing portion of palate.
In some cases, future surgeries may be needed to correct other abnormalities caused by the clefting. Surgeries are normally spaced several months apart to allow the mouth to properly heal before the next surgery. Facial reconstructive surgery for a cleft lip or palate normally occurs in a hospital setting under general anesthesia and may require a several-day stay.
Other Congenital Craniofacial Anomalies
A child may be born with one of many different craniofacial anomalies that occur when the bones in the skull have not formed or grown properly. A malformed skull may need to be reformed through surgery so that the bones can properly and safely house the infant’s brain and to create a more natural appearance.
Discovering that a child has a craniofacial anomaly can be devastating to a parent. However, many craniofacial defects can be successfully corrected through surgery. Finding a facial reconstruction surgeon you can trust is a big step toward providing your child with the life you know he or she deserves.
Facial Reconstructive Surgery After Skin Cancer or Tumor Removal
Patients who have had head or neck cancer may benefit from facial reconstructive surgery. Even after the successful removal of a tumor or skin cancer, scarring and other deformities may result in medical problems or lower quality of life. A facial reconstructive surgeon can help restore the natural appearance of the face and treat excessive scaring.
The Mohs technique of cancer removal is used to remove many types of skin cancer. Although this surgery can be highly effective for removing skin cancers, it can leave deformities in the face and skin. A facial reconstructive surgeon can restore the appearance of the face. The surgeon may need to use skin flaps adjacent to the damaged area or skin grafts taken from other parts of the body.
If a tumor removal has affected the bone or muscle, the surgeon may need to use bone or muscle grafts to repair the area.
Facial Reconstructive Surgery After Trauma to the Face
Trauma to the face can result in fractures and injuries to the facial bones, leading to disfigurement and possible problems breathing, seeing, eating or swallowing. Facial trauma can occur in many ways, such as a motor vehicle accident, domestic violence or other assault, on-the-job injury or a sports mishap.
Patients taken to the hospital after a trauma may see a variety of specialists, including an oral and maxillofacial surgeon. Treatment of facial injury may occur alongside treatment for other medical problems that resulted from the trauma. Facial reconstructive surgeons are well-trained in emergency care of the face, jaw and mouth.
To repair facial fractures, the surgeon realigns the broken parts of the bone and attaches them into place using plates, wires or other fastening devices. Healing may take six weeks or more. If the fracture involves the jaw bones, the jaw may be wired shut for a period of time. In this case, the surgeon will provide instructions for a liquid diet.
In some cases, the surgeon may need to use bone grafts taken from another part of the body. Bone grafts are fastened into place using titanium plates or screws. Where there is skin loss or damage, skin flaps may be used.
Rhinoplasty: Nose Reconstructive Surgery
Rhinoplasty is a surgery to improve the function of the nose or to fix problems associated with trauma, birth defects or breathing problems. Although nose surgery is a popular cosmetic surgery, it is considered reconstructive surgery when done not for aesthetic reasons but to correct a defect and restore proper function.
Rhinoplasty may be performed by an open or closed method. In closed rhinoplasty, the surgeon makes incisions only inside the nostrils. For open rhinoplasty, a third incision is made across the skin between the nostrils.
To perform rhinoplasty, the surgeon makes the necessary incisions, reshapes the bones and cartilage and uses sutures to close up the incisions. In some cases, grafts of cartilage or bone may be used to reshape the nose. After rhinoplasty, the surgeon applies a metal splint to hold the nose in place as it heals.
Jaw Reconstructive Surgery
Jaw reconstructive surgery may be necessary to treat problems associated with the maxilla (upper jaw) and the mandible (lower jaw), such as a misalignment of the jaw bones that results in an overbite or underbite. Your facial reconstructive surgeon will work closely with an orthodontist when correcting problems of the jaw. Jaw reconstructive surgery may require orthodontics (braces) before and after surgery.
To perform jaw reconstructive surgery, the surgeon cuts and repositions the jaw bones to restructure the shape of the jaw with the goal of achieving natural form and function. The technical term for surgery to cut a bone is osteotomy. Once the bones are cut and repositioned, the surgeon will fasten them in place with screws, wires or other structural support mechanisms.
A bone graft may be required to help reshape the jaw. The surgeon removes a piece of bone from another area of the body, such as the hip, shapes it to fit the injured or deformed jaw bone and fixes it into place.
Depending on the deformity, the surgeon may only need to perform surgery on either the mandible or maxilla. However, for some jaw problems, surgery on both jaw bones is required. Your surgeon may work closely with an orthodontist to help monitor and correct problems with the teeth.
Find A Facial Reconstructive Surgery Expert
Finding the right surgeon can make all the difference in your facial reconstructive surgery experience. We work hard to connect you with the best doctors in your area. Our physicians are skilled and qualified in cutting-edge reconstructive surgery techniques. They perform surgery in accredited medical facilities, keep abreast of the latest developments in their field, complete continuing education in reconstructive surgery 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 reconstructive surgery procedures they perform and see pictures of their offices and patients.
The first step toward your facial reconstructive 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 reconstructive surgery. 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 for reconstructive surgery is to meet with a qualified surgeon.
The goal of reconstructive surgery 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.
Am I a Candidate for Facial Reconstructive Surgery?
Only your surgeon can determine for sure whether or not you are a candidate for facial reconstructive surgery. If left untreated, facial irregularities can lead to trouble eating, difficulty breathing, problems with speech, chronic pain, problems with oral health and other issues.
You or your loved one may be a candidate for facial reconstructive surgery if a congenital defect, trauma, medical condition or disease has affected the bones and tissues of the face.
To determine candidacy, your doctor will take a detailed medical history and conduct an examination of the affected area of the face. Your doctor will be able to discuss the treatment options available to you, including facial reconstructive surgery.
Facial Reconstructive Surgery Risks
As with any surgical procedure, facial reconstructive surgery is not without risk. Due to the wide variety of procedures used in facial reconstructive surgery, risks and complications may vary. You should discuss with your doctor the possible risks and complications of the particular procedure you will be receiving. Be sure you understand the risks, and share any questions and concerns with your doctor.
Advances in facial reconstructive surgery technology have led to safe, effective and successful surgical techniques. Although severe complications may be rare for many types of facial reconstructive procedures, it’s important that you are aware of possible risks and complications.
Risks of facial reconstructive surgery include:
- Risks of anesthesia, including allergic reactions
- Nerve damage to the face
- Temporary or permanent numbness in the face
- Neurological problems
Facial reconstructive surgery may result in scarring. Your surgeon will use techniques designed to reduce scarring, but you should discuss in advance how much scarring to expect from your particular surgery. In some cases, additional procedures can reduce the size of scars.
Before Facial Reconstructive 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 facial reconstructive surgery. It’s normal to be nervous before surgery. 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. X-rays will be taken of your facial bones.
After Facial Reconstructive Surgery
Facial reconstructive surgery may require a hospital stay. The length of the stay depends on the type of procedure you are receiving. It’s possible that your stay may only be a couple of days; however, you may need to stay longer. Your doctor will give you instructions to follow when you return home, such as how to take care of your incisions. You must carefully follow these instructions.
It’s normal to feel pain or discomfort after your facial reconstructive surgery. Your doctor will let you know which over-the-counter medications to take to effectively treat your post-surgery pain. He or she may also prescribe a stronger pain medication if necessary.
Some pain and swelling may be normal. However, you should call your doctor if you experience abnormal symptoms, excessive bleeding or any damage or injury to your face. Discuss with your doctor which symptoms are normal and to be expected and which are unusual and require medical attention.
For surgery affecting your mouth, you will need to eat a modified diet for a period of time, starting with a liquid-only diet and eventually moving to pureed foods and soft foods before returning to your normal eating habits. A modified diet is absolutely necessary for a full recovery and to avoid infection and other problems. You must carefully follow your doctor’s instructions regarding your diet.
Your doctor will explain how long you must refrain from certain activities, such as strenuous exercise and smoking.
Results of Facial Reconstructive Surgery
Facial reconstructive surgery can greatly improve the structure of the bones in the face, correct medical problems and improve appearance and quality of life. Many procedures can be performed with reliable results. However, you must discuss with your doctor what results to expect.