Plastic surgery is done to repair and reconstruct damaged tissue or skin caused by injuries, illness or abnormalities. The aim of plastic surgery is to restore the function of the damaged tissues and skin and make them look as normal as possible. Another aim of plastic surgery is to make people’s appearance better.
Why is plastic surgery used?
There are many different reasons and situations where the use of plastic surgery might be needed and there are a number of procedures that can be done to fix a certain problem:
- Birth defects
Plastic surgery is used to correct defects that were present at birth such as:
- birthmarks, such as haemangiomas or wine stains which are caused by malformations of veins, arteries and capillaries.
- cleft lip and palate
- hypospadias – present on boys, when the urethra (the tube that carries the urine form the bladder to the penis) has grown on the outside of the penis
- craniosynostosis – this defects affects the shape of the head
- Defects that appear later in life
Plastic surgery is used to correct damaged tissue caused by a variety of things such as:
- cancer – correction of the tissue which was removed because it was cancerous
- infection – remove and repair dead tissue
- trauma – correct damaged tissue which was caused by fractures, wounds etc.
- burns – correct damaged skin and make it look better
How is plastic surgery performed
There are many different techniques that plastic surgeons use to fix the damages tissue or skin depending on what caused the damage of the mentioned tissue or skin.
- Skin grafts
This procedure is done by removing healthy skin from your body and covering the lost or damaged one with it.
There are two types of skin graft:
- a full thickness skin graft – when a small piece of area is removed with its top layer and all layer underneath as well. Afterwards that area is closed with stitches
- a partial or split thickness skin graft – the epidermis and a small part of the dermis are removed and the area is left to heal on itself
The skin graft is secured in place with staples, stitches, clips or special glue. The area will be covered with dressing until it has healed. The time needed to heals is around 5-7 days. The area from where the skin was taken will be covered in dressing as well, and that area might hurt a little more than the graft. The time needed for the area to heal is about 5-15 days depending on the type of graft done.
- Tissue expansion
With this procedure the skin that surrounds the damages area is stretched to enable your body to “grow” the extra needed skin on itself. The time needed for the damaged area to be repaired might take from 3 to 4 months.
- Flap surgery
With this procedure a living peace of tissue is transferred from one part of the body to another, alongside with the blood vessels. The skin remains partially attached to the body and it needs to be stitched over the damaged area.
A free flap is a technique where a piece of the skin alongside with the blood vessels is entirely disconnected from the original place, and then the blood vessels are connected to the damaged area with a microsurgery.