Plastic surgery may cause you to think of nose surgeries and reality TV stars. This specialty is a key component in the effective treatment of cancer for many patients.
The treatment for cancer can affect the functionality or appearance of a specific part that is part of your body. Reconstructive surgery can assist in the repair of those changes.
Cosmetic surgery as well as reconstructive surgery are two types that are performed by plastic surgeons. Reconstructive surgery, however, is carried out due to medical reasons which is why insurance companies typically cover for reconstructive procedures that are needed following chemotherapy for cancer.
Reconstructive microsurgery is a specialty that makes use of microscopes as well as precision instruments. It is able to repair damaged blood vessels and nerves smaller than a single strand of hair.
Both reconstructive and microsurgery that is reconstructive can have a significant impact on the overall health and well being for cancer sufferers.
Commonly used reconstructive procedures
Reconstructive surgeons can perform other procedures related to cancer as well. They move tissues around the body and make components that are altered due to disease or treatment. This can be done in the case of cancers of the neck and head, as an example.
I have recently been involved in one case in which the cancer surgeon of the patient took out the larynx. This left the esophagus fully open. My mission was to repair the esophagus. In order to do this I extracted tissue from my leg and then shaped the esophagus into a shape.
Through breast reconstruction, his goal is to assist patients in returning to their original form.
I put them back to where they startedor at least to a point where they can be comfortable without feeling like they have a huge defect.
Reconstructive surgeons are often are involved in cases of patients undergoing surgery, even though their role is not evident.
What people don’t realize regarding reconstruction is the fact that we participate in many operations to treat cancer, but not as the surgeon of choice.
Reconstructive surgeons have a wealth of experience stretching the skin and repairing wounds, which is why they usually form part of a team of surgeons who operate on cancer patients. When a tumor is surgically removed from a surgeon who is a principal the reconstructive surgeon uses specific methods to seal the wound, and then monitor the patient throughout their healing to ensure they heal properly.
There are a lot of ways to close things that surgeons from other fields don’t have in their toolboxes.
Techniques that are constantly evolving
The way surgeons do reconstructive surgery is changing rapidly. For example, the latest 3D modeling technology is enhancing the process of reconstructive microsurgery.
When bone needs to be removed such as leg bone that will be used to reconstruct missing jaw bonewe can get data from a CT scan and create the patient’s own 3-D structure on the computer.
This tool allows surgeons to draw up a precise strategy prior to the procedure.
What results is a guide that creates very specific puzzle pieces that you can put together. That has been proven to significantly reduce time for surgery and improve the precision and precise everything is made. This is one of the major developments in microsurgery.
Other advancements in reconstruction might not be as glamorous however, they can make a significant impact on patients levels of comfort. For instance, patients undergoing breast reconstruction typically require expanders to allow for the eventual implant. This typically requires regular visits to the doctor’s office for fluid addition to the expander.
These days, air expanders gradually inflate. Patients don’t feel it and they don’t have to make as frequent office visits. This helps patients move on with their lives. That’s the aim of reconstructive surgery.
It’s a great feeling to complete these procedures which can aid patients to move on with their lives after being diagnosed with cancer.
The advantages of reconstructive surgery in the largest cancer center
There are a lot of plastic surgeons working in private practice who offer reconstructive surgeries. There are advantages of having your surgery performed by a an expert surgeon in a major cancer center, such as Fox Chase.
The main advantage is all the doctors are connected, so when you see your primary surgeon, they will refer you to a plastic surgeon. At Fox Chase, we’re familiar with working in tandem and communicating with one another. The medical records of patients are also shared. We often work in the same day with the same patient, and in the exact operating room.