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Hawthorne Clinic has a world-class reputation for plastic and reconstructive surgery of the face and delicate tissues around the eye. The Oculofacial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery services at Hawthorne Clinic offers up-to-date diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the eyelids and orbit, including trauma, tumors, thyroid eye disease (Graves disease), as well as cosmetic and reconstructive facial surgery and treatment for disorders of the tear drainage system.

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Is Facial Reconstructive Surgery The Same As Plastic Surgery?

The answer to this question is, technically, “yes.” Both facial reconstructive surgery and plastic surgery use the same tools and techniques to accomplish their goals. However, what separates the two is intent. Plastic surgery is thought of as “cosmetic,” in that the goal is an aesthetic improvement to create a more pleasing appearance.

Facial reconstructive surgery, on the other hand, uses the same techniques to restore facial characteristics that may have been damaged by disease, or accidents that impacted the face. A car accident, for example, that has broken bones in the face, and changed the overall shape, would use facial reconstructive surgery to return to something closer to the pre-accident, previous appearance.

When Is Facial Reconstructive Surgery Used?

Facial reconstructive surgery is often suggested in the following situations:

  • Facial Trauma Reconstruction:

    Car accidents, damage from animal attacks, accidents in sporting activities, and even damage from violence are all instances where outside forces have caused permanent, visible, physical damage to the face. Facial reconstructive surgery attempts to repair the damage and get patients back to looking like themselves.

  • Birth Defects:

    In some cases, a congenital condition at birth results in clear facial abnormalities, such as a cleft palate, or lip. For a child to have the best possible chance a normal life, without the emotional consequences that arise from facial deformities, facial reconstructive surgery may be used to create symmetry and a normal appearance.

  • Cancer Reconstruction:

    Facial skin cancer requires moving the growth or cancerous elements from the face, which results in visible, permanent markings or scarring. Facial reconstructive surgery smooths over the work done to fight cancer and allows the patient to regain a normal appearance.

  • Facial Paralysis:

    In some cases, disorders may cause a patient to lose control over certain facial muscles. Over time, this creates an asymmetrical appearance. Facial reconstructive surgery can restore that balance and even use certain techniques to restore a little bit of facial animation.

The Importance Of Diagnosis

The first critical step in any successful facial reconstructive surgery is the diagnosis. Without a careful evaluation of the exact medical situation, the extent of the work, and the exact techniques required for best effect can’t be used. Experienced medical professionals will know which areas fall under their area of expertise, and which are best handled with a referral to the properly experienced and qualified medical professional.

So, for example, if an initial diagnosis shows that facial reconstructive surgery should occur in the orbital area around the eyes, but the current professional lacks that experience, a referral would be made to Dr. Nicholas Monsul here at Hawthorne Clinic. Dr. Monsul has the specialization and experience of working with experts at Allegheny General Hospital and now offers to his expertise to select clientele and those that come to him through referral.

Preparation For Treatment

If surgery administering anesthetic is decided upon, there are some general preparations patients should make on the day before the operation. It is also important to be honest about disclosing all existing treatments, medications, or other substances currently being taken, as the anesthetic or other medications administered may interact with medications or substances already present.

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