One of the most common types of wounds that are reconstructed is after skin cancer excision. Most skin cancers occur on the "sunbelt of the face" as they are caused by sunburns. This is the nose, cheeks, temples and ears; the areas you have seen sunburned the most often. After cancer excision and cure, Plastic Surgery uses a variety of skin grafts and flaps to make these areas look as normal as possible.
One common cancer in smokers is cancer inside the mouth. In order to cure these cancers, we often have to remove a part of the jaw, tongue, or any other area inside the mouth or throat. We will often harvest a piece of bone (fibula) from the leg to rebuild the jaw, skin and fat from the belly to reconstruct the tongue, or skin and fat from the forearm to reconstruct the inside of the mouth or throat. Small blood vessels that keep these tissues alive are sewn to blood vessels in the face or neck with microsurgery to keep the reconstructed body parts alive. This type of reconstruction gives the cancer victim a chance of normal appearance, speech and swallowing.
After accidents and other forms of trauma, broken legs are often missing skin and the exposed fractured bone fragments can become infected. We will often transfer muscles, skin and bone from other parts of the leg, back, hip or abdomen to rebuild the mutilated legs. This type of reconstruction will often permit the patients to keep the leg for walking, whereas years ago, amputation was much more common. We also reattach body parts that have been accidentally severed. If the parts cannot be replanted, they can sometimes be reconstructed. For example, if a person has lost his thumb, the first or second toe can be transferred to the hand to provide excellent hand function.