Reconstructive surgery

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Editors-In-Chief: Martin I. Newman, M.D., FACS, Cleveland Clinic Florida, [1]; Michel C. Samson, M.D., FRCSC, FACS [2]


Overview

Reconstructive surgery is in its broadest sense the use of surgery to restore the form and function of the body.

Although plastic surgery and plastic surgeons are involved in many aspects of reconstructive surgery, there are other branches of surgery that also perform reconstructive procedures. For example, orthopedic surgeons, reconstruct the hip and other joints, repair tendons such as those in the rotator cuff and perform osteotomies to straighten angulated bones. Oral and Maxillofacial surgeons and Otolaryngologists do reconstructive surgery on faces after trauma and to reconstruct the head and neck after cancer.

Other branches of surgery (e.g. General surgery, gynecological surgery, pediatric surgery) also perform some reconstructive procedures. The common feature is that the operation attempts to restore the anatomy or the function of the body part to normal.

Reconstructive plastic surgeons use the concept of a reconstructive ladder to manage increasingly complex wounds. This ranges from very simple techniques such as primary closure and dressings to more complex skin grafts, tissue expansion and free flaps.

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