Reconstructive Surgery

FACIAL RECONSTRUCTION

Cancers of and injuries to the face are the commonest reasons for requiring facial reconstruction. Clearly there is an almost infinite range of facial defects that can result from trauma or cancer so the treatment has to be individualised.

The basic principles of reconstruction

One of the most important principles in facial reconstruction (and any other reconstruction) is to try and use tissues of a similar colour and type. This means, for example, that if one needs to replace missing skin then one should try and make use of any extra skin in the immediate vicinity. Skin from the same area has a similar colour and will give less of a patchwork appearance. If there is not enough skin then one has to consider doing a skin graft, taking a thin shaving of skin from another area of the body.

In certain situations, particularly when there are complex defects, there are not enough surrounding tissues left to borrow from for a reconstruction. In this situation, tissues need to be imported from other parts of the body where they are more expendable.