Plastic surgery as a specialty encompasses both cosmetic as well as reconstructive surgery. The definition of cosmetic surgery is surgery ”to improve on the normal” whereas reconstructive surgery is surgery ” to restore to normal form and function”. In some cases it is clear - repair of a cleft lip is clearly reconstructive surgery and liposuction of small amounts of fat that one just does not like is cosmetic surgery. In other situations it is more difficult. An upper eyelid lift to improve one’s appearance is cosmetic while an upper eye lift to remove excessive skin which is blocking one’s vision is reconstructive. Breast reconstruction after cancer treatment is unusual in that there is a Federal Law signed into effect by Bill Clinton mandating that breast reconstruction and surgical treatment of the opposite breast (if needed) is covered by insurance. Thank you Mr. Clinton!
Archive for February, 2010
Surgery on patients who have lost a lot of weight can take a lot of time. This is a problem for many reasons . The risk of complications can go up with a patient on the operating room table for an extended period of time - risks of wound infection, healing issues, risk of DVT or even pulmonary embolism can increase. New sutures are now available which can lessen the time on the operating room table. These sutures are an exciting advance especially for plastic surgeons working with Massive weight loss patients . The sutures are barbed which work to close the wound without knots. This decreases the time to close the wound and reduces the incidence of knot related issues such as stitch abscesses. I have been really pleased with the barbed suture - and especially the combination of the barbed suture and surgical glue to seal the wound. This combination is great for my patients - less time on the OR table, less tape and bandages and patients can shower right away ! A win for all!