Traumatic injury to the face, neck, nose, ears, and lips can cause an unsightly appearance and a loss of function. Most patients have a general idea that something may be done to improve the appearance (most common), function, or both. In most instances, a properly planned and executed repair of the problem can gain much improvement. There are generally multiple alternatives that are created by the specific circumstances of the injury or developmental deficiency. The operations for repair are generally done in several stages. Each stage is planned to allow for the healing process and to accomplish specific goals. This type of surgery is generally very satisfying to the patient and to the physician alike.
The operation performed depends upon the problem and is usually performed using local anesthesia. The techniques involved may be to rotate, move, or attempt to hide a visible scar in a region that is less visible and to render the scar itself less visible. At times, tissue may be “borrowed” from other areas of the body. Occasionally, a synthetic material may be used to recreate natural architecture.
There Is More To It
Though this type of surgery can be very rewarding, there are some constraints of which the patient must be aware. The final result may not be apparent for one to one and a half years after the initiation of the revision process. The patient will have to participate in the process and follow instructions very carefully. Meticulous attention to detail by the surgeon in the planning and execution of the repair must be matched with the same attention by the patient during the healing phase. This period may last only three to six weeks or may last as long as three to six months. We have never found this to be a significant deterrent as the attention to detail has only one great beneficiary: the patient. It is important to realize that although significant improvement in appearance may be achieved, perfection or complete elimination of scars is never possible.