UPMC Physician: Plastic Surgery Supports Physical, Mental Healing
Common perception is that plastic surgery is cosmetic procedures to improve patients’ appearance, but in fact it is possibly one of the most diverse specialties. While plastic surgery started as a specialty for restoration and reconstruction of defects and damaged body tissue, it’s now used for traumatic defects by injuries, burn, congenital defects like cleft lip and palate, and restorative treatment in cancer survivorship. It’s not just about restoring appearance, a patient can also regain mobility or functionality, and find peace of mind with a reconstructive procedure.
Situations in Which Reconstructive Plastic Surgery is Considered
Trauma centers treat patients for a variety of reasons. They may have been in a major car accident, could have been burnt severely, experienced a gunshot wound, or taken a bad fall at home. In each of these scenarios, it’s unfortunately likely that your body may experience a physical change that will not heal on its own. Plastic surgery could help the healing of injuries involving tendons, nerves, soft tissues, or bones with replantation or revascularization.
After a battle with cancer, patients may want to seek out a way to feel like themselves again. This could include breast reconstruction, head and neck restoration, excisional surgery for skin cancer, or other treatments for other extremities that have been affected by cancer. Many other diseases or infections can also contribute to the choice of exploring plastic surgery options.
Plastic surgery can help those with birth defects such as cleft lips and palates or hand deformities. Early intervention can help combat issues that occur due to these irregularities. These issues could include speech development, infections, and overall progress and growth.
Other health issues that develop over time include carpal tunnel syndrome, cubital syndrome, or tarsal tunnel syndrome. Plastic surgery can help grant relief by managing entrapped nerves.
Preparing for Your Consultation
Like any other doctor’s visit, you should have the necessary paperwork ready for a consultation with a plastic surgeon. This would include your insurance card, medical history information, and any medication that you are taking. Additionally for this type of appointment, you should have the contact information of the physician that referred you, any necessary insurance referrals, or if you have a claim number and contact information for any workers compensation, auto, or personal injury case.
During your appointment, a plastic surgeon will examine you and your medical history. The physician will go over the risks and benefits of your personal treatment plan and any concerns that you might have. At this time, the physician may need to take pictures for insurance purposes and a date for surgery may be set. Your care team will coordinate the logistics for your surgery and any additional tests or blood work if needed.
Physical scars aren’t the only reminders of past trauma; your mental health can also be affected. Plastic surgery in some cases has been found to help alleviate part of this psychological trauma. As one’s view of their physical image increases in positivity, the psychological stress decreases.
There is no right or wrong answer to what you should do after experiencing trauma. Whatever you decide, your health care team will support you with compassion and the best possible treatment available.
Amitabha Mitra, MD, is a surgeon with UPMC Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery and sees patients at 1100 Grampian Blvd., Williamsport. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Mitra, call 570-326-8005. For more information, visit UPMC.com/Plastics-ReconstructiveNPCA.
Writing: Amitabha Mitra, MD, MBBS, FRCS, FACS
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