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Reconstructive Surgery: Treatment, Cost and Side Effects

Last Updated: May 20, 2024

What is the treatment ?

Reconstructive surgery refers to a wide range of surgical procedures performed to restore the original appearance of certain body parts or their function. Reconstructive surgery is typically performed to correct a deformity caused by illness. A reconstructive surgery procedure is classified based on the body part that needs to be operated on. Basically 4-5 different types of reconstructive surgery. Microsurgery, Facial surgery, Surgery for feet and hands, Wound care, Breast reconstruction or reduction. Facial surgery,

  1. Microsurgery: - Microsurgery can be performed to replace the parts of body affected by the injury and any disease.
  2. Surgery for feet and hands: - A variety of reconstructive procedures are designed to treat many foot/hand disorders and restore your foot/hand back to its original health and function. Also feet and hands surgeries are available for people affected by tumors (cancerous and non-cancerous).
  3. Wound care: - For individuals who have been severely burned or cut, skin grafts.
  4. Breast reconstruction or reduction: - This surgeries procedures are available for who have undergone a mastectomy and men undergo breast reduction.
  5. Facial surgery: - These can be performed to correct facial defects such as cleft lip, breathing problems such as snoring or chronic infections, such as those that affect the sinuses.

How is the treatment done?

The main purpose of undergoing reconstructive surgery is to improve the functioning and the appearance of the body parts. There are many cases wherein the body parts may require repair so as to function properly like eyelid opening, skin missing etc. Plastic surgery is a technical specialty with the aim of achieving repair. With these medical indications the doctor may advise the patient to undergo reconstructive surgery. With the help of various kinds of reconstructive methods, the surgeons make holes and repair the damaged body part mostly by transferring tissue from one part of the body to another.

The mostly treatments used by plastic surgeons in reconstructive procedures are:

  1. Skin grafts: - In skin grafts involve a taking health known as the donor site, and using it to cover another area where skin is missing or damaged. The piece of skin that is moved is entirely disconnected, and requires blood vessels to grow into it when placed in the ‘recipient site. Basically three types of skin grafts are used which are split thickness skin graft, full-thickness skin graft and composite graft.
  2. Flap surgery: - Flap reconstruction involves the transfer of a living piece of tissue from one part of the body to another, along with the blood vessel that keeps it alive. Flap surgery can restore form and function to areas of the body that have lost skin, fat, muscle movement, and/or skeletal support. There are three main types of flap which includes local flap, regional flap and free flap/microsurgery.

Who is eligible for the treatment?(When is the treatment done ?)

Generally reconstructive surgery is used to treat various deformities of the body parts and thus cover wide range of issues. But most of these issues can be classified as:

  1. congenital problems : these are deformities which are present since birth and thus may include fused lip area, birth marks, ear surgery, favela and hand deformities.
  2. acquired problems: these are deformities which are acquired due to diseases like cancer treatment, trauma like accidents, burns, and other infection. Thus, any person having any body part deformity either by birth or has acquired due to disease or trauma can undergo this reconstructive surgery. On the other hand some may even opt for the surgery to enhance their body appearance though such surgeries fall under cosmetic treatments.

Who is not eligible for the treatment?

The decision to reconstruct or not is very personal. There is no “right way” to approach mastectomy and reconstruction (or lack of it). There is only the way that is best for you, your preferences, and your healing.

Some women who want no reconstruction say their doctors just assumed they wanted reconstruction or that they’ve felt pressured by their doctors or family members to have reconstruction. If you feel that your doctor isn’t fully listening to you or isn’t taking your choice of no reconstruction seriously, make an appointment with another surgeon to get a second opinion. Because the choice to reconstruct or not is very personal, you need a surgeon who listens to you and explains things in ways you can understand.


Are there any Side Effects?

Any type of surgery has risks, and breast reconstruction may pose certain unique problems for some women. Even though many of these are not common, it’s important to have an idea of the possible risks and side effects. Problems that can occur later on include:

  1. Tissue death (necrosis) of all or part of a tissue flap, skin, or fat
  2. Loss of or changes in nipple and breast sensation
  3. Problems at the donor site, such as loss of muscle strength
  4. The need for more surgery to fix problems that come up
  5. Changes in the arm on the same side as the reconstructed breast
  6. Problems with a breast implant, such as movement, leakage, rupture, or scar tissue formation (capsular contracture)
  7. Uneven breasts

What are the post-treatment guidelines?

  1. Assess and re-assess the patient
    • The presence of interference of pain with the patient's daily activities, work, social life, sleep patterns, appetite, sexual functioning and mood
    • The impact of the disease and the therapy on the physical, psychological and social conditions
    • The presence and intensity of signs, physical and/or emotional symptoms associated with cancer pain syndromes
    • The functional status

  2. Assess and re-assess the pain
  3. The doctor after surgey can advise the patient to provide care from infection to the effected area. Get proper dressing for the area and antibiotics and ointment can be given to be used for healting qucikly.
  4. Some cases the complete rest can be advised to the patient and the normal activity can begin only after the apporavl of the surgeon. Likewise in case of facila surgeries, feeding can be in the form of liquid diet so as to reduce impact due to chewing etc.

How long does it take to recover?

After surgery, you will have some pain to begin with. The nurses will give you pain-relieving medicine to help. There will be some swelling in the reconstructed body part. This gradually reduces over a few weeks. Depending on the type of surgery you’ve had, you may be in hospital for up to 7 days. You’ll feel tired when you get home and will need some help at first. Gradually build up what you can do. Ask your surgeon nurse if you’re unsure about what you can do and when. Your wounds will take about six weeks to heal fully. They may feel itchy during this time. After this you may be shown how to massage the scars to help keep your surgery part and skin supple. Over time scars will flatten and fade.

What is the price of the treatment in India?

In the most cases across many reputed hospitals, fix the price for reconstructive surgery is allows closes to 2015. In India, surgery for reconstruction is done at price that range b/w 75000 to 1.5 lakh. These high cost are distributed to take care of the medications prescribed, procedures conducted, Anesthesia fees as well the surgeons fee. Also, the price of treating scars may depend on the procedures that are undertaken in order to perform a scar revision. Most health insurances take care of scar revision because it is regarded to be cosmetic surgery.

Are the results of the treatment permanent?

No the results of reconstructive surgery treatment are not permanent. There could be certain late side effects as well like common over-the-counter. Surgery relievers might damage your kidneys, cause ulcers or increase your blood pressure. Aspirin can cause gastrointestinal bleeding, and acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) can cause liver damage if you take too much or drink alcohol while taking it.

What are the alternatives to the treatment?

Alternative reconstructive surgery treatments may not play a direct role in curing your surgery, but they may help you cope with signs and symptoms caused by surgery and surgery treatments Information on almost 200 different conditions and the conventional and natural treatments used to treat them, over 300 herbs and supplements, plus drug-herb and drug-supplement interactions for over 90 drug categories. Many alternative therapies have made their way into the mainstream, but how do you know what really works? From acupuncture to Vega testing, our monographs cover all the latest research on alternative therapies to help you make an educated decision on whether or not to use these therapies.

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Written ByDr. Santosh BhatiaMS - General Surgery,M. Ch. (Plastic Surgery),MBBS Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of SurgeryCosmetic/Plastic Surgery
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