Post Cancer Reconstruction
Cancer treatments can sometimes damage the function of body parts or their appearance. It might result in scars, defects, or deformities caused by the disease or due to the surgical procedures. In such conditions, reconstructive surgeons, also called plastic surgeons, are here for you and can help in correcting, reconstructing, and restoring the physical defects caused due to cancer or its treatment.
Reconstructive surgeons might perform skin resurfacing, muscle flaps, bone or tendon grafts, use artificial implants to replace a damaged body part, or transplant bone or tissue to restore an area that was removed. These procedures can improve the appearance of a patient by reducing scars or disfigurement or repair the damaged body parts. These surgeries can help cancer patients to regain their self-confidence and self-respect, especially after undergoing treatment for breast, head and neck cancers.
How Does Reconstructive Surgery Work?
Mostly reconstructive surgeons prefer microvascular techniques, also called “free flap surgery.” In this procedure, the plastic surgeon extracts tissues and blood vessels from other parts of the patient’s body and transplants them to the damaged part. The surgeon joins these blood vessels by small stitches that are visible only through microscopes. The stitches combine the tissue and blood vessels with existing ones at the treated site.
For instance, head and neck surgery after cancer changes the shape of the jawbone. A plastic surgeon might transplant the bone from the leg to face. This helps to restore the shape of the jawbone and its function. There are different types of reconstructive surgeries.
With the help of a high-magnification microscope, the plastic surgeon uses the patient’s own tissues and reconstructs the body parts affected by cancer. This is termed as reconstructive microsurgery. Using a patient’s own tissue helps promote faster healing, reduces scarring, and looks more natural after reconstruction. The technique also minimizes the damage to the donor site where tissue is removed. It provides better surgical results, faster recovery, and fewer complications.
Head & Neck Cancer Microsurgery
Plastic surgeons can reconstruct the affected parts like the head and neck due to cancer through reconstructive microsurgery. It is possible to reconstruct the parts like nose, tongue, or throat with the help of free flap tissues taken from other body parts like the thigh, abdomen, or forearm. The lower jawbone might be reconstructed using fibula (the smaller bone) from the lower leg. For patients, removal of the tumour might experience facial paralysis; in such cases, the transfer of a small muscle taken from the patient’s inner thigh is done to restore the smile.
Reconstructive Microsurgery For Breast Cancer
Plastic surgeons reconstruct the breast using a woman’s own tissue. After breast reconstruction, the person experiences a natural look and feel. DIEP – deep inferior epigastric artery perforator flap is a technique for breast reconstruction.
In this procedure, skin and tissue are taken from the abdomen during reconstruction. Women who undergo flap breast reconstruction might experience minimal pain and a shorter recovery period than other techniques. Damage to the donor site is reduced. Intestinal wall integrity and strength are maintained in this procedure.
Oncoplastic Breast Conservation Surgery
Oncoplastic breast conservation surgery is a combination of procedures. It adds an aesthetic approach to lumpectomy by reconstructing the breast to give a natural look and feel.
This is a surgery designed to remove cancer while preventing unwarranted scarring after surgery and radiation. Reconstructive procedures such as breast lift, breast reduction, or flap procedures are standard surgical techniques. To create or improve symmetry, plastic surgeons sometimes alter the shape of the other breast.
Artificial implants are used to replace the damaged body part, including breast, testicular, and penile implants. Reconstructive surgeries and reconstructive microsurgeries, both show tremendous improvement in the health and well-being of cancer patients.