Facial reconstructive surgery can address many cosmetic and functional concerns of the face, whether they are caused by traumatic injury, disease or congenital defects. Because the face is so closely associated with identity, the surgeon must consider the emotional component that accompanies each operation.
Cleft Lip Repair
Cleft lip occurs in approximately 1 of every 1,000 live births. A cleft lip can affect one side or both sides (unilateral or bilateral) of the lips, affecting the child's ability to eat, breathe and speak normally. Repair of cleft lip can be performed using multiple techniques. The general goal is to bring the cleft together, creating a natural appearing lip and nose.
Cleft Palate Repair
Cleft palate is a split in the tissues on the roof of the mouth, a condition that negatively affects a child's appearance and speech. While cleft palate occurs in combination with cleft lip, it can also occur as an isolated condition. Surgical repair typically takes place before the child can speak, preferably before the age of one. The goal is to close the cleft and create a barrier (or valve) that separates the oral and nasal cavities.
** Treatment of both cleft lip and cleft palate may involve a team of physicians to facilitate proper speech and development.
Skull fractures or deformities are surgically repaired in a procedure known as Cranioplasty. This surgery is often performed using synthetic implant materials or bone grafts to repair the fracture or defect. During cranioplasty for depressed skull fractures, an incision is made in the scalp, and the bone fragments are then reassembled or replaced.
Distraction Osteogenesis Jaw Lengthening
Gradual lengthening of the jaw can be achieved through the insertion of a distraction device, which mobilizes and then moves segments of the jawbone progressively outward. The procedure is used to correct skeletal defects (congenital or acquired) that affect the lower face.
Facial Fracture Repair
Reconstructive surgery can provide good facial form and function after a traumatic injury. Fractures are usually caused by events like assaults, motor vehicle accidents, falls, and gunshot wounds. Surgical techniques vary depending on where the fracture is located. Repair will often involve the placement of plate-and-screw fixation devices to stabilize the facial bones.
Facial Tumor Removal
Many different types of tumors can occur in the head and neck region. Treatment can involve radiation, chemotherapy or surgical removal. The goal when removing a facial tumor is to restore normal function and provide a satisfactory aesthetic result. This may require reconstructive techniques like skin grafting or a flap procedure.
Orthognathic (Jaw) Surgery
Misalignment of the teeth and jaws (malocclusion) can be treated with orthognathic surgery. In fact, surgery is the only option to correct the bite without severely compromising facial form. Although the majority of jaw surgery cases are not performed for cosmetic reasons, if the patient is going to have the jaws moved, the new bite should enhance facial aesthetics, as well.