Reconstructive Surgery

WOUND CARE

Helping Mother Nature Heal Your Wounds

If you have suffered a severe wound, plastic surgery can help to improve the aesthetics and function of the wound site. While wound healing is a natural process of the body, that doesn’t mean it’s simple or even predictable. As a result, a multidisciplinary approach is often needed. Dr. Ghaznavi can work in conjunction with other medical specialists to ensure that every aspect of healing is addressed.

Plastic Surgery Options for Burns or Wounds

Plastic surgery and microsurgery often go hand in hand, and this additional technical knowledge base is often essential for ensuring optimum wound healing. As a plastic surgeon with microsurgery experience, Dr. Ghaznavi can perform tissue transfers, skin grafts and other complex procedures to comprehensively heal a wound. If your wound is severe, you may have to undergo debriding to remove dead tissue prior to reconstructive surgery. Once debriding has been completed, Dr. Ghaznavi may suggest the following procedures, based on your specific needs:

Skin Grafts

Skin grafts are often used for burn patients. They can also be used during breast or nose reconstruction, and for extensive areas of trauma, extensive skin loss due to infection, and removal of large skin cancers. In this procedure, skin is removed from one area of the body and transplanted to another. There are two types of skin grafts: split-thickness grafts in which just a few layers of outer skin are transplanted and full-thickness grafts, which involve all of the dermis.

During a skin graft, a special skin-cutting instrument removes the skin from an area usually hidden by clothing such as the buttocks or inner thigh. This skin graft is then placed on the wound, and both the graft and wound site are dressed and closed with stitches. A split-thickness graft will be fully recovered in about three weeks, while a full-thickness skin graft may take additional time to heal.

Microsurgery

If you lose a piece or all of a finger, toe, ear or even a lip, microsurgery may allow for those to be re-attached. The surgeon uses a microscope for surgical assistance during the procedures to see the tiny blood vessels or nerves. This view allows him to sew and repair damaged nerves and arteries. Microsurgery may also be used to relieve facial paralysis or reconstruct breasts or during the free flap procedure.

Free Flap Procedure

A free flap procedure is often performed during breast reconstruction or following surgery that results in the loss of a large amount of tissue. During the procedure, muscle, skin and tissue are transferred along with the original blood supply from one area of the body to reconstruct the damaged area. The procedure often involves the use of microsurgery. It takes approximately six to eight weeks for the surgical site to completely heal.

Tissue Expansion

Tissue expansion is a procedure that encourages the growth and expansion of skin. This is accomplished by inserting an instrument known as a “balloon expander” under the skin near the damaged area. Over time, the balloon will be gradually filled with saline to slowly cause the skin to stretch and grow. Once enough extra skin has been grown, it is then used to correct or reconstruct a damaged body part. This procedure is especially common for breast reconstruction. Tissue expansion works well because the skin color and texture are a near-perfect match for the area where it will be used and there is minimal scarring. Unfortunately, it can take as long as four months to “grow” the skin.

Issues That May Inhibit Wound Healing

There are a number of issues that could contribute to difficulty in proper wound healing, including:

  • Diabetes (Type I or Type II)

  • Radiation therapy following surgery

  • Neuropathy

  • Peripheral vascular disease

  • Jagged wound edges due to trauma

  • Location of the wound

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Visit AMG Plastic Surgery to experience compassionate, personalized care from our board certified surgeon.

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