Reconstructive surgery is any surgery performed in order to correct functional impairments. These functional impairments can be caused by burns, traumatic injuries, facial fractures and breaks, congenital abnormalities, cleft palates or cleft lips, also from developmental abnormalities, or abnormalities caused by infections and diseases that can include cancer or tumors. While reconstructive surgery is usually performed in order to improve normal function it may also be done to approximate a normal appearance.
The most common reconstructive procedures are tumor removal, laceration repair, scar repair, hand surgery, and breast reduction. In is notable that breast reductions can be done on both female and male patients.
Some other common reconstructive surgical procedures include breast reconstruction that may be considered following a mastectomy. As mentioned, cleft lip and palate surgery, contracture surgery for burn survivors, and for creating a new outer ear when one is congenitally absent or lost due to injury.
Reconstructive surgeons use microsurgery in order to transfer tissue for coverage of a defect when no local tissue is available. Free flaps of skin, muscle, bone, fat, or a combination may be removed from the body, moved to another site on the body, and reconnected to a blood supply by suturing arteries and veins as small as one to two millimeters in diameter.