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3 Reasons Why Facial Reconstruction Surgery May Be Needed

Trauma as well as genetic defects can cause the face to become disfigured. Thankfully, surgeons are able to repair these issues with facial reconstruction procedures. Here are three occasions where these techniques are implemented.

Cleft Palate And Cleft Lip

When an embryo is being formed in utero, the face forms by coming from each side and fusing together in the middle straight down center of the face. Rarely, this process can go wrong in the first trimester, causing the baby's lip or palate—the roof of the mouth—to remain partially open or split. This may be genetic as these conditions seem to run in families, or it may be caused by the mother smoking, drinking, or taking certain medications in early pregnancy. There is also evidence that maternal obesity or diabetes may play a role. Additionally, children who have Down's syndrome have a higher incidence of cleft palate and cleft lip.

A baby born with a cleft lip or palate must have surgery to correct the issues as it will obviously interfere with feeding and speech. A cleft lip or cleft palate can cause ear and dental problems as well. The baby will usually undergo surgery once they are about 9 months old, but this can vary based on the severity and location of the split.

Post-Cancer Facial Reconstruction

Oral cancers as well as skin tumors and melanomas can all create a need for facial reconstruction surgery. The type and degree of reconstruction will depend on the location and severity of the cancer or growth. In cases where large surface tumors are removed, skin grafts can be done to repair the area and return the face to a more normal state. Bone and muscle tissue as well as skin will be taken from another area of the body to help with the reconstruction process. Multiple surgeries are usually required.

Facial Reconstruction For Traumatic Injuries

When someone is involved in a motor vehicle accident, facial injuries are often common, especially in people who aren't wearing their seat belt. The impact from an air bag can also cause considerable damage to the face. Dog attacks and assault and battery incidents are other common causes requiring facial reconstruction surgery.

These sorts of injuries may cause severe lacerations to the skin, such as from windshield glass, but more often, it is the underlying bone foundation of the cheekbones, eye sockets, and nose than need to be realigned and rebuilt.

For more information about facial reconstructive surgery, reach out to a local surgeon.