Stephen McCulley, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeon. MBChb, FCS(SA)Plast, FRCS(plast)

Reconstructive Surgery Can Change A Life

Advances in medicine over the past decades have meant that doctors and surgeons have the capacity to change lives in a way that would have been deemed impossible as little as 40 years ago. One such advancement has been the development of reconstructive surgery to restore parts of the human body that may have been lost to either illness or an accident. These days, such stories are common, but it still remains a minor miracle that the technology and skills exists to repair and restore anatomy in this way.

There have been a couple of high profile cases that have caught the public’s imagination recently, both of which highlight the good work plastic and cosmetic surgeons are capable of doing. The first of these involved a girl in America who had part of face chewed off by a racoon when she younger. She has recently had the first of a series of operations scheduled over the next two years to reconstruct her face and nose. The surgeons took tissue with a blood supply from Charlotte’s forearm to create a lining for her nose. An extremely complex and delicate procedure, the operation has been hailed as a success thus far. It is hoped that over time, the girl will be able to look like any other girl and not become a victim of bullying as a result of her appearance.

Another case in America has seen a local woman undergo a life changing breast reconstruction surgery. The woman has lived with just a single breast following a battle with cancer when she was just 24. At the time, some 17 years ago, breast reconstruction was not common place and was never mentioned to her as a possibility. Nowadays, it is an option available to all women and the surgeon who performed the reconstruction, posted it on his website to better inform cancer sufferers of their procedure. The woman’s surgery was a success and a whole new world now awaits her. She will now be able to do things that so many of us take for granted in terms of how we go about our lives. For this woman, the ability to wear a dress had been taken away from her by her cancer. Now, thanks to the reconstruction, she will be able to have the confidence to go out in such clothes again.

There seems to be no end of plastic surgery stories making the papers these days, but stories like the both of these show the true value of what qualified and skilled surgeons can do. Both of these people’s whole lives will now change for the better as a result of their procedures. Whilst we are still unable to find a cure for cancer, the fact that we have these options available to people who have gone through it is a testament to the growing advancements in both medicine and reconstructive surgery.

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