Oncological reconstructive plastic surgery aims to aesthetically recover some part of the body that has suffered from other procedures, such as curative or partial surgery. It is also done to restore the function of an organ or part of the body after cancer removal surgery. In the case of cancer patients, the procedures in which it is most applied are in breast, skin, as well as head and neck cancer surgeries.
Types of reconstructive plastic surgery
- Breast reconstruction
In total mastectomy, three techniques can be used: placement of prostheses, expanders and use of skin flaps, but it all depends on the size of the resection. If a lot of skin is removed, it is necessary to resort to another region of the body; when more breast tissue (made up of glands, ducts and fat) than skin is removed, a prosthesis and expanders are the best option.
Expanders are implanted in women who did not retain enough space for prosthesis placement at first. They are a kind of empty prostheses, which are filled with saline solution for the skin to gradually sag. When they reach the ideal volume, the expanders are replaced by silicone prostheses.
The placement of prostheses is similar to cosmetic procedures. The difference is that they are implanted behind the muscle, for greater support, since the breast no longer has all the tissues.
- Skin Reconstruction
In skin cancer, the plastic surgeon can directly perform the procedure for the resection (removal) of the cancer or work together with an oncological surgeon, seeking the best possible aesthetic result. In the same surgery, the professional applies plastic surgery techniques to close the area from which the tumor was removed, or even perform a skin graft from another region of the body.
The modality chosen varies depending on the type and extent of the disease, but usually most basal cell or squamous cell carcinomas can be treated with simple procedures, such as excisional surgery: removal of the tumor with a scalpel, as well as an additional edge. of healthy skin, as a safety margin. The technique has high cure rates, and can be used in the case of recurrent tumors.
Usually, these are surgeries performed with local anesthesia only, other times, with local anesthesia under sedation, and the patient is discharged on the same day. The excision (removal) of the lesion and reconstructive plastic surgery are performed at the same surgical time and with local skin flaps.
The surgical product is then sent for pathological analysis to confirm the safety margins and, thus, a cure is established.
- Head and neck
Reconstructive plastic surgery aims to correct deforming lesions, congenital or acquired defects. Through the reestablishment of the form and function of the affected area, it promotes the improvement of the quality of life and the rehabilitation of patients. Examples: reconstruction of the mandible, restoring movement in this area; correction of surgical scars; symmetrization and improvement of facial balance; correction of hair and hair flaws, among others.
Possible adverse effects in reconstructive plastic surgery
- Breasts – In the first few months, you may experience some side effects, such as swelling, fatigue, tenderness and pain in the breasts, in addition to limited movement. Autologous reconstruction has a longer recovery time than implants. It is worth remembering that the breasts will not have the same sensitivity. At least for the first few years. Then she can go back little by little.
- Skin, Head and Neck – The development of a hematoma is the most common complication of plastic surgery, which occurs due to the accumulation of blood in the operated region, causing swelling and pain. Also, because blood vessels break during surgery. Thrombosis, opening of stitches, infection, scar asymmetry, among other side effects may occur.