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Facial Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery

Reconstructive plastic surgery is sometimes required as part of the comprehensive treatment of diseases of the head, neck and mouth in order to repair the wound or “defect” that results from surgery or other treatments. Fortunately, even extensive defects can be corrected using advanced reconstructive surgical techniques and materials (reconstructive surgery is different from cosmetic plastic surgery because it corrects the function and appearance of injured or abnormal facial structures as opposed to enhancing appearances for strictly cosmetic purposes).

The Head and Neck Cancer Center works in tandem with the Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Center at the Tulane University School of Medicine to provide advanced facial reconstructive options for the repair of complex defects from cancer surgery and traumatic injuries.  The Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Center is also a resource for surgical procedures to mitigate the impact of parotid surgery or scars incurred from surgery, traumatic injury or skin cancer surgery.

Reconstructive Procedures

  • Facial Reconstruction after Head and Neck cancer surgery
  • Facial re-animation
  • Revision of surgical scars
  • Revision of thyroid surgical scars
  • Revision of wound scars
  • Correction of post-parotid surgery facial defects (parotid defect)
  • Revision of burn-related scars and skin contractures
  • Mohs surgery reconstruction
  • Repair of traumatic injuries to the face and head
  • Corrective procedures for facial deformities
  • Skin Cancer Surgery
  • Mohs micrographic surgery
  • Surgery for melanoma

Facial Reconstruction after Head and Neck Cancer Surgery
Facial reconstruction after head and neck surgery is one of the procedures used to assist patients with regaining control of their muscles for functional purposes and to improve their cosmetic appearance. Facial paralysis can result from traumatic injury, tumors, disease, or a surgical event; this can lead to problems with chewing, drinking, breathing or speaking, as well as problems with normal facial expressions. Facial reconstruction surgery is focused on restoring the most natural look possible while repairing nerve damage and providing facial symmetry and function. This process often takes several procedures, spaced apart to allow for healing and for the nerves to grow and reconnect. The degree to which this surgery can restore facial symmetry and function is often determined by the extent and complexity of the cancer surgery.

Facial Reanimation
Trauma, infectious disease, neurological conditions, or facial or oral cavity surgery can damage facial nerves resulting in varying degrees of facial paralysis that can affect facial appearance and proper facial functioning. Facial reanimation surgery can improve facial appearance as well as facial function, resulting in an improved appearance and quality of life. Several surgeries, spaced over time, may be needed to restore the maximum facial reanimation possible.

Revision of Surgical Scars and Traumatic Wound Scars
Scarring may result from a burn, traumatic injury or surgical event. The technique utilized in the revision process is determined by the location, size, shape and depth of the scar, skin condition, and overall health status of the patient. Options include primary closure, secondary intention, flaps, grafts, and delayed closure.

Skin Cancer Surgery
Treatment for skin cancer is regularly performed by Plastic and Reconstructive surgeons who are specialists in the removal of skin cancer and who can simultaneously correct any scarring that may result from the surgery. The surgical method chosen depends upon the type, size and location of the tumor. The most common surgical treatment for skin cancer is Mohs Surgery.

Mohs Surgery is a specialized and highly effective technique for removing many types of skin cancer on the surface of the skin and any roots below the skin and is considered to be the most accurate method for the removal of basal and squamous cell carcinomas. It allows for the identification and removal of the entire malignancy with the least amount of damage to the surrounding healthy tissue. Although Mohs surgery leaves the smallest possible scars of any skin cancer treatment a scar will remain after the surgical area has healed; facial reconstructive plastic surgery can minimize the impact of the scar and help to restore your original appearance.

Melanoma Surgery
Melanoma is a form of skin cancer that is less common than other types of skin cancer but is much more serious and is the most likely to spread. Melanomas may appear on any portion of the skin, and may develop at the site of an existing mole or birthmark. As with other types of cancer melanomas start when normal cells change to become abnormal and then spread to the surrounding area. A melanoma may appear as a flat, brown or black mole with irregular edges or an asymmetrical shape. Unlike a normal mole a melanoma can change color, size, or the shape of its border, and can present as a raised, pebbled or rounded section of skin, and / or become scaled or bleed. If left untreated the tumor can spread into surrounding tissue, the nearby lymph nodes or to internal organs. Please refer to the Melanoma Surgery specialty.

Make an Appointment

To make an appointment or schedule a second opinion consultation please contact our Patient Representative.

Head and Neck Surgery Specialists   504.988.1965   1.888.284.3726   headandnecksurgery@tulane.edu