Plastic Surgery Spotlight
Plastic and reconstructive surgery is one of 24 surgical specialties recognized by the American College of Surgeons and the American Board of Medical Specialties. Serving patients with a wide variety of concerns, it includes both cosmetic surgery (also called aesthetic surgery) to improve appearance as well as reconstructive surgery to restore form and function.
The word "plastic" is from the Greek word "plastikos" which translated means "to form" or "to mold." Nearly four thousand surgeons in the United States have been specially certified to perform plastic surgery operations. Board certification means that the surgeon has spent a specified number of years in training and has passed a rigorous examination given by a jury of surgical peers.
What We Do - Patient Photos
Scott & White began offering plastic surgery services in 1966. Since that time, we've developed a proud tradition of excellence in serving patients both at home and abroad.
The sections below highlight just a few of the thousands of patients we've helped. Simply put, that's what we do.
- Cleft lip and palate surgery - Lori
- Cosmetic surgery - Ola
- Craniofacial surgery - Dyana
- Treat disfiguring and debilitating burns
- Replantation - Troy
- Post-traumatic reconstruction - Garland
- Help disadvantaged people abroad - Cleft lip repair in El Salvador
Lori was born with a bilateral cleft lip and palate, two related deformities that can occur separately or together. A cleft lip is a birth defect manifest by an opening in the upper lip between the mouth and the nose. A cleft palate results when a lack of tissue development leaves an opening in the roof of the mouth. Without surgery, these disfiguring defects create feeding difficulties, speech impediment, hearing loss and abnormal dental development. Children like Lori can become social outcasts because of their appearance and speech problems. Many times, conditions like these pose financial and social hardships for a patient's family.
Today, complex surgery can be performed to close the openings in the lip and palate, enhance hearing and alter dentition. This permits these unfortunate patients to have a more normal life. Lori has had six operations and numerous other procedures to improve her appearance and function. She attends school and enjoys being with friends.
Usually, the defects are multifactortal and cannot be linked to a specific cause. However, in some cases the defects may be hereditary. Investigations continue to improve methods and equipment used for care of these patients.
Ola consulted her plastic surgeon hoping to rejuvenate her brow, upper eyelids and sagging cheeks and neck. She underwent surgery for her forehead, face and lower eyelids. After surgery, she had a much improved appearance and was very pleased with her results.
Dyana was born with a disfiguring birth defect termed plagiocephaly, an asymmetrical and twisted condition of the head, resulting from the skull bones not growing properly. Without surgery, this malady may impair mental development and visual function. These children also can become social outcasts because of their appearance. A patient's family can also suffer from the financial and social burdens created by these deformities.
Fortunately, extensive craniofacial surgery can be performed, reshaping the skull and facial bones, giving a more normal appearance. Dyana requires only one surgical procedure to correct this problem. She now attends school and is developing normally.
While progress has been made in the last few years in treating patients like Dyana, researchers are still left with questions: How and why do these craniofacial deformities develop? Can bone growth be controlled or altered? What are good bone substitutes that can replace diseased bone? Plastic surgery training and research continues in hope of finding answers.
Children and adults alike are victims of severe second and third degree burns that are disfiguring and debilitating. Skin grafts are often required to close these wounds, and researchers have developed skin-culturing techniques to treat large burns. Sometimes reconstruction can be performed by expanding normal skin with a tissue-expansion device and using this expanded skin to improve the results. How can we strengthen the new skin? What will reduce scar formation? Developing and learning new techniques will help these patients face the world and have a brighter future.
During a rodeo performance, Troy's right thumb was pulled off by a rope. He was immediately transported to the hospital where he underwent four and one-half hours of surgery in which the thumb was replanted. He has returned to his work and once again participates in rodeo.
Many advances have been made over the past 20 years in the area of microsurgery. Patients with amputated body parts have an increasing chance of successful replantation. The plastic surgery community is studying ways to prolong the survival time of amputated parts and improve the results after rehabilitation.
Garland sustained several cuts and broken facial bones while operating a front-end loader. Extensive surgery was required to repair multiple fractures and lacerations on his face. He was able to return to work and his normal daily activities. A second operation was later necessary to achieve an optimal result.
Wire or very small plates and screws are used to reduce and stabilize broken facial bones. Research continues to find better materials that are sturdy and yet can't be felt though the skin.
Plastic surgeons from Scott & White donate their time and expertise to help less fortunate people in other countries who would otherwise not receive the needed care.
This photograph was taken in just one such circumstance in El Salvador. The child is being held by a very grateful mother as she talks with the surgeon following cleft lip repair for the child.
Although donated money is not used for these acts of mercy, the learned skills and methods are used to help the needy.