According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, there were more than 17 million plastic surgery and minimally-invasive cosmetic procedures performed in the United States in 2016. While many of these procedures were performed for the sole purpose of improving appearance and boosting self-esteem, there is an entire area of plastic surgery that is performed for medical reasons.
Medical Reasons for Children to Have Plastic Surgery
Although you may not realize it, children often have medical needs that plastic surgery can correct. Some children are born with birth defects or syndromes that are best treated in childhood by plastic surgery. Pediatric plastic surgeons specialize in treating these conditions in children, and should have a board certification in this sub-specialty.
Here are some of the most common medical conditions treated by pediatric plastic surgeons:
- Cleft Palate
- Cleft Lip
- Craniofacial Surgery
- Congenital Hand Deformities
- Polydactyl (excess fingers and toes at birth)
- Syndactyly (webbing of fingers and toes)
Medical Procedures Plastic Surgeons Perform on Both Adults and Children:
- Burn Surgery (Acute and Reconstructive)
- Hand Surgery (Acute injuries and chronic diseases of the hand and wrist, congenital malformations, peripheral nerve problems)
- Microsurgery (Reconstruction of missing tissues by transferring another piece of tissue to the reconstruction site and reconnecting blood vessels)
- Microsurgery Sub-specialty Areas (breast reconstruction, hand surgery/re-attachment, brachial plexus surgery, head and neck reconstruction)
Some Common Medical Conditions Plastic Surgery Can Help
While we mostly think of the cosmetic surgeries that are performed by choice, to address appearance issues, these are some of the most common medical conditions plastic surgery can help:
- Breast Reconstruction: This procedure is primarily performed on women who are breast cancer survivors. It restores the natural contour of the body through the use of implants.
- Breast Reduction: Some women’s breasts are considered too large for their frame. The excess breast weight can result in back ailments.
- Removing Excess Skin: When a person loses a large amount of weight, they can sometimes need to have the excess skin removed from their bodies.
- Rhinoplasty: This procedure, often referred to as a “nose job” can correct sleep apnea and other breathing problems created by nasal abnormalities and obstructions.
- Skin Cancer: Removing skin cancer on the face area often requires a plastic surgeon to minimize damage, and repair the surface of the skin.
- Cleft Palate and Cleft Lip: As mentioned above, this is usually performed by pediatric plastic surgeons on children. Plastic surgery corrects these conditions, allowing the patient to eat, communicate, and breathe normally.
- Trauma Reconstruction: Whenever trauma occurs due to occurrences such as automobile accidents and burns, plastic surgeons are called upon to rebuild bone structure, repair the surface of the skin, or reconnect tissue (often, to restore use of a joint or limb). Reconstructive plastic surgeons perform these types of procedures.
The probability of insurance covering plastic surgery for medical needs is often high, depending on your coverage. Whenever plastic surgery must be employed to treat, cure or correct a medical ailment or problem, insurance regards them very differently than they would elective cosmetic surgery.
If you experience problems with insurance coverage, make sure your doctor communicates exactly what the medical need is for the procedure. This often results in the insurance company paying for all or part of the medical bill.
These are just a few of the plastic surgery procedures that can be performed to help resolve medical conditions. For more information on which plastic surgery procedures can help you to improve your life, and which medical plastic surgery procedures can be covered by your medical insurance, contact Dr. Louis Iorio of Iorio Plastic Surgery & Medspa. They have offices located throughout New Jersey, so contact the location nearest you, or request a consultation online..