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About six million people nationwide have undergone reconstructive surgery believed to be impossible just a decade ago. An estimated one million reconstructive surgery procedures are performed every year, helping patients of all ages achieve improved functioning and to attain a more "normal" appearance. There is a wide range of problems necessitating reconstructive surgery, but most patients will have reconstructive surgery because of congenital deformities or developmental deformities.
Congenital deformities are birth defects and developmental deformities have been suffered because of an accident, infection, disease, or aging. According to surgeons, reconstructive surgery has reached points no one ever believed it could. In the 1950s, a surgeon first started to experiment with microsurgery by replacing and restoring function to severed fingers. What reconstructive surgery is now able to achieve has been remarkable and is now one of the most exciting breakthroughs in plastic surgery.
By the 1980s, reconstructive surgery advanced far beyond microsurgery. Researchers began to perfect optics and tools allowing doctors to see and stitch together thread thin vessels. In addition, reconstructive surgery was able to utilize advanced understanding of how tissue lives and received blood. According to reconstructive surgery experts, material has now been developed to suture the vessels that are one-half the diameter of a strand of human hair.
While any form of plastic surgery cannot achieve complete perfection, the availability of reconstructive surgery and the great many advances that have been made in the field has allowed millions of patients left with extensive deformities to greatly improve form and appearance. Reconstructive surgery is performed by plastic surgeons, though it is much different than cosmetic surgery, which is performed on normal body structures intended to improve aesthetic beauty. The advancement in technology is allowing for researchers to experiment with reconstructive surgery procedures that may further open up the way reconstructive surgery is performed in the future.
Researchers hope reconstructive surgery will lead to doctors being able to transplant hands or arms the way that a donated organ is transplanted. In Canada, a researcher has been experimenting with total facial reconstructive surgery, which is aimed at replacing the entire faces of people that have been severely disfigured by burns, birth defects, or any other accident. These modern treatment options being researched is far beyond what anyone thought would be possible stemming from simple microsurgery.
Reconstructive surgery commonly corrects surface wounds and is also regularly used to treat cancerous and non-cancerous growths and the problems with the supporting structures beneath the skin. Cancer patients already have to face large battles with fighting against the disease, getting through treatment methods, and then dealing with the post cancer time. For cancer patients, reconstructive surgery can allow for a lesser degree of stress and worry for one aspect.
As reconstructive surgery capabilities continue to expand, the benefits it has provided for so many millions of patients has been remarkable.