Facial reconstruction is a surgical process by which any deformities of the face or head are repaired. How this is accomplished depends on the patient’s condition, as well as the cause and severity of the deformity. Surgical repairs of this sort involve the areas of the skull and cranium, as well as the surrounding tissues such as the brain, eyes, facial bones, cranial nerves and facial skin. Procedures of this nature are performed in order to correct birth defects such as cleft palates or lips, Moebius syndrome or craniosynostosis, as well as to repair a variety of injuries that may have happened to the head, face or jaw of a patient, such as though a car accident or because of a tumor. It is a long surgical procedure, often lasting anywhere from four to 12 hours. The patient is placed under anesthesia during the surgery, where some of the bones of the face are shifted, or bone grafts may be inserted to fill in places where bone loss may have occurred. Sometimes the bones may have to be screwed together to hold them in place while the healing process takes effect. Plastic surgeons and neurosurgeons often work alongside one another during facial reconstructions, due to the complexity of the surgery, since tissues are often moved and blood vessels and nerves need to be reconnected.
The recovery time for procedures such as this is approximately two days in the Intensive Care Unit to begin, with the patient able to leave the hospital after one week, and approximately 6 weeks for complete healing. It is not uncommon for more than one surgery to be needed, depending on the extent of the trauma involving the facial area that needs to be reconstructed. Once the procedure is fully completed and healed, the patient can resume their lives with a renewed confidence in their cosmetic appearance.