Research Paper: Plastic Surgery in America

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[. . .] A cleft lip occurs when the skin of the upper lip does not completely connect while the person is still inside the uterus of its mother. The cleft begins in the skull of the individual. Since the medical procedures to remedy the issue of cleft lip and palette have become so common, infants with the condition usually have reconstructive surgery soon after their birth. This allows for the scars that result from surgery to heal before the child has developed enough to be psychologically damaged by the birth defect.

The treatment for cleft lip or palate is a surgery wherein the tissue of the face is trimmed by the surgeon and the lip is sewn together with sutures. The stitches are always very smile to ensure that the scar is as invisible as possible (Cleft). In most cases, the medical experts will insist that the surgery is performed approximately a year after the baby is born. The reason that the repair is not made immediately after birth is to allow for the development and growth of the child's mouth and palate. Researchers have been able to determine that if the surgery is performed too soon, then the child may likely have speech, respiration, or difficulties swallowing later on in life.

Before the modern research had been conducted into appropriate treatments for the condition, many people had to live with a cleft lip or palate. This created in these affected individuals some severe psychological trauma including anxiety and depression. They knew that they did not look like everyone else and were constantly reminded of this difference whenever they saw themselves or another person (Pope 351). Although the problem has been alleviated in the modern period in the United States, the situation is still a problem around the world. In many developing countries, the parents of infants do not have enough financial support or medical aid to repair the condition. Thus, cleft lip and palate, though easily remedied in the United States is still a problem on a universal level.

Craniofacial deformities can include other things than just a cleft palate and/or cleft lip. The term can also be applied to other deformities of the facial feature (Erhardt). Some nasal passages and passageways for breathing can be affected by physical deformities. These can lead to medical conditions such as sleep apnea. This condition leads to the patient having periods during their sleep where they stop breathing. It can lead directly to heart disease, stroke, and other medical conditions as well. Rhinoplasty, which is the medical procedure more commonly known as a "nose job" can be an effective means of treating these types of craniofacial deformities. This is interesting in that it is evidence that a plastic surgery treatment which is often associated with cosmetics and appearances can have more medically sound applications as well.

The hands are a very important part of the human anatomy. Quite often, the hands can be severely damaged through various injuries, congenital birth defects, or medical conditions and diseases. Some hand deformities which can be cured by surgery include syndactyl fingers, otherwise known as webbed fingers. Other medical conditions include carpal tunnel syndrome, nerve damage, and rheumatoid arthritis. There are also plastic surgeries which can alleviate problems like reattachment of limbs and fingers and also the removal of either malignant or benign tumors of the hands. These conditions can prevent the patient afflicted from using their hands via limited mobility or other issues (Reconstructive Hand). During reconstructive hand surgery, doctors will perform medical treatments which will return functionality to the appendage. Among the most frequent plastic surgery procedures which deal with reconstructive hand surgery include "resetting and repairing dislocations and fractures, repairing nerves and tendons, caring for burns, and reattaching missing digits" (Reconstructive Hand). This type of surgery is intricate and is sometimes unsuccessful in completely restoring function to the hand, but medical procedures are at least able to provide some relief to the patient who is suffering from a debilitating injury to the hand.

Scar revision is the process by which a person who has scars on various parts of their body can have these marks removed through plastic surgical procedures. A scar is a mass of fibrous tissue which appears on the body when it is healing from an injury (Scar). Scars can fade naturally over time but, depending on the severity of the scar, they can be permanent marks on the person's body. Because scar tissue is developed when the body is injured, the resulting mark will be stiffer and sometimes harder material than the natural skin. Many smaller scars can be removed with topical creams or lotions. However, if a scar is large or if the scar is internal, the material can be removed surgically.

Internal scar tissue can be very dangerous to the human body depending on where the material is located within the body. Scar tissue from within the body is usually the result of surgery that has been performed on the patient. After the surgery, whatever portion of the body that has been operated upon can develop scar matter around the areas of the procedure. The dangers of scar tissue are that the material can create "tethers, barriers, and adhesions to internal body structures pulling them out of place" (What is). When this occurs, the scar tissue creates bonds between parts of the body which had been unconnected up to that point. Whenever unnatural connections or ties are made in the body, there can be adverse affects to the rest of the patient. There is a difference between the tethering effect and the barrier effect of the formulation of scar tissue. When tethering occurs, body parts are unnaturally contracted and this can cause pain throughout the patient's body. The barrier effect of scar tissue can be far more dangerous to the patient than tethering. Scar tissue that forms a barrier creates a mass inside the body that does not heal properly. This can create a host of potential problems, including unnatural pressure on organs and other internal portions of the body and can make it very difficult to perform additional surgeries. Barrier scar tissue can become so severe that it could even cause reproductive difficulties in women preventing them from birthing children through vaginal delivery.

Plastic surgery can be used to treat skin cancer. Any malignant growths that occur on the scene can potentially be removed via the skills of trained dermatological surgeons. Cases of severe skin cancer can require more than one surgical procedure. When skin cancer treatment involves plastic surgery, it can be very difficult for the patient. Such specific procedures that can be conducted include the using of skin flaps or grafts from other portions of the body (Erhardt). In some cases of skin cancer which affect facial features such as the nose or lips, defects can become so large as to affect the respiratory and digestive systems. These cases would make plastic surgery not only beneficial, but necessary for the patient to have any hope of attaining normalcy in their lives.

Burn victims are one of the groups who most often benefit from reconstructive plastic surgery. Skin damage from burns, particularly damage to the face, can be almost as psychologically damaging as it is physically. For people who have had these kinds of traumas, the chance of potentially reclaiming a semblance of their old lives can be the difference between a life spent in despair and hope for the future. Treatment of burn victims is a three-step process. It requires recovery, reconstruction, and restoration (Reconstructive Burn). In the recovery stage, patients are prepared for physical recovery by undergoing some counseling or psychiatric treatment. The next step is reconstruction which involves the actual surgery on the patient. Burn surgery includes skin grafts and flaps such as in skin cancer treatments. After this, the final step is restoration which is wherein the patient is restored to what would have been his or her normal life.

Doctors believe that it is best to perform reconstructive surgery as soon after the incident as possible because the scar tissue has not yet had the chance to fully form. This is most often considered to be within the first six months after the incident. This assists in recovery, but can require more surgeries than if the patient waits until after the six-month point to have reconstructive surgery. Unfortunately, many patients are under the initial impression that their burns will be completely erased by reconstructive surgery (Reconstructive Burn). In motion pictures, when the hero or heroine is burned in some tragic accident, they are always able to be restored to their original selves after having medical procedures. This is unrealistic and surgeons state that an unrealistic idea of the results of the procedure will invariable lead to a failure for eventual recovery.

There are many psychological benefits to providing plastic surgeries for people who have had medical issues. One such individual was named Michael Hatfield who… [END OF PREVIEW]

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APA Format

Plastic Surgery in America.  (2011, December 8).  Retrieved March 19, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/plastic-surgery-america/1526598

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"Plastic Surgery in America."  8 December 2011.  Web.  19 March 2019. <https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/plastic-surgery-america/1526598>.

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"Plastic Surgery in America."  Essaytown.com.  December 8, 2011.  Accessed March 19, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/plastic-surgery-america/1526598.