Based on their advanced understanding of human anatomy, plastic surgeons rearrange body parts as needed for cosmetic purposes OR, to reconstruct defects. For example, techniques to lift and rearrange skin for a more youthful facial appearance (facelift) are similar to skin rearrangement for closing a hole left by removal of skin cancer on the face. Using a surgical microscope, plastic surgeons can transfer one part of your body to another location if needed to fill a hole left by trauma, removal of cancer, or to reconstruct a birth defect.
The “donor” part is detached with the blood vessels keeping it alive, and those small vessels are re-attached by suturing them under a surgical microscope to blood vessels at the “recipient” site so the transferred part stays alive with circulation from blood vessels in its new location.
In one recent case, Dr. Steve Laverson, a San Diego Plastic Surgeon evaluated a 49 year old motorcyclist who lost skin, connective tissue, and fat from his heel when the area was avulsed during an accident. The heel is covered by specialized skin important for weight bearing and mobility. Back skin contains durable connective tissue, thick enough to substitute for what was lost on his foot. Using extra skin, fat, and connective tissue from his back along with the small blood vessels supplying that “donor” area, the vessels were re-connected to an artery and vein at his ankle to move back skin to the left heel where it was needed. During the next two months, the back skin healed to surrounding tissue on the foot and contoured over the heel to cover the area and reconstruct his injury. Not all plastic surgery is cosmetic !
From his wife: “Yayyyyyyy!!!!!!!! It’s just amazing”