Upper and Lower Extremity
Injury to the arms and legs can be painful and deeply traumatic, affecting not only your form but also your function as well. However, specialized, complex surgery is possible to help reconstruct injured arms and legs through the use of microvascular techniques and tissue transfer. The reconstructive surgeons at Cold Spring Plastic Surgery can help you to restore the appearance and function of your arms through innovative, advanced procedures.
When is Upper or Lower Extremity Reconstruction Used?
The reconstruction of the arm, hand, leg or foot is a surgical technique that can help to restore function after lesions, injuries or other wounds to the extremities. Some common types of limb damage that can be treated with arm and leg reconstructive surgery include a loss of skin in a location, exposure of the bone due to trauma or a failed fracture repair, the removal of a tumor or lesion in the arm or leg, or ongoing bone infections that have not responded to treatment.
These procedures can help to salvage an injured limb. The reconstructive surgeons at Cold Spring Plastic Surgery can work with you and with other physicians to develop an advanced understanding of your unique condition, including using radiological scans to gain a full view of the internal situation of the affected limb and treating infectious diseases like osteomyelitis, septic arthritis or other bone infections.
Arm and leg reconstruction can also treat malunions or nonunions, when bones come together improperly or painfully, especially following trauma. Malunions and nonunions can happen to both children and adults and can prevent the proper use and function of the arm and leg. By using arm or leg reconstruction surgery, you can help to restore the alignment, length and stability of your limb and return to activity. In some cases, patients could be at risk of amputation due to missing bones, traumas or tumors. This kind of surgery can help to avoid amputation and restore your damaged limb.
How is Arm and Leg Reconstruction Performed?
The specific technique used to treat a damaged arm or leg will vary from person to person and relate to the type of injury suffered. In general, however, this type of reconstructive surgery will be performed under general anesthesia. Damaged tissue will be removed from the arm or leg, while other tissue, muscle and skin from the limb or from another area of the body will be transplanted to replace the unrecoverable limb tissue. This type of autologous tissue transplant comes from your own body and can help to create healing and renewed function even after severe injuries.
These techniques can help to foster the growth of additional skin and tissue, especially necessary to provide coverage of exposed bone, deep tissue or nerves.
By closing with grafting skin or using tissue transfer, your reconstructive surgeon can protect these vital areas of your limb and help to prevent additional injury.
In the case of severely damaged bones, bone fixation can be an important part of arm and leg reconstruction. Bone fixation can include nailing, plating and the use of fine wire fixating. Fine wires can be used to correct bone deformities, treat bone loss after infection or a tumor, treat osteomyelitis or repair acute traumas to the bone, including fractures that have been resistant to traditional healing and repair.
There may be multiple stages of surgery involved as bone growth is promoted in the affected area. New bone growth will also require external support as it is soft and gradually becomes stronger over time.
What Is Recovery Like After Arm or Leg Reconstruction?
The recovery period for these reconstructive procedures can be lengthy and include physical therapy and rehabilitation in order to fully restore the function, sensitivity and use of the damaged limb. Results can depend on your overall health, the length of time that the damage persisted and the situation of the limb before the reconstructive surgery. Your surgeon will provide detailed information about how best to care for the affected limb during your recovery period in order to foster growth and provide protection.
Arm and leg reconstruction can substantially improve the quality of life for people dealing with injured limbs; these procedures can also help to avoid joint replacement surgery or protect and salvage a limb that has been traumatically damaged.
What Can I Learn At an Arm and Leg Reconstruction Consultation?
When you come in for a consultation at Cold Spring Plastic Surgery, our experienced surgeons will review your medical condition with you and the history of treatment for the affected limb. They will examine your arm or leg and the medical records and scans for the limb in order to determine the cause of the damage and the best techniques possible to provide treatment and successful relief. Your reconstructive surgeon will present a detailed discussion of the procedure to be used in your surgery and how it can affect the appearance and function of your arm and leg. In addition, you will be able to ask all of your questions about the risks of the procedure, the recovery time involved and the next steps possible to improve your health. Your surgeon will assess your candidacy for the procedure; for people who are smokers, tissue transplant procedures can be difficult, so it can be important to stop smoking before your reconstructive surgery.
It is always important to receive thorough treatment for the underlying condition that has led to the trauma. Whether this is an infection, advanced diabetes or other issues, your surgeon will work with you and your other physicians to ensure that you are receiving complete health care.
Schedule a Consultation
The plastic and reconstructive surgeons at Cold Spring Plastic Surgery will consult with you about how arm and leg reconstruction could improve your life. Call us or use our online form to make an appointment at our convenient Huntington office in Suffolk County on Long Island. We work with patients across the country and around the world, and we look forward to speaking with you.