The Cleveland Clinic

Reconstructive Surgery

Do you have a child who was born with a birth defect, such as harelip and cleft palate? Are you a woman who has undergone a mastectomy? Or, perhaps you've experienced a traumatic injury or disease that has permanently affected some part of your body that you want fixed.

Reconstructive surgery can help repair the part of your body that is affected from any of these issues. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, nearly one million reconstructive surgery procedures are performed each year.

What Are the Different Types of Reconstructive Surgery Procedures?

If you can imagine how many injuries, birth defects or disfigurement issues arise in our imperfect lives, there is a procedure that can help improve the problem, whatever it may be.

  • Breast reconstruction or reduction . These procedures are available for women who have undergone a mastectomy or for women who have abnormally large breasts that are causing back problems or other related health issues; men also undergo breast reduction.
  • Surgeries for feet and hands. This surgery is available for people affected by any number of maladies, including tumors (cancerous and non-cancerous); webbed toes or fingers; extra fingers or toes. People also can receive treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome.
  • Wound care. For individuals who have been severely burned or cut, skin grafts or other reconstructive techniques are available.
  • Appendage replacement. These procedures are performed for those individuals who may have lost an arm, leg or any other body part in an accident or as a result of a birth defect.
  • Microsurgery or flap procedures. These surgeries can be performed to replace parts of the body affected by injury or disease, such as cancer.
  • Facial surgeries. These can be performed to correct cleft palate , hare lip, breathing problems or chronic infections, such as those that affect the sinuses, or even snoring. Plastic surgeons can also correct facial deformities.

How Will the Surgeon Evaluate My Case?

Like your issue that you want corrected, your procedure will be very individual. Your surgeon will take a detailed medical history and evaluate your case based on your desired results and medical necessity.

For example, do you have a traumatic burn that affects underlying muscles and impacts your mobility? Have you had cancer and require surgery to multiple body parts? He or she will evaluate the severity of your case and advise you on the available options.

Like the procedures themselves, there are multiple surgical methods to achieve the desired results. Your surgeon will help you weigh all the options and the two of you can decide together which one best suits you.

Will Insurance Cover Reconstructive Surgery?

Unlike elective cosmetic procedures, insurance carriers do cover reconstructive surgery. To be safe, be sure to have your surgeon write a letter and take photos detailing your case.

Reviewed by the doctors at The Cleveland Clinic, Department of Plastic Surgery.
Edited by Charlotte E. Grayson , MD, Sept. 2003.

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The Cleveland Clinic 2000-2003.



Last Editorial Review: 1/31/2005 7:06:08 AM