Reconstructive Plastic Surgery for Military Veterans

Plastic surgery may be mainstream, however many do not realize that a form of plastic surgery, reconstructive plastic surgery, helps many people, like military veterans, achieve a normal life. Reconstructive plastic surgery is a type of plastic surgery performed on abnormal structures of the body caused by such things as developmental abnormalities, trauma, infection or disease. Reconstructive plastic surgery is generally performed to improve body functions, but may also be used for the patient to achieve a normal physical appearance.

More than 40,000 U.S. military servicemen and servicewomen have returned from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan with emotional and physical scars from life-altering injuries, including limb loss and severe disfigurement. Consequentially, the number of veterans having reconstructive surgery with board certified plastic surgeons has increased.

Even though our wounded soldiers, sailors and marines receive cutting-edge, advanced care by military medical staff, the consequences of disfiguring scars from shrapnel, burns and other traumas remain, which can lead to emotional distress and an altered self-worth. It’s often in the wounded warriors best interest to receive treatment from reconstructive plastic surgeons.

In recent years, plastic surgeries have been performed for soldiers posts-war, including ear and nose reconstruction, shrapnel removal, scar revisions on the face and torso, hand and arm reconstruction, laser treatments for red scars, burn treatments and even injections of hyaluronic acid fillers like Restylane and Perlane to fill some scars. Other secondary benefits of post-war plastic surgery have included improved mental conditions from depression and post-traumatic stress disorder since these procedures give soldiers improved health and self-confidence.

Improved technology in plastic surgery also makes it easier for veterans to undergo reconstructive surgery. Veterans can have minimal or non-invasive procedures, which offer less pain and quicker recovery time. These advanced procedures include surgery with lasers, water and even radio frequencies. Newer technology has also greatly reduced any permanent scarring from the reconstructive procedures.

Reconstructive surgery is a great post-war tool for wounded military veterans and we expect the plastic surgery community will only expand their offerings for veterans.