Facial and Extremity Reconstruction After Trauma

After a serious accident or disfiguring cancer, you may need surgical care for complex wounds and injuries. Reconstructive surgery repairs traumatized tissues and structures of the face, hands, legs, or feet.

At Faith Regional Physician Services in Norfolk, Nebraska, reconstructive specialists offer head-to-toe procedures to restore what trauma takes away.

Our team includes a fellowship-trained hand and extremity specialist with orthopedic, joint, and microsurgery expertise. Microsurgeons perform sophisticated skin grafts and other procedures, operating on tiny blood vessels, nerves, and bones with precision.

Surgery for the Face, Hands, and Limbs

Some injuries alter your appearance and leave you unable to do the simplest things like smile, hold a pen or walk. At Faith Regional, we offer answers and hope, including these and other healing therapies:

  • Autologous reconstruction – The surgeon uses your own skin and tissues from large areas such as the abdomen, back, or thighs to reshape wounded parts of the face or other areas.
  • Fat grafting – Using liposuction, the doctor transfers fat from one part of the body, such as the abdomen or thighs, to injured areas.  
  • Flap procedures – The surgeon uses free flap, partially attached, or combined flap procedures for skin grafts over wounds. Your surgeon will discuss your best option.
  • Minimally invasive surgery – When your surgeon performs endoscopy, laparoscopy, or other minimally invasive procedures, scarring and discomfort are minimal. Recovery is faster and easier.
  • Microsurgery – The surgeon sutures small blood vessels, nerves, and other tissues using magnified technology. This may be part of skin grafts and care for skin cancer, head, and neck cancer, or large-area injuries.
  • Skin rejuvenation –Your care plan may include cosmetic procedures and scar reduction.
  • Amputation and Replantation (Reattachment) – Faith Regional offers emergency intervention for accidental loss of digits or limbs. The reconstructive surgeon uses microsurgical skin grafts and nerve, vessel, bone, and tissue reattachment.

Related Plastic and Reconstructive Services

Care plans for traumatic injuries incorporate many procedures such as:

Facial Reconstruction

Facial trauma is emotionally distressing and may affect functions, such as hearing or the ability to speak and eat normally. Surgeons perform flap procedures and skin grafts, jaw reconstruction, chin implants, fillers, and other treatments to restructure, reshape and resurface the face. Doctors collaborate to treat trauma-related hearing, speech, dental or other problems.

Therapies include:

Hand Reconstruction

Our fellowship-trained upper extremity surgeon is an expert in microsurgery, orthopedic and joint care. The doctor offers meticulous care for complex muscle, nerve, skin, and fine bone injuries. Care may include:

  • Amputation as part of disease care
  • Finger and hand replantation (transplantation)
  • Hand therapy
  • Hand, wrist, arm, and elbow trauma surgery
  • Fracture repair for bones that haven’t healed properly (nonunion/malunion)
  • Skin and tissue reshaping and resurfacing
  • Skin grafts, including free flap and other flap procedures
  • Tendon and nerve injury repair

Risks of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery

All surgeries have some risks, such as bleeding, infection, and reaction to anesthesia. The surgeon will discuss these and other possible complications:

  • Blood clots
  • Injury to tendons, nerves, or blood vessels
  • Loss of skin sensation
  • Numbness and tingling
  • Partial or total loss of flap in graft procedures
  • Poor wound healing
  • Tendon rupture or scarring
  • Unsuccessful restoration of function

What to Expect

The surgeon tells you what to expect and how to prepare. Pre-surgery preparation includes a physical exam and evaluation. Procedures vary and your doctor will guide you.

  • You’ll receive pre-surgery medications, in addition to IV sedation or general anesthesia.
  • Your surgeon will operate as discussed in pre-surgery visits. The doctor will discuss the number, type, and location of incisions, and procedure time ranges, and other details.
  • If you have full or partial thickness skin grafts, the surgeon removes healthy skin and fatty tissues from an inconspicuous area such as the back of the thigh.
  • The surgeon uses varied techniques to move new healthy tissue to treat the injury. The doctor may use liposuction or other procedures for shape and structure.
  • Your surgeon may use microsurgery to treat delicate nerves, blood vessels, and traumatized hard and soft tissues. The doctor discusses details in pre-surgery visits.
  • If you’ve had bone surgery, the surgeon positions a splint to stabilize structures.
  • If your doctor is removing a limb or treating amputated limbs, the surgeon reshapes skin, covers exposed bone tissue, and closes wounds. The doctor may contour tissues for a better prosthetic fit.
  • The surgeon may use supportive mesh for deeper injured tissues.
  • Your surgeon closes incisions and adds protective bandages.

After Surgery

After your surgery and initial recovery, you move to a hospital room for nursing care. You’ll have an extended stay as discussed by your doctor. If needed, you may stay in ICU for close monitoring.

  • The surgeon evaluates your condition and discusses care and recovery.
  • You’ll have some swelling, redness, fluid drainage, and discomfort. Your doctor prescribes medication and other therapies to keep you comfortable.

Your doctor may discuss rehabilitation, psychological and other support, prostheses, and next steps. For severe pain, you may see a pain medicine specialist. 

Your Surgery Team

At Faith Regional, your surgeon, a specialized nurse, and other healthcare professionals such as an advanced care practitioner may be involved in your care.

Dr. Tristan Hartzell, M.D., F.A.C.S.  
Hand, Wrist, and Elbow Surgery
Joint Replacement  
Reconstructive/Plastic Surgery