Reconstructive Plastic Surgery for Soldiers

Dating back to the World War I, the art and science of plastic surgery was applied through the interdisciplinary approach involving many types of medical specialists. The early dated work of these specialists laid the foundation for today’s plastic surgery community during both peace and war times. It has been medical advancements, improved treatment times and enhanced armory that led to a 90% survival rate among war victims according to information presented at the 2006 American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS) meeting. This is roughly a 20% increase in the survival rate when compared to World War II victims. shutterstock_181273130Artillery shells, rifles and explosive devices appear to cause the most significant damage to our nation’s soldiers. The types of injuries include: hand, arm, shoulder, leg, face, eye, nose, neck and ear injuries. Many of the injuries are limb injuries. The types of treatment specialists that may be involved in the treatment plan include: orthopedist, ophthalmologist, ear-nose and throat specialist and plastic surgeon. When an injury occurs, the victim is often treated at the scene. This treatment may involve suturing to prevent further damage from the wound. Then, war victims are taken to a medical facility where they may be treated or sent back to the U.S. for further treatment. For facial and neck injuries, they may be treated with a face lift or neck lift. For facial disfigurement, they may be treated with facial implants. For eye injuries, they may undergo eye lid surgery. They may also receive facial fillers to build volume in damaged facial areas. For arm, leg or trunk injuries, they may undergo reconstructive plastic surgery and/or orthopedic surgery. For burn injuries, they may require skin grafting. Plastic surgeons that work in wartime environments are usually keenly familiar with the unique features of wartime injuries. They have dedicated time to understand the intricacies involved with reconstructive plastic surgery. Not all plastic surgeons are skilled in reconstructive care. A good number of plastic reconstructive surgeons are associated with the army to able to meet the needs of injured soldiers today.

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