By Judy Emanuele, MD, FACS, Eastern Long Island Hospital
Although many associate plastic surgery only with cosmetic changes to oneself, these intricate surgeries are also used to repair tendons, correct nerve damage and remove cancer. I regularly perform a multitude of these plastic surgeries, ranging from reconstructive procedures to facelifts, on a regular basis at Eastern Long Island Hospital (ELIH).
While many cosmetic and reconstructive procedures can be planned in advance, patients sometimes require emergency plastic surgery for injuries due to accidents. Severe cuts and burns are typical emergency causes. It is imperative that medical attention is received immediately because if treated in time, both function and appearance can be restored to the injury site.
Typical non-emergency reconstructive procedures include scar revisions, the removal of birthmarks, and the removal of skin cancer - the most common form of cancer in the United States. Eighty percent of skin cancer exists on the face, head and neck, and the removal of these malignant growths is an intricate procedure that should be performed by a plastic surgeon to ensure that a patient’s appearance is not compromised.
At ELIH I also perform standard cosmetic procedures including tummy tucks, facelifts and breast augmentation - the number one cosmetic procedure in the United States. Those who have lost remarkable amounts of weight following bariatric/gastric bypass surgery are also candidates for plastic surgery. Post bariatric procedures are often covered by insurance.
However, before a healthy person decides to undergo plastic surgery for cosmetic purposes it is important that they:
1. Consider cost - You are often fully responsible for the cost of cosmetic procedures. However, breast reconstruction and reduction procedures are often covered by insurance.
2. Have realistic expectations - Cosmetic surgery can make you feel better about your appearance, but it will not solve social, emotional or relationship problems.
3. Do the homework – Confirm your physician is qualified to perform your specific surgical procedure. The American Board of Medical Specialties (www.abms.org) can tell you whether the physician you have chosen is certified in the specialty you need.
It is evident that cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgery can truly change lives. And notably, ELIH has recognized this and is able to meet the needs of patients for which plastic surgery is a need or an option.
Judy Emanuele, MD, FACS, is double board certified in General Surgery and Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. She also has specialized training in hand and microsurgery for sufferers of Carpal Tunnel syndrome. For more information about your plastic and reconstructive surgery options, call 631-369-0490.