Local Tissue Flaps
Local tissue flaps are used in a surgical procedure that repairs disfigurements and severe wounds. This surgery is often used to treat injuries and tumors on the face as well.
Who Can Benefit From Local Tissue Flaps?
If you have a severe wound or a facial disfigurement caused by trauma or a disease (such as skin cancer), a local tissue flap may be the best choice to restore your appearance and function. Dr. Rubinstein will determine if you are a good candidate for this surgery and discuss all options with you.
What is the Procedure Like?
Local tissue flap surgery is similar to free tissue transplants, except in this case, the tissue is taken from an area near the injured tissue so that it can remain attached at one end. The new tissue is then repositioned over the damaged area and sutured in place. Unlike a skin graft, a local tissue flap includes the blood vessels, nerves, and sometimes muscle tissue or even bone.
Local tissue flap surgery is usually performed in a hospital and most often under a general anesthetic. The length of your surgery and the number of days you must remain in the hospital will depend entirely on your individual circumstances, although many patients can go home the same day. You will be given IV antibiotics during the surgery, and the doctor will tell you exactly what you can expect during and after your procedure.
What Can I Expect During Recovery?
You will need someone to drive you home after your hospital stay, and you may need help around the house for awhile. The doctor will monitor your progress during follow-up visits, and you will be instructed how to wash and change your dressings.
You will experience some swelling, bruising, numbness, and pain during the healing process. The doctor will let you know if an ice pack or elevating the affected area is advised, and you will be given prescriptions for pain medication and an antibiotic. The amount of time it takes to heal varies from patient to patient. It may be several months before you will be able to see the final results of your surgery.
What Are the Risks of Local Tissue Flaps?
Local tissue flaps do much to help restore function and appearance, and complications are uncommon. Rarely, blood flow may fail in the flap area, which can cause the tissue to die. In this case, various treatments can be attempted, or further reconstruction might have to be performed to repair the area.