What happens during facial reconstruction surgery?
How surgery for head and face deformities is performed depends largely on the type and severity of the deformity and the person's condition.
The facial reconstruction surgical procedure is done under general anesthesia. The surgery may last for about 4-12 hours. During a facial reconstruction procedure, the facial bones, tissues will be cut and moved along with reconnection of blood vessels and nerves through microscopic surgery. Sometimes, bone pieces may be harvested from the pelvis, ribs or skull to be placed where facial bones were moved. To hold the bones in place, small metal screws and plates will be used. In order to cover up the holes, skin flaps from the hand, chest wall, thigh or buttocks may be taken.
The facial reconstruction surgery may cause swelling of the face, neck, mouth, which may remain for a few weeks and cause airway blockage. To avoid this, a temporary tracheostomy will be done, which involves making a small opening in the neck to pass a tube in the airway that allows breathing.