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Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery

People often confuse plastic and cosmetic surgery but they are not the same. Cosmetic surgery is elective surgery to enhance a person’s appearance. Someone might want bigger breasts, a smaller nose, or a tummy tuck because they believe they will look better. Cosmetic surgery is NOT covered by insurance and requires different board certifications than plastic surgery.

While plastic surgery also enhances a person’s appearance, it is used for medical purposes, to repair facial disfigurement due to birth defects, injuries, or cancer surgery. Plastic surgeons operate on virtually every part of the body, including the skin, face and head, hands, extremities, breasts, torso, and genitals. A plastic surgeon has specialized skills in the use of skin grafts, implantable materials, and, when possible, the replantation of severed fingers and toes.

Surgical Expertise

Our board-certified, fellowship-trained plastic surgeons have special expertise in many procedures:

Breast Reconstruction

  • Implant reconstruction: A breast implant is used to restore the breast’s shape and volume. The implant is positioned over or under the chest muscle and covered it with a graft made from the woman’s own skin.

  • Autologous or “flap” reconstruction: This breast is reconstructed using tissue from another part of the body such as the belly or buttocks.

  • Nipple reconstruction: If a woman had a nipple-sparing mastectomy or lumpectomy, her nipple can be used in breast reconstruction. A new nipple can also be constructed using a skin graft from the woman’s own body.

Reduction Mammoplasty

This is surgery to reduce very large breasts, usually performed because a woman is suffering from chronic back pain due to the strain of supporting large breasts.

Cleft Lip and Palate Repair

Cleft lip and palate repair are typically performed when a child is still a baby, sometime between 2 and 6 months. Most clefts can be repaired through plastic surgery techniques. In addition to the cosmetic improvement that comes with this surgery, the procedure improves a child's ability to eat, speak, hear, and breathe.

Gender Affirmation

Also known as gender confirmation surgery, this group of procedures are intended to align a person’s appearance with their gender identity. We offer the specific surgeries listed below:

  • “Top surgery:" mastectomy to masculinize the chest for trans men
  • Facial feminization: Surgery to create softer, more feminine facial contours
  • Breast augmentation: The use of implants to feminize the chest for trans women
  • Vaginoplasty: Surgery to create female genitalia
  • Body contouring: Altering the shape of the body to be more feminine (fat grafting to buttocks and hips) or masculine (liposuction of hips)

Giant Nevi Removal

A giant nevi is a mole measuring 20 cm (close to 8 inches) or more. The goal of giant nevi removal surgery is to remove as much of the mole as possible.

Hand Surgery

Hand surgery can be performed by both orthopedic and plastic surgeons. The most common hand procedures plastic surgeons do are for carpal tunnel syndrome and hand deformities from rheumatoid arthritis or Dupuytren’s contracture, a hand disorder that causes thick, disabling scarring in the fingers and palms.

Lymphedema Treatment

Lymphedema is caused by a blockage in the lymphatic system, most often due to lymph node removal or damage due to cancer treatment. The main symptom is swelling in an arm or leg that causes pain or discomfort. Exercise, compression, and massage can help, but if lymphedema progresses, there are several surgical options.

Deviated Septum Correction

Septoplasty is surgery to straighten the nasal septum, the bone that separates the two sides of the nose. If you have difficulty breathing through your nose, you might consider surgery to fix a deviated septum.

Skin Cancer Removal

Surgical techniques for treating skin cancer depend on the location, type, and size of the cancerous tissue:

  • Cryosurgery is the application of liquid nitrogen on the skin to freeze and destroy tissue. This technique can be used on benign skin lesions and smaller malignancies.
  • Curettage and electrosurgery is a combination treatment for small skin cancers. Curettage scrapes away the cancerous tissue. It is followed by electrosurgery, which is used to destroy any remaining cancer cells and control bleeding.
  • Mohs surgery is highly precise treatment that removes skin cancers layer by layer to leave as much healthy tissue as possible and minimize scarring

Cosmetic Surgeries Typically Covered by Insurance

Whether a plastic surgery procedure is covered by insurance depends on the procedure, the insurance, and whether your physician can convince the insurance company that your surgery is medically necessary. Below are some procedures with medical benefits that can sometimes be justified for insurance purposes:

  • Rhinoplasty (nose job) if there are breathing or sleeping issues or a broken nose that didn’t heal well
  • Blepharoplasty, or droopy eyelid surgery, in the case of impaired vision
  • Breast implant removal if there is an implant-associated illness
  • Skin removal surgery for chronic rash or infection, or other condition
  • Breast augmentation or reconstruction after a mastectomy
  • Reconstructive surgery for cleft lip, deformed ears, and other disfiguring facial abnormalities
  • Severe facial lacerations after a car accident or other trauma
  • Skin cancer, including any necessary reconstruction after the cancer is removed
  • Gender affirmation surgery