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Facial Reconstruction

The structures of the face are vulnerable to various traumas including fractures, burns, cancer, and related surgeries such as MOHS, and other types of illnesses. These conditions can cause both functional and appearance-related problems. For instance, injuries to the bones and soft tissues of the face can impact the ability to perform simple actions like blinking, smiling, talking, or eating. Fortunately, reconstructive procedures can improve functionality and correct a range of cosmetic issues in the facial features.1,2

Dr. John Hilinski is a board-certified plastic surgeon with dual certifications in Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, as well as Head and Neck Surgery, which places him among a select few plastic surgeons in San Diego with the necessary expertise to perform advanced facial reconstruction procedures. Dr. Hilinski is a proud member of the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, as well as the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, and is committed to providing each patient with personalized care and attention to achieve the best possible outcomes. To schedule your consultation in our San Diego office, please contact us today. We look forward to helping you achieve your aesthetic goals and improve your quality of life through facial plastic and reconstructive surgery with Dr. Hilinski.

What Is Facial Reconstruction? 

Unlike cosmetic surgery, facial reconstruction refers to varying corrective procedures intended to repair a wide variety of facial cosmetic deformities arising from skin cancer surgery, congenital defects, or accidental trauma. In some instances, the deformity can be quite debilitating and may even cause chronic pain or discomfort.

Depending on what type of deformity exists, a wide variety of reconstructive options may be of benefit to you. These range from minor cosmetic procedures such as scar revision to more formal reconstructive surgery involving grafts or implants. When a rather severe deformity exists, facial reconstruction may require multiple staged (one after another) procedures over a certain period of months to years.

In many cases of facial reconstruction, particularly those resulting from trauma or cancer removal, surgery is covered by your health insurance carrier. If you are dissatisfied with your facial appearance as a result of cancer or trauma, consult with Dr. Hilinski to see what treatment options are available to you.

Benefits of Facial Reconstruction

Facial reconstruction surgery can offer several benefits to individuals who have experienced facial trauma, illness, or congenital deformities. Some of these benefits include:

  • Improved appearance: Facial reconstruction surgery can improve the appearance of the face and correct deformities or disfigurement caused by injury or illness, thereby boosting self-confidence and self-esteem.
  • Restored function: Facial reconstruction surgery can restore normal function to the face, such as the ability to speak, eat, and breathe properly.
  • Better quality of life: By improving appearance and restoring function, facial reconstruction surgery can enhance an individual’s quality of life and help them return to their normal daily activities.
  • Psychological benefits: Facial trauma or disfigurement can have a significant psychological impact, such as depression, anxiety, or social isolation. Facial reconstruction surgery can help individuals feel more comfortable and confident in social situations.
  • Improved health outcomes: In some cases, facial reconstruction surgery may be necessary to treat a medical condition or prevent further complications.

Types of Facial Reconstruction Surgery

The specific type of facial reconstruction surgery Dr. Hilinski recommends will depend on your individual needs and the extent of the damage or injury. Some common types of facial reconstruction surgery include:

Soft Tissue Reconstruction 

This involves repairing or replacing soft tissue in the face, such as skin, fat, and muscle, to restore a more natural appearance and function.

Bone Reconstruction 

This involves repairing or replacing damaged or missing bone in the face, often using bone grafts or implants.

Scar Revision 

This involves minimizing the appearance of scars on the face, often by removing or repositioning the scar tissue.

Nerve Repair

This involves repairing damaged or severed nerves in the face to restore normal sensation and function.

Microvascular Reconstruction 

This involves using microsurgery techniques to transplant tissue from other parts of the body, such as the forearm or thigh, to reconstruct missing or damaged tissue in the face.

Preparing For Facial Reconstruction

Preparing for facial reconstruction surgery involves several steps to ensure a successful outcome. You may need to undergo certain medical tests such as CT scans or x-rays, or other types of evaluations to determine your overall health status and identify any potential risks. In the weeks leading up to the surgery, you may need to avoid certain medications and supplements that can increase the risk of bleeding or interfere with anesthesia. You may also need to make arrangements for transportation and post-operative care, including arranging for someone to drive you home after the procedure and providing support during the initial recovery period. Dr. Hilinski will provide detailed instructions on how to prepare for the surgery, including guidelines for eating, drinking, and taking medications in the days leading up to the procedure. By following these guidelines and working closely with Dr. Hilinski, you can help ensure a safe and successful outcome from your facial reconstruction surgery.

What To Expect During Your Facial Reconstruction Procedure

The specifics of a facial reconstruction procedure can vary depending on the individual case and the extent of the damage. Generally, the reconstruction process involves making incisions in the skin and tissues of the face to access the underlying structures, such as bones or cartilage, and then sculpting, reshaping, or reconstructing them to improve function and/or appearance. Depending on the extent of the reconstruction, the procedure may take several hours and may require multiple surgeries over a period of several months. General anesthesia will be used to ensure your comfort during the procedure, and you will be closely monitored by Dr. Hilinski and his surgical team of medical professionals including an anesthesiologist and OR nurse throughout the surgery.

Recovery After Facial Reconstruction

The recovery process after facial reconstruction surgery can vary depending on the extent of the procedure and your overall health status. In the first few days after surgery, you can expect some swelling, bruising, and discomfort, which can be managed with pain medication and other treatments as prescribed by Dr. Hilinski. You should plan to take some time off from work or other activities to rest and allow your body to heal. Dr. Hilinski will provide specific instructions on how to care for the incision sites, including guidelines for cleaning and dressing the wounds. You may also need to avoid certain activities or foods for a period of time to prevent complications. Over the course of several weeks, the swelling and bruising should begin to subside, and you may start to notice the initial results of the surgery. However, it can take several months for the full effects of the surgery to become apparent. It is important to follow Dr. Hilinski’s post-operative care plan carefully and come in for follow-up appointments to ensure a successful recovery and the best possible outcome from the procedure.

Schedule A Consultation For Facial Reconstruction

If you are considering facial reconstruction surgery and are looking for a highly qualified and experienced facial plastic surgeon in San Diego, please contact us to schedule a consultation with Dr. Hilinski. 

FAQs About Facial Reconstruction Surgery

Who is a good candidate for facial reconstruction surgery?

Good candidates for facial reconstruction surgery include individuals who have experienced facial trauma, congenital deformities or undergone surgery for a medical condition such as cancer.

How long does a facial reconstruction procedure take?

The duration of facial reconstruction surgery can vary depending on the specific procedure and the extent of the damage. Some procedures may take several hours, while others may require multiple surgeries over several months.

What is recovery like after facial reconstruction?

The recovery process after facial reconstruction surgery can vary depending on the individual and the extent of the procedure. Swelling, bruising, and discomfort are common in the first few weeks, and it may take several months for the full effects of the surgery to become apparent. Specific recovery time will be based on your individual case.

What are the risks associated with facial reconstruction surgery?

As with any surgery, facial reconstruction surgery carries certain risks, including bleeding, infection, scarring, and adverse reactions to anesthesia. Dr. Hilinski will discuss the potential risks and benefits of the procedure with you in detail before scheduling the surgery.

How much is facial reconstruction surgery? 

The cost of facial reconstruction surgery can vary widely depending on a number of factors, such as the extent of the procedure, the specific techniques used, and if facial implants were required. In general, facial reconstruction surgery is a highly personalized procedure that is tailored to the unique needs and goals of each patient. As a result, the cost of the procedure can only be determined after a thorough consultation with Dr. Hilinski. During the consultation, Dr. Hilinski can evaluate your individual case, discuss the treatment options, and provide you with a detailed estimate of the cost of the procedure.

Will insurance cover the cost of facial reconstruction surgery?

In some cases, insurance may cover the cost of facial reconstruction surgery, particularly if it is deemed medically necessary. However, coverage will depend on your insurance plan and the specific procedure being performed. It is important to consult with your insurance provider to determine your coverage options.

1 Cleveland Clinic. Reconstructive Surgery. Available: Accessed March 3, 2023.

2 The Surgery Journal. Overview of Facial Plastic Surgery and Current Developments. Available: Accessed March 3, 2023

3 Johns Hopkins Medicine. Facial Reconstruction. Available: Accessed March 3, 2023.

4 Johns Hopkins Medicine. Reconstructive Plastic Surgery Overview. Available: Accessed March 3, 2023.

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