UI Hospitals and Clinics

Reconstructive Surgery Clinic

The optimization of form and function is an important goal for individuals with deformities related to trauma, congenital abnormalities or the surgical treatment of cancer or other problems. A variety of reconstructive procedures are available that vary from the simple to the extremely complex. During a consultation, the pros and cons of different reconstructive procedures for your particular problem will be discussed.

Tissue deficiencies resulting from trauma or surgery can produce devastating consequences. Reconstructive procedures can often restore improved appearance and function to the deficient area. Sometimes the solutions are simple, while other problems require involved, multi-staged solutions. The expertise exists at the University of Iowa to manage virtually any reconstructive challenge.

Traumatic injuries to the hands and face, in particular, can create significant aesthetic and functional problems. UI plastic surgeons have the expertise both to manage these problems soon after they occur to optimize outcomes and also to treat secondary problems that result from these injuries.

A normally functioning hand is critical to many of our routine daily activities. Plastic surgeons have the training and capability to manage all types of functional and congenital hand problems.

Skin malignancies, such as basal cell carcinomas, squamous cell carcinomas and malignant melanomas, most commonly occur in the head and neck area. Treatment most commonly involves surgical excision. The goal of treatment is to eliminate the malignancy while reconstructing the resulting defects in as anatomic a manner as possible. Minimizing the cosmetic deformity associated with the treatment of skin cancer is frequently complex. During a consultation, the most effective and cosmetically acceptable treatment for your particular lesion will be discussed.

Plastic surgeons receive comprehensive training in the management of difficult wounds. Some wounds can be managed by dressing change regimens while some require surgical closure. The options available for the management of your particular wound are discussed during a consultation.

An advantage of an academic center like the University of Iowa is the availability of teams of medical professionals from different specialties that work together to manage complex problems. The team members bring expertise from a variety of disciplines together to assure that problems are managed in as comprehensive manner as possible. Several of the teams that involve reconstructive surgery are the Cleft Palate Team, the Breast Cancer Management Team and the Bariatric Surgery Team.

Cleft Palate Team

The Cleft Palate Team treats children with cleft lips and palates as well as other congenital craniofacial abnormalities. The team includes a speech pathologist, an orthodontist, an audiologist, a geneticist, a social worker, a nurse and other medical professionals. Children with cleft lips and palates are followed from before they are born to adulthood to assure that their appearance, speech and development are as normal as possible.

Breast Cancer Management Team

The Breast Cancer Management Team treats women with breast cancer and other breast disorders. The team includes surgical oncologists, medical oncologists, radiation therapists, radiologists and pathologists as well as plastic surgeons. Professionals from the various specialties work together to assure that patients receive the most comprehensive and modern evaluation and treatment available for their disease. Reconstructive options available for women with breast cancer include oncoplastic breast reconstruction, reconstructive methods involving breast implants and reconstruction with tissue transferred from other parts of their body. Each method has pros and cons, and all are not appropriate for every patient.

Bariatric Surgery Team

The Bariatric Surgery team treats patients who are significantly overweight. Most individuals who are considered for surgical treatment are more than 100 pounds over their ideal body weight. Lifestyle changes are a necessary component of successful treatment, but bariatric surgery is also often valuable. Bariatric surgery experts discuss surgical options with prospective patients and outline their recommendations as well as their expectations.

After bariatric surgery, it generally takes at least a year for an individual to lose their excess weight. As weight is lost, there is often redundant skin in various parts of the body that creates aesthetic as well as functional problems. Once maximal weight loss has been achieved, plastic surgeons can perform body contouring surgery to remove the excess skin. Different procedures are available for different parts of the body, and each patient has areas in which there have more or less excess tissue. Treatment plans are individualized to the specific patient's needs and desires.