Head and face reconstruction is surgery to repair or reshape deformities of the head and face (craniofacial).
Craniofacial reconstruction; Orbital-craniofacial surgery; Facial reconstruction
How surgery for head and face deformities (craniofacial reconstruction) is done depends on the type and severity of deformity, and the patient’s condition.
Surgical repairs involve the skull (cranium), brain, nerves, eyes, facial bones, and facial skin. That is why sometimes a plastic surgeon (for skin and face) and a neurosurgeon (brain and nerves) work together. Head and neck surgeons also perform craniofacial reconstruction operations.
The surgery is done while you are deep asleep and pain-free (under
Pieces of bone (
Sometimes the surgery causes
Why the Procedure Is Performed
Craniofacial reconstruction may be done if there are:
- Birth defects and deformities from conditions such as:
Apert syndrome Cleft lip or palate Craniosynostosis
- Crouzon disease
- Hypertelorism (abnormally wide space between the eyes)
- Moebius syndrome
- Deformities caused by surgery done to treat tumors
- Injuries to the head, face, or jaw
Risks of anesthesia are:
- Problems breathing
- Reactions to medications
Risks of surgery of the head and face are:
- Nerve (cranial nerve dysfunction) or brain damage
- Need for follow-up surgery, especially in growing children
- Partial or total loss of
- Permanent scarring
These complications are more common in people who:
Have poor nutrition
Have other medical conditions, such as
Have poor blood circulation
Have past nerve damage
After the Procedure
You may spend the first 2 days after surgery in the intensive care unit. Without complications, most patients are able to leave the hospital within 1 week. Complete healing may take up to 6 weeks.
A much more normal appearance can be expected after surgery. Some persons need to have follow-up procedures during the next 1 to 4 years.
It is important not to participate in contact sports for 2 to 6 months after surgery.
People who have had a serious injury often need to work through the emotional issues of the trauma and the change in their appearance. Both children and adults who have had a serious injury may have post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and anxiety disorders. Talking to a mental health professional or joining a support group can be helpful.
Parents of children with deformities of the face often feel guilty or ashamed, especially when the deformities are due to a genetic condition. As younger children grow and become aware of their appearance, emotional symptoms may develop or get worse.