By Sacha Obaid
Plastic surgery procedures that are medically necessary improve the health or function of a person’s body. Many of these procedures are also cosmetic as a secondary function. Issues such as birth defects, injury, disease, and more qualify people to have medically necessary plastic surgery. While in these instances plastic surgery often improves the cosmetic appearance of a patient, it most importantly improves jaw function, breathing, and more.
Medically necessary plastic surgery procedures include (but are not limited to):
Craniofacial surgery is a sub-specialization of plastic surgery dedicated to treating children born with facial differences. Most commonly it corrects cleft lips and palettes. Surgeons like Dr. Obaid, who specialize in craniofacial surgery, treat children with cleft lips and cleft palates. They also address rare congenital and genetic anomalies, including Apert syndrome, Crouzon syndrome, Pfeiffer syndrome, craniosynostosis, Treacher Collins syndrome, and more.
A cleft lip or palette affects a child’s ability to eat and can cause ear infections or hearing loss and dental problems. Children can also experience speech difficulties and face social and emotional problems.
2. Reconstructive Surgery After Disease or Injury
If a person has been badly injured in a car accident, by an animal bite, or some other traumatic incident, a plastic surgeon can help fix significant scarring and help to restore their appearance to what it was pre-injury.
While this might seem like a cosmetic procedure, restoring a face, arm, etc. to its original appearance is usually medically necessary for the body part to function properly.
Plastic surgery after disease and injury also often boosts self-confidence and self-esteem. Many times this is just as important to a person’s health as their physical well-being.
3. Correction of a Deviated Septum
Some people are born with a deviated septum. This can cause difficulty breathing, frequent sinus infections, and/or heavy snoring. In addition to easing these issues, correction of a deviated septum is often combined with a cosmetic component to ensure the nose looks correct after surgery.
4. Breast Reduction
Breasts that are not proportionate to a person’s body, especially ones that are unnaturally large, can cause physical strain to their back. This often results in back problems and neck and shoulder pain.
5. Breast Reconstruction
After a mastectomy, breast reconstruction is important to many women. It helps them heal and start to feel ‘normal’ after breast cancer.
6. Eyelid Procedures
An eye lift, or blepharoplasty, is often medically necessary. Significant eyelid drooping can cause the skin to hang down over the eyelashes, affecting a person’s ability to see. This can affect their ability to drive, see a computer, and more. Wearing glasses or contact lenses can also be difficult with droopy eyes.
Medically necessary procedures and cosmetic procedures are not mutually exclusive. Many procedures are both necessary to help the body function in the best way possible and improve a person’s appearance. If you think your health would be improved by a plastic surgery procedure, talk to a board-certified surgeon to learn about your options.