Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery

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Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery

Reconstructive Surgery

Injuries from accidents, burns and trauma can cause the loss of a limb, use of a limb, or physical impairment. Even when they have healed, injuries can limit your activities and interfere with a normal life.

The goal of reconstructive surgery is restoring normal function and appearance.  In many cases, it allows you to return to your daily activities. Our our highly regarded program gained national attention in 2011 for saving a little girl's leg after a shark attack off the North Carolina coast. Reconstructive surgery is generally covered by health insurance policies, although specific procedures and levels of reimbursement may vary.

We treat the abnormalities resulting from

  • trauma
  • infection
  • tumors
  • disease

We also treat conditions that

  • are present from birth (congenital defects)
  • occur during development

You may read more about our reconstructive surgery procedures below.

Breast reconstruction

This surgery restores the breast to near normal shape, appearance and size following mastectomy. Breast reconstruction usually involves several procedures in multiple stages. Your reconstruction can begin at the same time as your mastectomy. Or, it may begin after you've healed from the mastectomy and have recovered from additional treatments. It may involve gradually expanding the tissue or grafting muscle from another part of the body. It may take several months to complete and recover from breast reconstruction.

Facial and skin cancer reconstruction (Including Mohs surgery)

Removing skin cancer or a facial tumor can change your appearance. Your surgeon will leave as much healthy tissue as possible and reconstruction will use this remaining tissue to restore the area. Once the cancer or tumor has been removed, we can restore appearance and function using skin grafts, flaps or other approaches. ECU Physicians Dermatology has one of the few Mohs surgeons in eastern North Carolina. Mohs surgery generally removes less tissue by testing skin samples at a microscopic level.


After your surgery to remove cancerous skin, tumors or tissue, we use grafts and other procedures to restore a more normal appearance. Your reconstruction surgery usually takes place after your cancer has been effectively treated.

Hand surgery

Accidents from large machines, saws and other devices can cause severe injuries to the hand. Our specialists repair injuries to the hands and fingers. We address nerve damage at the time of injury or during reconstruction. We will reattach limbs whenever possible. We also reset fractures, use skin grafts and repair vessels. We use flap surgery when appropriate to provide healthy tissue for use in reconstruction.


Modern techniques allow us to repair and reattach very small blood vessels and nerves. These procedures, known as microsurgery, take place as part of reattaching a limb, treating traumatic injuries or treating skin and tissue damage. Microsurgery can retain or restore feeling, function and appearance to an injured or diseased area.


Burn injuries can create debilitating scarring. They also cause drastic appearance changes. Our goal is to restore function as fully as possible. We also aim to restore a more normal appearance, especially to the face and hands. We also treat burn contracture which occurs when skin loss and muscle changes lead to serious discomfort and loss of or movement or of the use of limbs. The skin and underlying tissue are released and heal in a way that allows more movement.

Trauma (Illness, injuries, burns)

We can restore a more normal appearance to the skin, tissue and muscles after car and other accidents, burns, fire, scalding and heat injuries. We can repair the damage of diseases, skin conditions and serious bacterial infections. Your reconstruction will depend on the severity of the injuries but we achieve very good results in many cases.


When wounds heal poorly they may leave scars. Major surgeries or injuries may also leave noticeable scars. They may be raised or have a different skin color. They may also cause disfiguration or interfere with function. Reconstruction includes surgical corrections and noninvasive approaches.

Pediatric congenital deformities

Infants, toddlers and children of any age may be candidates for reconstruction. Birth defects often affect the hands resulting in malformed (undifferentiated) fingers or toes or too many digits. Syndactyly, or the failure of fingers or toes to form unique digits, affects one of every 2,000 – 3,000 live births. Polydactyly, or extra fingers or toes at birth, may affect two of every 1,000 live births. They may be corrected shortly after birth, allowing your child to avoid developmental delay or emotional hardship related to their deformity.

Maxillofacial trauma

Firearms and other accidents can cause devastating injuries to the face and nose, affecting the eyes, jaw, mouth and teeth. Life-saving surgery involves reconstructing the face to allow patients to resume normal activities such as breathing, eating and drinking. Maxiollofacial reconstruction may require multiple, long-term treatments to rebuild the facial bones, teeth and face.


Oculoplastic surgery involves rebuilding or correcting the eye socket, eyelids, tear ducts and the nearby facial structure.


When one or both eyelids hang too low, it can affect vision and cause excessive tears. This condition, called ptosis or drooping eyelid, can be caused by muscle weakness or damage to the nerves that control the muscles that open the eyes, or by looseness of the skin of the upper eyelids. Reconstruction can correct the appearance and improve eyelid function.


Surgery to change the shape of the eyelid is called blepharoplasty. During this procedure, excess tissue may be removed and the surrounding muscles or tendons may be modified to allow better eyelid positioning. Blepharoplasty can be performed for functional or cosmetic reasons. It may be used to correct ptosis, or drooping eyelid.