The word “plastic” is derived from the Greek plastikos, meaning to shape or to mold. Plastic surgery, then, involves the reshaping of the body. While we often think of plastic surgery in terms of cosmetic or aesthetic changes made to the body, some might be surprised to know that this field of medicine was predominantly born out of the need to reconstruct the face and body, particularly during wartime.
People suffer from a vast array of disfigurements that not only alter their appearance, but may also disrupt their bodily functions. Congenital disorders, traumatic accidents, infections, and cancers are all responsible for scarring a person’s natural appearance and disrupting their ability to function normally. In the face, these may result in loss of normal anatomic structures like the nose, a lip, or the ear, which may in turn compromise the ability to breathe, to smile, or wear glasses. People also frequently suffer from the paralysis of facial nerves, or the misshaping of facial structures arising before birth. In each case, these afflictions can rob an individual of the fundamental traits that we consider human and impart a psychological toll as well.
As a facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon, Dr. Stallworth is skilled in each of these areas, and has dedicated a significant portion of his practice to the restoration of facial anatomy and function compromised by cancers, trauma, and congenital deficits. He will help guide you in the restoration of your self-image and confidence after otherwise devastating experiences.
Skin cancer and reconstruction following Mohs surgery
Skin malignancies are currently the most common form of cancer. And with an aging population and our collective exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun, this incidence continues to rise. The most common skin malignancies, basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, are classified as non-melanoma skin cancers. For more information on these cancers, along with melanoma and other disease of the skin, please visit the American Academy of Dermatology (https://www.aad.org/public).
The treatment for most non-melanoma skin cancers is complete excision. To do so, a margin of normal tissue excision is required to ensure all cancer cells are removed. For cancers in some regions of the body, this can be straightforward with few risks and consequences. However, for skin cancers on the face, head or neck, and for recurrent tumors, every millimeter of salvaged normal tissue can make an enormous difference in the outcome. The foremost concern is removal of all cancer, but the larger the defect, the greater the likelihood of a more complex reconstruction and the potential for compromise of some facial appearance and function.