Highly regarded, board-certified plastic surgeons Dr. Delio Ortegon and Dr. Michael Baumholtz use burn reconstruction surgery not only to significantly improve the appearance of burn scars, but to increase the flexibility of joints that have been affected by scarring.
With each individual patient, the surgeon chooses the specific methods based on the size, severity, and features of the burned area. Dr. Ortegon and Dr. Baumholtz employ two surgical methods of burn reconstruction: secondary reconstruction with tissue expansion and tissue rearrangement.
Secondary Reconstruction with Tissue Expansion
What it’s for: Tissue expansion is a surgical technique that’s employed when there is a shortage of tissue needed to complete a reconstructive procedure. It’s designed specifically to help the body produce new soft tissue. In addition to burn reconstruction, tissue expansion is used in other reconstruction efforts such as cleft lip surgery, breast reconstruction, and hair replacement surgery.
How it works: It’s far from an overnight procedure. During tissue expansion surgery, a balloon-like device is placed under the skin. Over a period that can stretch from days to weeks, the balloon very slowly fills with saline, which the skin accommodates by stretching, causing the skin to grow. After the balloon-like device is removed, the new, larger and healthier skin is used in the secondary reconstructive procedure.
When it’s used: As noted, tissue expansion is a potentially good option when there’s an insufficient amount of available soft tissue that’s needed to successfully complete a burn reconstruction.
What are the advantages? There are multiple key advantages to using tissue expansion in burn reconstruction:
- It may be used to grow tissue on many various regions of the body.
- The new tissue it produces is a nearly perfect match in terms of color and texture.
- It produces a minimal amount of scarring at the donor site.
- The donor tissue provided through tissue expansion can help restore sensory function.
What it’s for: Tissue rearrangement is used in the reconstructive process to help patients who have suffered severe burns, as well as scarring from burns that cannot heal normally. The goal of tissue rearrangement is to improve both appearance and function of the skin that has been deformed by burns and other trauma.
How it works: In order to move the needed healthy tissues to the burn site, the healthy tissue is freed from the body save for a discreet flap of tissue known as a pedicle – which in some cases will be a broad piece of tissue, while in others will be only a small bridge of tissue that holds crucial blood vessels – through which blood circulation to the transfer tissue is maintained.
After placement of the healthy tissues into the burn area being reconstructed, microscopic surgery is used to attach the vessels in the pedicle to blood vessels in the recipient area.
If you live in San Antonio or near Austin and are interested in Burn Reconstruction surgery, we invite you to call the office of board-certified plastic surgeons Dr. Delio Ortegon and Dr. Michael Baumholtz. To schedule a consultation, call 210-614-4320 or use the contact form to email our San Antonio office. Our plastic surgery office is located at 11130 CHRISTUS HILLS SUITE 108 SAN ANTONIO, TX 78251.