Rotarians were apprised of the benefits of plastic surgery and about how a simple surgical procedure can become a positive life-changing experience.
Veteran plastic surgeon Dr. Kenneth Dickie took members of the Rotary Club of Freeport on a historic journey back to the advent of plastic surgery and the time when it gained mainstream popularity – during the first World War when injured soldiers would return home with battle scars and serious physical defects.
“Doctors were seeing many persons coming in with disfiguring wounds, especially to the face. And out of that came the necessity for reconstruction and repair,” he said.
“And this is where we saw so many of the people that may have had gunshot wounds to the face and things of that nature and this is where plastic surgery really began coming into its own.”
After dealing with so many of the war injured people, he said that as time went on major improvements in the methods of cosmetic surgeries were made.
“New developments such as skin grafting, and other techniques of tissue repair such as micro surgery, and pre-tissue transfers that we started to see more and more types of repairs that became possible,” he said.
“Plastic surgeons started to see a lot more burn patients and children born with congenital disease and accident victims and so our specialty started to expand in areas where any form of reconstruction or repairs may have been required.”
Dickie noted that in recent years, the increase of many children being born with facial defects such as cleft-lips, plastic surgery has helped greatly in providing some sense of normalcy for these children in their lives.
“There are now certain techniques where foetuses can be diagnosed with certain defects before birth and in that case some repair work can be carried out without interfering with the pregnancy,” he said.
Dickie explained that the evolution of reconstructive surgery ultimately leads to concern about aesthetics.
“If we’re doing repair work or reconstruction on a patient who has been deformed as a result of a car accident or burn injury, our goal is to restore the aesthetic image as best we can,” he said.
Aesthetic surgeries, he noted, are most popular for burn and car accident victims and also for older persons seeking to bring a little youth back into their faces.
“As people age, they lose their skin elasticity, but they also lose bone mass, our facial skeleton stars to shrink, our fat starts to disappear and of course progressive aging of the skin much of which can be accelerated by excessive exposure to the sun,” he said.
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“Techniques have now been developed for facial rejuvenation such as face lifts and eyelid techniques, one where we use procedures to tighten up the muscle under the neck and chin and also where we use carbon dioxide resurfacing lasers that will actually strip away the top layer of the skin and take away many of these lines.”
Not all surgeries, he explained, are done for aesthetic enhancement.
Some, he said, are actually done for serious health matters such as skin cancer, mastectomy and obesity.
“There are many good reasons for persons to look into weight loss surgery. There are types of reconstructive surgery for persons that have lost a lot of weight, the extra skin that’s left under the arm can be tightened up and the excess skin around the tummy and waist can be improved upon,” he said.
“The thing of course that we want to do with these patients is to really try and give them the best health benefits that they can get with these procedures and at the same time not project on them unnecessary risk.”