If you’ve ever played the game “Cranium,” you may know that it seeks to test your whole brain. However, until something goes wrong, most of us are happy to take our brains for granted. Generally, they do what they need to and don’t fail us, and as such it’s easy to forget just what an incredible job they have. The brain is an advanced piece of equipment we are carrying around in our skulls on a daily basis, and protecting it is of the utmost importance.
Craniofacial reconstruction dates back to the late nineteenth century, when doctors in Germany and France first used it to produce more accurate images of the faces of certain famous people who had died before the invention of photography. Craniofacial reconstruction is a complicated procedure because the surgeon is operating on a part of the body that contains the brain and upper part of the spinal cord, the eyes, other sensory organs, and the opening of the patient’s airway—all within a small space.
Craniofacial reconstruction or skull reconstruction surgery refers to a group of procedures used to repair or reshape the face and skull. The word “craniofacial” is a combination of “cranium,” which is the medical word for the upper portion of the skull, and facial. Craniofacial reconstruction is also sometimes called orbital-craniofacial surgery; “orbital” refers to the name of the bony cavity in the face that surrounds the eyeball.
Craniofacial reconstructive surgery is done for many purposes and depends on the person. In both adults and children, the reconstruction is intended to restore the functioning of the patient’s mouth, jaw, and sensory organs as well as improve his or her appearance. In children, this procedure can be done to repair abnormalities in the shape and facial features, often resulting from birth defects or genetic disorders. This reconstruction requires special techniques and procedure, as the surgeon needs to allow room for the child’s facial bones and skull to grow. With adults, craniofacial reconstruction is often done following trauma to the head or face.
Here are things to know before this procedure:
Your doctor will explain the procedure to you, and answer any questions you may have.
You will be asked to sign a consent form that gives permission to do the surgery. Read the form carefully and ask questions if something is not clear.
In addition to a complete medical history, your doctor will do a physical exam to ensure you are in good health before you undergo the surgery. You may also need blood tests and other diagnostic tests.
You will receive a preoperative neurological exam that will be used to compare with postoperative exams.
You will be asked to fast before the procedure, generally after midnight.
Tell your doctor if you are sensitive or allergic to any medicines, latex, tape and anesthetic agents (local or general).
Tell your doctor of all medicines (prescribed and over-the-counter) and supplements that you are taking.
Tell your doctor if you have a history of bleeding disorders or if you are taking any anticoagulant (blood-thinning) medicines, aspirin, or other medicines that affect blood clotting. It may be necessary for you to stop these medicines before the procedure.
If you smoke, you should stop smoking as soon as possible before the procedure to improve your chances for a successful recovery from surgery, and to improve your overall health status.
You may be asked to wash your hair with a special antiseptic shampoo the night before the surgery.
You may receive a sedative before the procedure to help you relax.
The areas around the surgical site will be shaved
To find out more information about craniofacial reconstructive surgery, call Atlantic Center of Aesthetic & Recontructive Surgery at (954) 983-1899 to request an appointment.