At Cleveland Clinic London, the principles of “form and function” guide our expert plastic surgery team. Skilled plastic surgeons perform a range of reconstructive procedures designed to restore your appearance and help you function at your best.
We aim to help you recover and heal the complex wounds caused by trauma, sarcoma excision, skin cancer treatment, burns and other soft tissue defects. Together, we explore your treatment options to determine which approach will help you achieve your aesthetic and functional goals. We always have your long-term health and well-being in mind.
Reconstructive Surgery: Why Choose Cleveland Clinic London?
Our team of specialists evaluates your condition and designs the best solution for your needs.
At Cleveland Clinic London, you’ll find:
- Extensive experience: Our highly qualified consultants and surgeons have experience treating everything from routine to complex conditions. They are leaders in their fields, based in London’s top teaching hospitals.
- Collaborative care: We bring all the experts you need together under one roof. We discuss complex cases together with experts from other surgical specialties to create your treatment plan. Your team also includes skilled nurses and physiotherapists who help provide comprehensive care. This includes preoperative care, surgery, postoperative therapy and nursing care to give you optimum results.
- Advanced treatments: Our experienced consultants are at the forefront of developing new techniques and treatments to ensure that results are continually progressing and improving.
- Advanced technology and state-of-the-art facilities: Our hospital and outpatient centre are equipped with the latest technology. We designed our facilities to give you the best possible experience.
- Ongoing communication: We talk to you regularly to provide clear information about your healthcare journey. Our consultants are on hand to promptly answer your concerns. We involve clinical psychologists in all complex reconstructions to help manage your mental and physical well-being.
Conditions We Evaluate and Treat
We treat people who have been affected by:
- Soft tissue defects caused by trauma, cancer surgery, burns or scarring from previous surgeries.
- Skin cancer, including melanoma, squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinoma.
- Sarcoma, cancer that can affect almost any tissue in the body, including skin, fat, muscle and bone.
Reconstructive Surgery Services at Cleveland Clinic London
Our reconstructive surgery services include:
- Soft tissue coverage and complex wound treatment.
- Sarcoma reconstruction.
- Post-bariatric rejuvenation (excess skin removal after weight loss surgery).
- Reconstruction after skin cancer treatment and sentinel lymph node biopsy.
Soft tissue coverage and complex wound treatment
If you have a soft tissue defect, many factors can affect wound healing. For example, extensive scarring or large wounds that affect many structures (muscle, tendon or bone) can make healing difficult.
At Cleveland Clinic London, we perform complex reconstruction procedures using state-of-the-art microsurgery techniques. Microsurgery can help provide better skin coverage in challenging wounds. These techniques can even reconstruct defects where there has been a loss of other structures such as muscle, tendon or bone.
Our plastic surgeons have several techniques to move soft tissue from one place to another to provide soft tissue coverage and improve outcomes, including:
- Skin grafts: Surgeons take a thin shave of skin from a different site in the body, usually your thigh or buttock, and transfer the skin to the wound.
- Local flaps: Surgeons transfer tissues next to the wound to cover the defect. This method is more often used for smaller defects, like from skin cancer excisions. Since the skin is taken from right near the wound, it has a similar quality to the area it’s covering.
- Pedicled flap: This type of flap consists of a block of tissue that has a blood supply from a particular blood vessel. Surgeons keep the blood supply intact and move the block from one place to another to reconstruct a defect.
- Free flaps: A free flap is similar to a pedicled flap, except the block of tissue is completely divided from the body. The surgeon can move it to a location on the body, far away from its original location. The surgical team reconnects the free flap to a blood supply.
Treatment for sarcomas usually requires excision — surgically removing the tumour and a margin (area) of normal tissue around the tumour as well. This treatment can cause complex defects involving multiple types of tissue (including bone, muscle, fat and skin).
Plastic surgery can reconstruct the defect caused by the excision. We may use a variety of techniques to restore form (the “hole”) and function (the impact of the loss of the structures that have been removed). The sarcoma surgeon, plastic surgeon and therapy teams discuss and plan the surgery together to coordinate the procedure and rehabilitation.
After experiencing substantial weight loss, whether due to bariatric surgery or other weight loss methods, people are often left with excess skin. This excess skin can create several issues, both psychological and medical.
- Preventing exercise: People may be unwilling to engage in healthy activities such as swimming since they feel uncomfortable around public exposure.
- Feeling unfinished: They may also feel that their weight loss journey is not yet finished until they have addressed the excess skin issue.
- Skin infections: The skin folds can rub together, causing abrasions and skin infections. They can also be difficult to keep clean and can begin to have an odour. People most commonly have trouble with the abdomen, thighs, upper arms and breasts.
Plastic surgeons recommend skin surgery only when a person’s weight has stabilised. During the postoperative period, people often find relief through supportive garments and physiotherapy.