It’s a sad truth, but one that needs to be stated nonetheless: nearly 25% of women and 14% of men are victims of domestic violence every year. You probably know at least one person in your life who has dealt with physical and emotional abuse at the hands of their partner, though you may not be aware of who it is. Nearly 75% of domestic violence victims receive injuries to their head and faces, some of which cause severe damage and leave horrible disfiguring scars. Cosmetic surgery for post-trauma patients can help repair the damage and improve the look of those scars as a way of helping domestic violence victims recover and move forward with their lives after suffering terrible abuse. Two of the most common surgeries used are rhinoplasty and scar revision.
As the most prominent feature on the face, the nose is often the first thing that gets injured when the face is struck. The nose is also made up of a number of small pieces of cartilage that are fragile and easy to break when there is enough force behind the impact. That’s why it is a very common injury among professional athletes and domestic violence victims.
When the bones and cartilage in the nose are damaged and don’t heal properly, the structure of the nose is compromised, which can cause the nose to be disfigured and reduce its function. The nose doesn’t have to be totally broken for problems to occur; damage can occur even with less forceful impacts.
Rhinoplasty is a surgical method of reshaping the nose from the inside out by repairing, removing, or replacing the internal nasal structure. Once the inside of the nose has been reshaped, the external shape of the nose can be corrected as well. For victims who suffer from disfigured noses that give them a constant reminder of the abuse, having a new nose can be a very important step in moving forward from their ordeal.
Post-Trauma Scar Revision
The same can be said for victims who suffer from scars that are the result of a traumatic injury to their face. Victims can suffer truly horrible injuries and be left with disfiguring or unsightly scars that continually bring back memories of the abuse. Cosmetic surgeons can use scar revision techniques to improve or minimize scars so that they are less conspicuous.
Scar tissue forms when the skin is injured through cutting, tearing, or burning. The skin has specific proteins and fibers in it that form the scar tissue so the injury is protected while it heals and to keep the skin tougher and safer afterward. Some scars are as minor as a thin white line, while others are rough, thick, and bumpy. No matter what kind of scar a victim has, it isn’t always easy to conceal, especially when it’s on their face.
There are multiple ways to revise scar tissue so that it is less noticeable and easier to hide. One way to completely remove the scar tissue in such a way that the skin will heal in a much smoother fashion. More severe or extensive scarring can sometimes be concealed using skin grafts or flaps to cover up the tissue. Other times the scar tissue can be stretched a little so that it spreads out and is less visible. The method of improving a victim’s scars varies depending on the extent of the injuries and the scar tissue itself, but there are different approaches that can be chosen by the surgeon.
Face to Face
Dr. Andres Bustillo is one of 2600 plastic surgeons around the country who participate in the Face to Face program, a nonprofit organization that provides reconstructive cosmetic surgery to victims of domestic violence free of charge. The doctors involved work closely with domestic violence shelters to ensure that the victims are getting the help they need, both physically and emotionally. There are certain conditions that must be met before a victim can be helped, including that they have been out of their abusive relationship for at least a year, but the doctors of Face to Face can help victims who suffer from their injuries no matter how long ago the injuries were sustained.
Dr. Bustillo also performs rhinoplasty and scar revision surgery out of his office in Coral Gables, FL. To schedule an appointment for cosmetic or reconstructive plastic surgery from Dr. Bustillo, call (305) 663-3380 or send your information through our Contact page.