Tissue Reconstruction Solutions

Soft tissue reconstruction can serve both traumatic and elective patients, helping to protect skin structures after injury or when wounds do not heal appropriately. Wound coverage can help to improve function, correct cosmetic concerns, and prevent infection. We provide the full gamut of treatments, from simple skin grafting to more elaborate transfers of tissue, fat, and muscle.

Woman's legs while she runs on a trail

Why Choose The LaVie Institute of Plastic Surgery?

At The LaVie Institute, our seasoned board-certified plastic and reconstructive surgeons provide a winning combination of clinical acumen, precision, and artistry coupled with a compassionate, patient-centric approach. Each treatment plan is carefully curated to produce the best outcome possible in terms of restoring the patient’s wellbeing, comfort, and mobility. From our state-of-the-art, cutting-edge technology to our world-class hospital-based clinic affiliated with the prestigious Swedish Medical Center, we aim to exceed expectations for excellence before, during, and after your procedure.

What Is Lower Extremity Reconstruction?

Lower extremity reconstruction has the goals of reviving limb function, covering critical structures, preventing infection and disease, and establishing a satisfactory aesthetic presentation. Procedures address loss of sensation or loss of motion due to injury, trauma, bone tumors, infections, vascular or metabolic disease, malformation, arthritis, and degenerative joint disease.

What Will the Procedure Entail?

Lower extremity reconstruction is a complex endeavor due to the exponential variables involved with each case. The injury location, extent of the damage, and tissue type will all play a role in determining the best treatment approach, as will the patient’s overall health, medical background, and age. The most common techniques involve the use of autologous flaps. Skin grafting and tissue expansion can also be employed. The procedure typically takes 2-6 hours to perform and is conducted under general anesthesia for maximum client comfort.

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Flap Reconstruction

Flap reconstruction (also referred to as tissue-based reconstruction) involves relocating healthy tissue from a donor region in the body to the damaged area that has lost skin, fat, muscle, or skeletal support. It is a common technique in terms of lower extremity reconstruction.

There are different types of flap reconstruction surgery, including the following:

Local Flap

A local flap is created adjacent to the wound, with the tissue remaining attached to its blood supply at one end.

Regional Flap

A regional flap utilizes a tissue section attached to a specific blood vessel. The flap is taken from an area slightly further away than is common with the local flap.

Bone/Soft Tissue Flap

This approach involves transferring a flap of bone and its overlying skin tissue. 

Musculocutaneous Flap

This kind of skin and muscle flap is typically pursued when the treatment area requires an enhanced blood supply with added bulk. It is often chosen during breast reconstruction after mastectomy. 

Microvascular Free Flap

Microsurgery is used to detach and then reattach the skin and blood vessels from the donor area to the treatment zone.

Latissimus Flap

This type of flap is obtained from a region of the back and is composed of fat, muscle, and skin. The flap will stay connected to its original blood supply once it is transferred.

DIEP Flap and TRAM Flap

These flaps are taken from donor material (fat, skin, and sometimes muscle) in the abdomen. 

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Skin Grafting

During skin grafting, an ultra-thin piece of skin is harvested from another region of the body, such as the thighs, and is then transferred to the area of need. The graft will take a little under one week to set and then it must be protected with dressings for several more weeks as it thickens. The donor area will need approximately two weeks of recovery time to heal.

TMR for Phantom and Residual Limb Pain in Amputees

Today, the surgical field is being revolutionized by significant breakthroughs in the reduction of debilitating and chronic pain for amputees. A procedure called TMR (Targeted Muscle Reinnervation) can significantly reduce phantom limb pain when compared to conventional nerve treatments, allowing patients to regain their enjoyment of physical activities, family time, and even their careers without dependency on narcotics. LaVie maintains a TMR clinic at the Swedish Medical Center and our providers are dedicated to advancing the most cutting-edge solutions available today for elevating quality of life and ending the tyranny of chronic pain for amputees.

Regenerative Treatments

PRP Injections

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is a blood product derived from the body that, when concentrated and injected, can help to speed up healing and even regenerate healthy tissue. The growth factors in PRP can be beneficial when combined with any reconstructive procedure addressing the lower extremities. In recent years, PRP therapy has become widely used, thanks to its safe, non-invasive approach in treating damaged tendons, muscles, cartilage, and ligaments and in relieving symptoms of arthritis. 

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy, a treatment that delivers pure pressurized oxygen to the patient, has a history of success in the field of scuba diving. In medicine, it can be used to combat infection and increase wound healing. Increased oxygen in the lungs fights bacteria while triggering the release of growth factors and healing stem cells. When an injury or trauma takes place, increased oxygen is vital for restoring function and survival. 

What to Expect After Surgery

Recovery will vary for each patient according to their unique treatment plan, the specific reconstruction techniques used, and their own individual healing abilities. After surgery, recovery can typically take up to 6 weeks. Clients should be prepared that it may take as long as a year before they can fully return to their regular exercise regimen. Our team will provide detailed aftercare instructions and will schedule regular follow-up visits to ensure that your expectations are met, and your questions are fully answered.

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