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Trauma reconstruction surgery

Reconstruction after trauma can include skin grafts, bone grafts, skin flap surgery and tissue expansion surgery

Skin graft on a patient's back after trauma reconstruction surgeryburn
Trauma reconstruction surgery is a type of plastic surgery to repair or reconstruct damaged tissues, skin, or bones due to injury. It aims to restore function and movement, relieve discomfort, and improve appearance.

Trauma is a sudden physical injury to the body as a result of an impact, accident, or violence. Common traumatic injuries include burns, facial injuries, and injuries affecting the hands, arms, feet, and legs.

At Circle Health Group, we have a network of talented consultant surgeons who can help to restore function as well as improving the appearance of the site of a trauma. Our multidisciplinary teams include plastic surgeons, cosmetic surgeons and reconstructive specialists, as well as consultant surgeons who specialise in certain areas of the body.

Call or book online today to arrange a consultation to discuss private trauma reconstruction surgery with a consultant of your choice at Circle Health Group. If you would like advice as to which is the right consultant for your specific trauma and circumstances, don't hesitate to give us a call.

Some of the most common injuries our specialists treat include:


Burns can be caused by exposure to fire, hot liquid or steam, electrical currents, hot surfaces such as metal or glass, ultraviolet radiation, or chemicals. Burns can be relatively minor or life-threatening.

Reconstructive surgery for burns includes skin grafts and surgery to remove scar tissue.

Facial injuries

Facial injuries may be sustained through sporting accidents, car accidents, interpersonal violence, or animal bites. Common facial injuries include lacerations (cuts), fractures, and craniofacial injuries involving the skull and facial bones. Reconstruction surgery focuses on the prevention of post-traumatic facial deformity and restoring function and appearance. Techniques include skin flap surgery, soft tissue transplants and microsurgery.

Hand or arm injuries

Hand injuries are the most common type of traumatic injury and include lacerations, crush injuries, fractures, damage to the nerves and tendons, ligament damage, and loss of fingers.

Reconstruction surgery for hand injuries includes skin grafting, skin flap surgery, and finger or thumb replantation surgery.

Foot and leg injuries

Injuries to the lower limbs are commonly caused by high-impact trauma such as car accidents or sports injuries. Some foot and leg injuries can be treated by orthopaedic surgery alone while more complex injuries such as open fractures (where the bone pierces the skin) often require a combination of orthopaedic and plastic surgery.

At your first consultation, you will typically be seen by a consultant plastic surgeon, a doctor specialising in plastic and reconstructive surgery.

Your first consultation is important as it's where you and your surgeon will discuss your history, symptoms, and expectations for treatment. Your consultant will ask you how your injuries occurred and how they impact your life. They will perform a physical examination and may order scans like an X-ray, CT or MRI to assess any damage to your bones or soft tissue.

It's very important that you are as comfortable and well-informed as possible during your time with us, and your first appointment is where we get to know you and encourage you to ask any questions you may have.

At the end of your appointment, your surgeon will decide if trauma reconstruction surgery is a suitable treatment for you based on your symptoms, physical examination and any tests or scans.

Your consultant will tell you everything you need to do to prepare for your surgery. If there's anything you're not sure about, or if you have any questions about how to prepare for your surgery, speak to your consultant or call the hospital for advice. Being well-prepared for your surgery will help to ease any anxiety you may have and help your surgery and recovery to go more smoothly.

Before your surgery, tell your consultant about any medical conditions or allergies you have and any medication you are taking, including over-the-counter medicines. Your consultant may tell you to stop taking some medications like blood thinners before your operation. This is to reduce the risk of bleeding during and after your surgery.

You will not be able to eat or drink anything from midnight on the day of your operation.

What lifestyle changes can I make before my surgery?

Being in optimal health before your surgery can reduce the risk of complications and speed up your recovery.

To make sure you are as healthy as possible before your surgery:

  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet with plenty of fruit, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains
  • If you smoke, try to stop at least eight weeks before your surgery
  • Avoid alcohol for a few days before and after your surgery. Alcohol thins the blood and can increase the risk of bleeding
  • Take regular exercise

There are several techniques used during trauma reconstruction surgery. The type of surgery you have depends on your injuries. Talk to your consultant about what will happen during your surgery.

Skin flap surgery

Skin flap surgery is where healthy tissue and blood vessels are moved from one part of the body to another to replace lost skin or fat and restore function and movement.

There are several different types of skin flap surgery:

  • Local flap - the flap is positioned next to the wound and the skin remains attached to maintain its blood supply
  • Regional flap - a section of tissue is attached to a specific blood supply
  • Bone or soft tissue flap - bone and overlying skin are transferred from one part of the body to another
  • Muscle and skin (Musculocutaneous) flap - provides more tissue and increased blood supply to the area
  • Microvascular free flap - involves detaching and reattaching skin and blood vessels using microsurgery

Skin grafts

This technique involves transferring healthy skin from one part of the body to another. Skin grafts can be split thickness which uses only the top layers of skin or full thickness which uses all the layers of the skin including the blood vessels.

Tissue expansion surgery

Tissue surrounding the injury is stretched to create the growth of new skin which is then used to reconstruct the damaged area.

Fat transfer surgery

Fat is removed from one area of the body and added to another to even out tissue.

Recovery from any type of surgery is different for everyone and depends on factors such as your age, general health and whether or not there were any complications during your surgery or recovery.

Recovery from trauma reconstruction surgery depends on the type of surgery you had and varies greatly between procedures.

Your consultant will be able to give you an estimated recovery timeline based on your individual circumstances.

As with all types of surgery trauma reconstruction surgery carries a risk of complications. Your consultant will explain all the possible risks and complications before your surgery and answer any questions you have about your procedure. Being as well-informed as possible about what to expect from your surgery will help put your mind at rest and allow you to make an informed decision so please ask any questions you may have.

Possible complications of any surgery include:

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Blood clots
  • Adverse reactions to the anaesthetic

Complications specific to trauma reconstruction surgery vary according to the type of surgery you had. Possible complications include:

  • Nerve damage
  • Damage to blood vessels
  • Poor wound healing
  • Scarring
  • Skin contour irregularities
  • The surgery may be unsuccessful

At Circle Health Group we have the experience and expertise to ensure the best possible care and outcome for our patients. As a patient with Circle Health Group, you can expect the highest standards of care including:

  • Flexible appointment times and locations that are convenient for you
  • The freedom to choose which hospital and consultant suit your needs
  • Personalised, consultant-led treatment plans tailored to your individual needs
  • Comfortable and safe private facilities maintained by expert multidisciplinary teams
  • Private ensuite rooms as standard
  • A range of delicious healthy meals
  • Affordable, fixed-price packages with aftercare included
  • Flexible payment options to help you spread the cost of your care

If you would like to see a consultant or learn more about trauma reconstruction surgery, book your appointment online today or call a member of our team directly on 0141 300 5009.

Content reviewed by Circle in-house team in February 2023. Next review due February 2026.

  1. Trauma, British Association of Plastic Reconstruction and Aesthetic Surgeons
  2. Trauma plastic, reconstructive and burns surgery, NHS The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust
  3. Overview. Plastic Surgery, NHS
  4. Plastic Surgery Techniques, John Hopkins

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