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The Role of the Plastic Surgeons

The Role of Plastic Surgeons in Personal Injury Cases

In-Depth Guide for Lawyers

In personal injury cases, the expertise of plastic surgeons can be crucial, especially in cases involving disfigurement, scarring, and reconstructive needs. Understanding the role of plastic surgeons and the conditions they assess can significantly aid lawyers in presenting or defending comprehensive claims.
This article aims to elucidate the role of plastic surgeons in personal injury cases.

Expertise of Plastic Surgeons:
Plastic surgeons specialize in the repair, reconstruction, or alteration of the human body. They address both functional and aesthetic aspects following an injury.
Their role often involves the treatment of injuries that have resulted in disfigurement or scarring, requiring reconstructive surgery to restore appearance and function.

Conditions Best Assessed by Plastic Surgeons:

  1. Skin Injuries and Scarring: Plastic surgeons are particularly skilled in assessing skin damage, including deep lacerations, burns (see below), and other trauma that result in significant scarring. They evaluate the severity of scarring, considering factors like size, depth, location, and the likelihood of the scar's maturation or fading over time.
  2. Facial Injuries: Injuries to the face are a common concern in personal injury cases. Plastic surgeons assess facial trauma, including fractures, lacerations, and burns, and their impact on both function and appearance.
  3. Reconstructive Needs: They determine the need for reconstructive surgery, which may include skin grafts, scar revision surgeries, and reconstruction of facial features or other body parts. Their assessment includes the potential for future surgeries and the associated costs.
  4. Assessment of Scarring: The assessment of scarring goes beyond physical appearance, encompassing the emotional and psychological impact of disfigurement. Plastic surgeons evaluate the extent to which scarring affects an individual’s self-esteem, mental health, and social interactions.
  5. Hand Injuries: Hand injuries assessed by plastic surgeons include traumatic injuries, such as fractures, lacerations, tendon injuries, and nerve damage, as well as repetitive stress injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome. These injuries can significantly impact hand function, affecting grip strength, dexterity, and overall hand mobility. In cases of carpal tunnel syndrome, plastic surgeons assess the severity of nervecompression and the functional limitations it imposes. They may recommend surgical intervention, such as carpal tunnel release, and assess the potential for recovery post-surgery. Plastic surgeons determine the need for reconstructive procedures to restore hand function, which may include tendon repairs, nerve grafts, or joint reconstruction. They also consider the requirement for occupational therapy to regain hand function and manage pain.
  6. Burns: Plastic surgeons assess the degree and extent of burn injuries, which are categorized into first degree, second degree etc, based on the depth of skin damage. They evaluate the total body surface area affected and the potential for functional impairment or disfigurement. The treatment plan may include skin grafts, debridement (removal of dead tissue), and reconstructive surgeries. Plastic surgeons also assess the need for long-term rehabilitation, scar management therapies, and potential for future corrective surgeries. Burns often result in significant scarring. Surgeons evaluate the scar's characteristics and the likelihood of hypertrophic or keloid scar development. They consider the impact on mobility, especially with burns over joints, and the need for physical therapy to maintain function.

For lawyers handling personal injury cases involving disfigurement, scarring, or the need for reconstructive surgery, the expertise of plastic surgeons is invaluable.
Their assessments provide detailed insights into the physical impacts of such injuries, contributing significantly to the substantiation of claims