Limb reconstruction surgery is most often an immediate requirement due to an accident at home, in the car or at work. Alternatively, patients may elect to have reconstructive surgery to rectify a defect or abnormality.
Dr Slabbert has over 27 years experience working as a Reconstructive surgeon in the Trauma Section of the Netcare Milpark Hospital. He has performed thousands of successful procedures which were caused by accidents as well as those elective procedures.
Dr Slabbert performs various reconstructive surgeries on upper and lower limbs, i.e. hands, arms, feet and legs.
This kind of surgery is indicated in the following types of trauma, amongst others:
* The brachial plexus is a system of nerves that controls movement and feeling in the arm and hand. Injury or damage to these nerves may cause loss of sensation or movement, or weakness in the hand, arm or shoulder.
Accident cases, arrive in the Emergency Rooms (Casualty) and the medical staff on duty will immediately stabilise the patient. Dr Slabbert will then be called to perform an assessment and a procedure is scheduled depending on the type and severity of the injury.
The approach is different when if you are seeking an elective surgery. In these cases, he has the opportunity to consult and discuss your requirements in an unhurried manner. Perhaps it may be necessary to schedule more than one consultation with you to establish your emotional and physical suitability. Dr Slabbert will explain all aspects of the desired reconstructive proc to you at length to enable you to make an informed decision.
The affected area will be assessed, and your past and current state of health will be evaluated. Full disclosure is very important.
You will be advised to avoid certain medications, and smoking, in the period leading up to your procedure.
Dr Slabbert makes use of a technique known as microvascular surgery, which allows limbs to be reconstructed with optimal functionality as well having a more favourable aesthetic outcome. Thanks to this state of the art technique, many limbs are spared from amputation.
Dr Slabbert will move local or regional soft tissue and muscle to the affected area to build it up and assist with bone healing. Blood vessels can be as small as 1mm in diameter and are connected microscopically.
Once Dr Slabbert is satisfied with the reconstruction process, he will proceed to suture and close up and place gauze and bandages over the site of the surgery. Tiny drainage pipes may be inserted, as the build-up of blood or fluid can delay healing and cause discomfort.
The extent of your surgery will determine whether you need to spend a night or an extended period in the hospital. This will be discussed ahead of time so that you can make the necessary arrangements.
After your procedure, Dr Slabbert and his nursing team will make sure that you are as comfortable as possible, and will give you comprehensive advice on how to take care of your wound. The necessary pain medication will be prescribed.
Recovery time from limb reconstruction surgery depends on the extent of the surgery. This will be discussed in more detail before your procedure. Be sure to avoid strenuous exercise or lifting heavy objects during your recovery.
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