Reconstructive Plastic Surgery

Trauma Reconstruction

Reconstructive surgery is an essential part of the management of patient following trauma. This may be as simple as the careful repair of fingertip injuries under magnification to complex microsurgical re-attachment of body parts and transfer of tissues to preserve life and limb. Common injuries include those to the hands with tendon, nerve, artery and bony injuries from power tools, dog bites, traffic accidents and falls. These may be workplace injuries or occur in the home. Our surgeons are highly experienced in trauma reconstruction and manage a wide range of cases most days. It may take several operations before wound may heal and additional surgeries to restore function. We will partner with you and other specialists including General Surgeons, Orthopaedic surgeons and Physiotherapists to put you back together again.

A careful assessment of your injury will help direct what treatment you need and based on the mechanism of injury, it may be necessary to explore your wounds to repair important damaged structures.


What is Reconstructive Plastic Surgery After Trauma?

Reconstructive Surgery seeks to repair injured specialised tissues such as tendons, nerve, arteries/veins and bones to permit normal healing. Where tissue is lost due to trauma or infection, it may be necessary to transfer tissue from other parts of the body to allow healing. Additional surgeries are often necessary, sometimes in partnership with Orthopaedic surgeons to remove or replace plates, rods or replacement joints and these require good skin and soft tissue coverage for prompt healing and rehabilitation. It may also be necessary to undertake nerve and muscle transfers to help improve function. We follow our trauma patients for as long as needed to ensure that they are on a good pathway to healing and return of function


Recovery and Rehabilitation

During trauma reconstruction for deep lacerations, surgeons often have to repair nerves, vessels, muscles and tendons. In cases where there is a large amount of skin missing, skin grafts or flaps may be necessary.

Even with the most skilled surgeon, injuries like this can leave permanent scars. However, saying this, post-surgery we may discuss secondary scar revisions and schedule additional surgery to improve the look of these scars.

Post-operative care

Our surgical team will provide post-operative care instructions. This will include routine check-ups and information on how to care for the site at home.

You will be told:

  • what medications you can take
  • how to look after the surgical site
  • what signs to watch out for in case of infection
  • when you need to make another appointment with your surgeon.

After surgery it’s important to rest and you may need to take some time off work to recover.


Notify the RPS team immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • nausea, vomiting or diarrhoea
  • fever/high temperature – 38°C or higher
  • shortness of breath
  • leakage of blood or fluid after day one of recovery
  • increasing pain around the site
  • increasing redness around incision site
  • heavy bleeding from incision site.


More information

What else you should know

What is reconstructive surgery for hand trauma?

One common type of trauma treated with reconstructive plastic surgery is hand trauma. Hand trauma may require microsurgery to repair small blood vessels and nerves.

Hand trauma may include:

  • tendon damage
  • lacerations
  • loss of digits
  • fractures
  • crush injuries
  • burns
  • nerve damage.

Because of the unexpected nature of this trauma, plastic surgeons need to be available 24 hours a day.

Will I need additional surgery?

Whether you receive additional treatment will depend on the type of injury you have sustained. Your surgeon will discuss this during your consultation.

How will RPS manage my post-operative care?

Your RPS surgeon will give you specific advice regarding your individual post-operative recovery. They will advise:

  • where you will go after your surgery
  • what medication you will be given or prescribed
  • what bandages and dressings you will need and when they’ll be removed
  • if you require stitches, when they’ll be removed
  • when you can get back to normal activity and exercise
  • when to book your follow-up care.
Your surgeon will share tips on how to care for your dressings.

You will also need to be aware of any signs of infection, which could include:

  • increased pain
  • bad odour, discharge or pus from your cast, dressing or splint
  • red, warm skin around your hand
  • fever.

If you believe you may have an infection, contact your RPS team as soon as possible

Dr. Michael Findlay

Our Melbourne specialist

The team at RPS Melbourne are committed to providing you with the best possible outcome.

The extensive specialist skills of our surgical team ensure that you are provided with surgical options designed to maximise form and function.

Dr Michael Findlay holds an impressive array of academic credentials, extensive professional experience and a personal commitment to patient satisfaction.