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What Is Leg Reconstructive Surgery?

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  • Written By: Erik J.J. Goserud
  • Edited By: PJP Schroeder
  • Last Modified Date: 14 November 2016
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Reconstructive surgery refers to the surgical act of restoring function to a particular part of the body. Leg reconstructive surgery therefore describes the act of restoring function specifically to the leg. The need for leg reconstructive surgery can come about from injury, genetics, or disease. There are many structures in the leg that, if damaged, can affect its functionality, and the different kinds of leg reconstructive surgery vary by structure.

Walking is something that many people take for granted. Few are thankful for their legs while playing a round of golf, walking the dogs, or getting up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. It is usually not until people know what it's like to have limited mobility that they appreciate the use of their legs. Thankfully, when a person suffers an event that compromises his or her ability to walk, there are sometimes surgical interventions that may solve the problem.

Leg reconstructive surgery may focus on the ligaments, tendons, bones, or muscles of the leg. All of these structures are involved in the movement characteristic of the legs. Surgeons creatively use other parts of the body, synthesized products, or parts of a cadaver to replace or reconstruct a damaged area. One of the more common types of leg reconstructive surgery is the restoring of the knee.

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The knee is an important joint that allows the leg to bend and move freely. The knee sees the joining of three bones and many muscles held together through a complex system of ligaments and tendons. There are many things a person can do to damage a knee — usually, this involves some sort of trauma, or forceful injury, to this particular body part. This may be caused by a misplaced step, athletic injury, or force from a car accident, for example. Leg reconstructive surgery can reattach ligaments, support tendons, or rebuild and straighten bones to help restore function.

Sometimes, a genetic disorder or disease can cause the degradation of the leg over time. Reconstructive leg surgery can also help people suffering from these kinds of disorders. It is important to realize that, although leg reconstructive surgery may help restore function, a full recovery is not very likely.

Factors such as age, health, and prior injury all affect a patient's ability to recover fully from leg reconstructive surgery. A surgeon is like an artist of the body, and not all are equal in skills, training, or experience. It is wise to consult with many surgeons and do research before choosing a professional to operate.

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