Vanderbilt Bill Wilkerson Center

Our Services

Facial Reconstruction

Vanderbilt's plastic and reconstructive surgeons work closely with their colleagues in Head and Neck Surgery to repair scarring or defects caused by cancer, cancer surgery or other conditions. Reconstruction of the face can be done with skin and tissue grafts and can help the recovering patient regain their self-image along with their health.

We also care for people who have suffered facial injuries using bone repair, tissue grafts and scar revision. Even facial paralysis from illness or injury can be treated with surgery to improve symmetry and movement. Surgical repair options are also available for people missing an ear or nose because of an accident or congenital defect.

Facial scarring from injury can cause self-consciousness and can also affect sensitivity and movement. No scar can be completely removed, but scars can be moved, disguised or reduced through surgery or resurfacing.

Rhinoplasty

Surgery of the nose can improve appearance, correct an injury or improve breathing. Vanderbilt's plastic and reconstructive surgeons are also board certified ear, nose, and throat surgeons, which translates to better outcomes for our patients.

Our surgeons will take skin type, age and facial harmony into account during a consultation. We will listen to your concerns and will work with you to design a personalized plan for surgery. Your surgeon might also recommend other procedures, such as a chin implant, to help balance the face. Rhinoplasty will not be done on anyone who has not finished growing, except for children whose breathing is significantly obstructed.

During surgery, bone and cartilage are sculpted to reshape and/or re-angle the nose. Most of the incisions are made inside the nose to prevent scarring. Splints and packing may be used to maintain the new shape while the nose heals. Bandages can often be removed in about a week and complete healing can be expected in a few weeks.

Ear Surgery

Otoplasty can reduce how far ears “stick out” and improve the proportion of the ears to the head and face. Ear surgery can take place any time after the ears are fully grown, normally by the time a child reaches school age.

Because children are often teased about ears, many doctors and families want this procedure done as early as possible. Adults can choose this surgery as well.

Ears can be reduced, pinned back or reshaped. Children are very good candidates because the cartilage in their ears is easier to work with. Even if only one ear needs attention, surgery may be done on both ears to make them as symmetrical as possible. Incisions and suturing are made behind the ear to limit scarring. Sutures hold the ear in the new position until it heals.

Chin and Neck Line Surgery

Surgery of the chin and neckline can help correct aesthetic concerns as well as dental alignment problems and other functional issues.

The chin is an important part of a person’s profile. Balancing the chin and the nose are key parts of cosmetic surgery, and surgeons often recommend chin surgery along with rhinoplasty for the best facial symmetry. Chin surgery includes inserting implants or moving bone to enhance the chin or removing bone to decrease the chin.

Jaw surgery can correct birth defects, dental problems and other issues while improving appearance. Surgeons can also perform liposuction to remove fatty tissue in the chin or neckline. Incisions are made inside the mouth or in natural creases under the chin for the insertion of implants and sculpting or moving bone. Chewing is limited for a few days after surgery, but most patients are fully healed in 2 months.

Surgery of the Eyelids

Eyelids that droop can affect vision as well as appearance. Blepharoplasty can correct eyelid droopiness, puffiness and bags under the eyes. Eyelid surgery is sometimes done with eyebrow or forehead lifts to achieve the best results. By removing excess skin and other tissue from the eyelids, blepharoplasty can make the area around the eyes look younger and less tired.

Because preserving vision is very important, eye conditions must be taken into account when considering this surgery. Incisions are made in the lashline or natural folds of the eyelids to reduce scarring. Excess tissue is removed and fine sutures close the incision. Eyelid puffiness can be corrected by a transconjunctival blepharoplasty in which the incision is made inside the lower eyelid. Because of the sensitive nature of the eye area, post-surgical care is very important to prevent infection and other problems.

Facelift Surgery

Although a facelift cannot stop the aging process, it can give a more youthful appearance and increase self-esteem.

It’s important to understand the limits of a facelift; bone structure, skin type and healing times make each facelift different. A realistic attitude about goals and results can help the patient get the most out of his or her improved appearance.

Facelifts are sometimes used with other procedures such as facial liposuction or eyelid surgery in order to get the best results. Surgery begins with an incision at the hairline and around the ear. Tissue is trimmed and muscles are tightened before the skin is repositioned and sutured. The surgery can take up to several hours; sometimes a drainage tube will be inserted for the first day or two. Most patients can return to work 2-3 weeks and scarring is usually hidden in natural creases or the hairline.

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