Plastic Surgery Can Help Soldiers Rebuild Their Lives
The public is becoming more aware lately of the difficulty faced by soldiers as they return to their everyday lives after living in combat zones. For many, the process of acclimation to new routines is difficult, and dealing with the psychological trauma of combat is even worse.
For soldiers who have been physically scarred and disfigured in combat, however, returning home presents a unique set of challenges. For these veterans, integration can be nearly impossible to complete, as their scars serve as physical and visceral reminders of their time overseas. Now it looks like plastic surgery has reached the point where it can finally help these soldiers to lead normal lives.
One Doctor’s Quest to Help Soldiers with Plastic Surgery
While nearly all plastic surgery practices can perform procedures that help soldiers recover from physical trauma, Dr. Timothy Miller has made it his mission to assist this group in particular. Miller, himself a Vietnam veteran, works with Operation Mend at UCLA’s plastic surgery center. This project began in 2007 with the goal of helping veterans recover from wounds received in combat.
“All these young guys, they’re treated for their injuries, but then there’s an underlying depression that can result from what they’ve been through and how they look,” Miller said.
“These are dads who couldn’t take their kids to a soccer game, who couldn’t go to the market without having an awful lot of people looking at them,” he added.
The Blessing of Reconstructive Plastic Surgery
Most people think of plastic surgery as an elective procedure meant to make people more beautiful. But in fact a good deal of the work plastic surgeons do is reconstructive. For veterans who have been badly disfigured by explosions and shrapnel, reconstructive plastic surgery can be exactly what’s needed for them to be able to feel at ease in public. For many soldiers, this is the crucial first step leading to full mental recovery.