Wound repair is a complex process involving both humoral and cellular elements. While it is incumbent upon all surgeons to understand the basic processes involved, the facial plastic surgeon is particularly interested in the factors that promote optimal wound repair to achieve the best functional and aesthetic result possible. This knowledge will provide the conditions necessary to optimize wound healing and, perhaps as importantly, provide the tools necessary to manage nonhealing wounds more effectively.
Another important aspect in wound healing involves the use of bioimplantable materials. Research in the field of plastic and reconstructive surgery has continued to broaden the spectrum of materials available for implantation and augmentation. Each material has advantages and disadvantages based on its molecular structure and inflammatory response. This chapter will focus on the mechanisms of surgical wound healing and address the various materials available to the plastic surgeon for implantation.
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