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Reconstructive Surgery

Expert repair of scars, cleft palate and hernia

A middle-aged man kisses a smiling woman's cheek, representing the full life that can be led after reconstructive surgery.

Expert repair of scars, cleft palate and hernia

Highly trained members of our medical team at Scripps Clinic Division of Plastic Surgery offer the following reconstructive and reparative procedures in San Diego. As leading experts in plastic surgery, our physicians can help restore form, function and appearance due to deformity, injury or cancer treatment.

Scar removal and wound repair

Deep wounds that penetrate fat or muscle may not heal properly and can leave a visible scar. Many patients seek reparative surgery for wounds and scars caused by an accident, burn or other physical trauma. Our plastic surgeons at Scripps Clinic offer several surgical and nonsurgical options to remove scars, reduce their appearance or, in some instances, repair wounds in an attempt to prevent scars from occurring.

Cleft palate and cleft lip repair

Sometimes during a baby’s development, the right and left sides of the lip or roof of the mouth do not grow together, which causes a “cleft.” This separation in the lip is called a cleft lip (or harelip), while a separation in the roof of the mouth is called a cleft palate.


Because these defects are so visible, plastic surgery is often used to repair the cleft and help establish a more normal facial appearance. If you or your child has a cleft lip or cleft palate, talk with one of our physicians about the procedure and how much improvement you can expect to achieve.

Reconstructive procedures for skin cancer

Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the US. When cancer is removed from the skin, the affected area may require reconstruction. For example, cancerous lesions removed from the nose may leave a deformity that can be repaired only through reconstructive surgery.


The head of the Scripps Clinic Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Salvatore Pacella, MD, is the author of a comprehensive textbook on the repair of soft tissue defects of the face after Mohs surgery, and our highly trained and expert team works closely with Mohs surgeons to determine the right reconstructive surgery for you.

Repair of traumatic injuries to the face and hands

The complex anatomy of the face and hands leaves them especially vulnerable to traumatic injury. After fracture or other injury, the intricate facial bones from the top of the skull to the bottom of the chin will often require surgical realignment. In addition, any damaged skin and tissues of the face, mouth, nose or eyelids may require detailed repair. The hands are equally complex; injuries to tendons, nerves, vessels or small bones in the hands require surgical treatment with delicate techniques.

Microsurgery and DIEP flap

Microsurgery involves the transplantation of skin, muscle or bone from one part of the body to another. The patient’s own healthy tissue can be used to correct a variety of defects after cancer or injury.


Breasts can be reconstructed, jaws recreated and severely disabled extremities made to move with greater ease and function. Our surgeons use microsurgery to provide patients with many reconstructive options and have special expertise in breast aesthetics and reconstruction, including microsurgery and the deep inferior epigastric perforator (DIEP) flap.

Hernia repair and abdominal wall reconstruction

Known as the abdominal wall, the front part of the abdomen is a unique structure of muscles and tendons that provide stability, support and strength to the entire body. 


Fitness enthusiasts, athletes and physical therapists alike commonly refer to the abdominal wall as the “core.” Injury, damage or collapse of this structure can result in back pain, discomfort, balance problems or disability. For over a decade, the plastic surgeons and general surgeons at Scripps Clinic in San Diego have used a team approach with the latest in techniques and materials to repair the abdomen and reduce the risks of infection and recurrence.

Why choose Scripps Clinic Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery

When you’re considering plastic surgery, you want to be sure to choose a plastic surgery center that meets the highest standards for safety and quality.


Scripps Clinic plastic surgeons:


  • Are board certified in plastic surgery
  • Have years of experience in the artistry of plastic surgery
  • Partner with board-certified anesthesiologists


In addition, we perform all procedures in a hospital or approved ambulatory surgery setting for added sterility and infection prevention, as well as maximum safety.


The decision to have cosmetic surgery is very personal. It’s important to ask questions and talk with your plastic surgeon to:


  • Decide if this procedure is right for you
  • Find out what results you can realistically achieve 
  • Explore the benefits and risks 


Find Scripps Clinic locations for plastic surgery and reconstructive surgery.