When Reconstructive Surgery is Necessary
Sometimes appearance changes as the result of
cancer surgery, vehicle accidents, work-related
accidents, physical abuse or even dog bites.
When this happens, CHA psychologists are available
to help patients and their families deal with
the psychosocial issues involved.
Depression and social anxiety often results
in individuals with acquired facial and hand
deformities, says David Sarwer, PhD, CHA team
psychologist. “Post-traumatic stress disorder
also can occur. Reconstructive surgery and prosthetic
care are important, but many psychosocial issues
Patients who are clearly disfigured lose their
anonymity -- they can no longer walk through
the mall or go to a movie without being noticed.
CHA psychologists help with the behavior and
cognitive modifications that can help patients
reintegrate into society.
“We try to address the thoughts and behaviors
around patients’ changed appearance,” Dr.
Sarwer says. “We help patients develop
coping skills -- how to deal with unwanted stares
and comments, how to relate to acquaintances,
work colleagues and partners.”