A lot of people think plastic surgery is cosmetic – a nip and a tuck to look like their favourite celebrity. But this is not the reality for many of the 20 million people who live with scarring in the UK. For many people, plastic surgery is urgently needed to repair and reconstruct missing or damaged tissue caused by illness, injuries and accidents.
The Scar Free Foundation funds research so that people who have survived cancer, burns and birth differences - like cleft lip and palate - can heal with minimal or no scarring.
Dr Reid leads a research team at the University of Manchester and works in major trauma at Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust - where he mostly treats people who have been in road accidents. He is a specialist in microsurgery, nerve injury and limb reconstruction.
Working with a dedicated team of NHS surgeons and therapists, Dr Reid helps people to regain the function and appearance of their injured hands and legs. The goal is to get people as close to normal as possible, so they can return to work and have better lives.
Dr Reid uses a variety of plastic surgery techniques to repair damage to the hands and legs. These include skin grafts and skin flap surgery – where a piece of tissue from one part of the body is transferred to another, along with the blood vessels that keep it alive.
As well as treating patients, Dr Reid carries out research into nerve regeneration. He is especially excited about unlocking the potential of stem cells to repair nerves and help wound healing.
The hope is that in the future, doctors will be able to take stem cells from a patient’s own tissue and use them to regrow nerves. This will help people with scarring to regain the function and feeling in affected parts of their body like their hands and legs.