19 April 2011

Plastic surgery for your face

Did you know that you can have your bat-ears pinned, lift those droopy eyelids, or get a new chin? In this article we list plastic surgery procedures to the face.


The following procedures are the top ten procedures to change your looks. Note that plastic surgery to the face is often done in conjunction with less invasive procedures using Botox, lasers or creams. The ultimate aim is to get rid of wrinkles, fine lines, deep lines or freckles, and to make the patient look younger.

1. Face lift
The plastic surgeon will call this a rhytidectomy, and this means surgery to literally lift and tighten the skin of the brow and cheeks to iron out the wrinkles.

While this won’t of course cure the ageing process, you will indeed be able to turn back the (sagging) hands of time.

The number of hours you’ll find yourself under the knife will mainly depend on the number of procedures you choose to have. The more extensive the procedures, the longer it will take. Some surgeons may even want to schedule separate sessions.

It is vital that you and your surgeon are clear about your expectations, the kind of procedure, and expected results.

Incisions are usually made just above the hairline at the temples. The incision will then extend in a natural line in front of the ear, and continue behind the earlobe to the lower scalp. In case the neck should also need some work done, a small incision will be made under the chin. After the skin is separated from the fat and muscle, the surgeon tightens the underlying muscle and membrane. The skin is pulled back and any excess is removed. Fat may also be removed from the neck and chin area in order to improve the contour. The layers of tissue are then closed by stitches while metal clips in your hairline may be used on the scalp. A small, thin tube may be placed under the skin behind your ear to ensure that any blood that might collect there will be drained, for one to two days after surgery. To keep bruising and swelling at bay, your surgeon might also want to wrap your head loosely in bandages. These will be removed one to five days after surgery.

2. Brow or forehead lift
Even though the main aim is to get rid of wrinkles and deep lines on the forehead, this procedure can also create an instant lift and add some vibrance to a dull appearance. The brow-lift is primarily designed to restore a more youthful position of the brow, giving it a beautiful arced look. The operation involves the removal of excess skin and the tightening or partial removal of the specific facial muscles responsible for the drop in brow position.

But how does a plastic surgeon actually ‘lift’ the brow? It can be done by either the open “traditional” brow lift or an endoscopic brow lift. An incision is made across the top of the scalp during the open "traditional" method. The endoscopic technique relies on five short incisions made in specific positions on the scalp. The surgeon inserts an endoscope (a thin telescope with a camera attached to one end) into one incision. The endoscope will then display images on a television monitor while the surgeon uses specially designed instruments to access the underlying forehead muscles and structures through the other incisions. The muscles are then altered and the brows repositioned and secured. The incisions in the skin are then closed. Although this technique is associated with less scarring, it’s less effective on patients with deep forehead wrinkles and sagging skin.

The surgeon will choose the best method according to the position and shape of your brow, the degree of forehead skin excess, the depth of forehead wrinkles and the position of your hairline.

Bruising and swelling of the forehead and around the eyes disappears within two to three weeks.

3. Eyelid lift (blepharoplasty)
This is the answer if you (almost) magically want to get rid of bags under the eyes, puffiness or droopy eyelids caused by stress, late night parties, work or your genes. In some cases, the skin of the eyelids may appear to be stretched, and in bad cases it can appear as if the skin of the eyelid is almost hanging over the eye.

By removing this excess fat and skin from the upper and lower eyelids, the shape of the eye is redefined to make your appearance much more alert and youthful. Through incisions made around the eye area, the surgeon separates the skin from underlying fatty tissue and muscle, removes excess fat and often sagging skin, while only trimming the muscle.

This procedure will not remove crow’s feet or eliminate dark circles under your eyes. It will also not lift sagging eyebrows.

The average length of the procedure is one to three hours. Eyelids may feel tight or sore for a short while after surgery.

3. Ear pinning (otoplasty)
There's no need to hide away if you have bat-ears. During this rather simple operation, some skin and cartilage behind the ears may be removed and the ears pinned closer to the skull. This can change a person's appearance quite dramatically.

An incision is made in the fold just behind the ear. The excess cartilage and skin is removed or the cartilage is trimmed to make it more in proportion. The cartilage is then pinned back with permanent sutures (stitches).

Except for bulky bandages immediately after surgery (not to worry, this will be removed within a few days), aching or throbbing of the ears can be experienced for a few days. The small scar behind the ear will fade with time. Ear pinning requires more or less two hours of surgery.

4. Nose surgery (rhinoplasty)
From hooked and crooked to small and dainty. In most cases patients ask plastic surgeons to enhance the shape of their noses or to make them appear somewhat smaller. But the nose should still fit the rest of the facial features. Rhinoplasty is used to correct a lot more than just the overall appearance of the nose: this procedure includes correcting birth defects, nose injuries and breathing problems.

Incisions are made from inside the nostrils or across the tissue separating the nostrils. The skin of the nose is then separated from the supporting bone and cartilage in order to sculpt the new desired shape. After the surgeon has reshaped the nose, the skin is reformed over the new framework and a splint is added in order for the nose to maintain its new shape. This procedure can take one to two hours, depending on the complication of the operation.

5. Facial implants
This procedure is a good choice if you want a subtle improvement, but not total perfection. This is mainly done to create high cheekbones, a stronger jawline or a stronger chin. Implants restore better balance to a person’s features or fill out a face that appears ‘sunken’ or tired. You can choose between chin, cheek or jaw surgery.

A chin implant may take between 30 minutes to an hour. The proper implant is inserted into a small incision placed along the lower lip in the inside of the mouth or in the skin just under the chin area. The chin is taped after surgery and usually dissolving sutures are used to close the incisions. Cheek implant surgery takes anything from 30 to 45 minutes. An incision is made inside your upper lip or lower eyelid. After a pocket is formed the implant is inserted. Jaw implants usually take about one to two hours. Incisions are made on the inside of both sides of the lower lip. After a pocket is created, the lower-jaw implant is inserted.

6. Lip augmentation
Want a pout like Posh? Or the sultry, sexy lips of Angelina? Through the centuries the lips have been the symbol of sensuality, sexuality and youth. Today a lot of people resort to some sort of temporary injectable to create the ever-desired fuller lips.

Other than the popular collagen (usually only lasts three to four months), or other soft tissue fillers, there are a few injectables on the market that are permanent.

How is lip augmentation performed with lip implants? The procedure is not complex at all and it doesn’t even take a considerable amount of time either. The surgeon will insert the implant through four incisions made at each corner of the mouth. After insertion the surgeon will resize the implant to fit your individual lip. The incision is neatly closed up and you are ready to go. Expect your lips to be swollen, tender and very full-lipped, but remember that this is completely normal for about a week after the operation.

7. Chin augmentation
This procedure creates a stronger jawline or a nice, strong chin for a person with a fish-like profile. It may involve surgery to the jawbone and the joint connecting the jawbone to the skull.

A chin implant normally lasts between 45 minutes and an hour. It may take a bit longer, depending on the extent of the procedures.

An incision is made inside the lower lip or under the chin. An appropriate implant is then placed inside the chin. Removable sutures, which are used if the incision was made under the chin, will be removed a week after surgery. If the incisions were made inside the mouth, they are closed with sutures that later dissolve. The chin is often taped afterwards. A lot of people don’t report any discomfort and you may be allowed to return home within a few hours of surgery. Most people return to work within a week after surgery and you could be back at the gym in about two weeks.

8. Neck lift
A firm neck is often the basis of a youthful look while a tight neck- and jawline can make a dramatic change to your appearance. A neck lift mainly involves tightening of the neck skin. The two procedures used to enhance the appearance of your neck are cervicoplasty (to remove excess skin) and platysmaplasty (to remove or alter neck muscles).

Weakened or loose neck muscles can be corrected by platysmaplasty surgery. Incisions are made behind the ears or under the chin in order to access the neck muscle and manipulate or remove it. Less invasive procedures include smaller incisions and the use of an endoscope (small camera attached to a thin tube).

Be sure to discuss all options with your surgeon. A neck lift operation lasts two to three hours and the exact procedure depends on your unique circumstances.

9. Neck liposuction
This is often performed to get rid of a double chin, and may be followed by a neck lift. Excess fat in the neck is removed and in some cases Botox injections can be used to get rid of “bands”. The surgeon will insert an intravenous line in a vein in your arm to ensure a healthy fluid level in your body during the procedure.

A small incision is made behind the earlobes or in the crease under the chin. A thin tube known as a cannula is inserted into the fatty area, where it breaks up fat deposits and sculpts the area as necessary while unwanted fat is removed with a high-pressure vacuum.

You will be compelled to wear a compression band for a few weeks after surgery, though you can return to work within a few days. The procedure takes an hour on average, while bruising and swelling will subside in about three weeks. Patients are generally happy with results and on the whole experience a boost in confidence and energy. You may consider a neck lift to help firm the extra skin caused by the fat that has been removed.

10. Cosmetic dentistry
Tom Cruise and many other Hollywood stars have undergone cosmetic dentistry to attain the perfect smile. Today we are spoiled with cosmetic treatments including veneers, crowns, bridges and tooth-coloured fillings. Your dentist can now effortlessly straighten, lighten, reshape or miraculously repair teeth.

The most popular procedure these days is probably teeth whitening. You can choose between different methods, including laser bleaching and custom-fit tray bleaching (this can be done in the comfort of your home). Bleaching of the teeth is a chemical process and remember that results are not permanent. It lasts between one and two years. In the case of badly discoloured, chipped or crooked teeth, veneers might be your best option.

Veneers are very thin pieces of specially-shaped porcelain or plastic that are glued over the front of your teeth. A lot of people prefer porcelain veneers to achieve the perfect white smile since the results can last up to twenty years. And as in the use of crowns, with veneers it usually won’t be necessary to remove much of the tooth itself.

If it’s a gap between your teeth that you’re worried about, you can ask your dentist for a dental bridge. A dental bridge refers to a false tooth. This is put between two porcelain crowns to fill in any gaps between teeth or that are left by missing teeth.

Hair revival
Did you know that baldness is solely due to the genetic makeup of the hair? Thus when healthy follicles are implanted on bald spots, the hair will continue to grow permanently. This inevitably involves surgical hair implants. But hair loss treatments have evolved greatly over the past decade and therapists can use lasers and other means to stimulate hair regrowth and to give the patient a full head of hair without surgery.

Originally skin with hair follicles was transplanted from the back of the head to the desired areas in front. Today healthy follicles are individually harvested and implanted in the thinning areas. This kind of implant creates a natural look and hair growth is permanent.

Take note that non-surgical treatments will never be a permanent solution to baldness. Hair revival procedures are virtually painless and after a two-month healing phase hair starts growing at the same rate as your non-transplanted hair. The average rate of growth is half an inch per month.

Anti-ageing Expert FAQ's
Ask our Anti-ageing expert


Read Health24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Live healthier

Exercise benefits for seniors »

Working out in the concrete jungle Even a little exercise may help prevent dementia Here’s an unexpected way to boost your memory: running

Seniors who exercise recover more quickly from injury or illness

When sedentary older adults got into an exercise routine, it curbed their risk of suffering a disabling injury or illness and helped them recover if anything did happen to them.