Nip and tuck: An introduction to plastic surgery

Plastic surgery is any type of surgery that aims to change the appearance of a body part. Whether it be bigger boobs, smaller noses or smoothing a scar from 15 years ago, many people are curious about the different procedures involved in this type of surgery, so we have compiled an overview of the different paths available for those interested in knowing more.

Cosmetic surgery is an option for those wishing to alter a body part for mostly aesthetic reasons (meaning the way something looks), whereas reconstructive surgery is undertaken when a part of the body doesn’t function or appear the way it should. Reconstructive surgery can range from separating webbed toes to reattaching limbs.

Not all surgeries are created equal

There is actually a ‘ladder system’ of classification for plastic surgery, depending on the complexity of an operation and the likelihood that complications will occur. Closing a wound is simple and therefore at the bottom of the ladder, whereas microsurgery to reattach limbs is at the top.

Reshaping

Reshaping cosmetic techniques include:

Mentoplasty: Chin surgery;
Rhinoplasty: Nose surgery; and
Otoplasty: Ear surgery conducted to reduce the size and change the position of the ears. It is often conducted during childhood (after four years when the ears are fully grown), but may also be used to change the appearance of adult ears.

Dermabrasion: The skinny of it

Dermabrasion is a surgical technique in which the top dermal layers are scraped away to reduce wrinkles or scarring. It can also be medically indicated for the removal of skin cancer.

Hair replacement: Hair’s looking at you, kid

Hair replacement is a cosmetic surgery procedure that replaces hair loss through balding or as a result of injury (in which case the procedure is usually reconstructive, not cosmetic). It involves taking skin from areas with healthy hair growth, and grafting it to balding areas or areas that have lost their hair cover as a result of trauma.

Body of evidence

Finally, the choice to undergo plastic surgery is entirely up to an individual, whether it is for cosmetic reasons or to correct part of a body which has undergone trauma in an accident or previous surgery. Plastic surgery is very common (especially if you’re living in LA) but there are always different levels of risks involved. You also need to be in the right headspace, which is why you should always see your health professional as the first step in this decision making process.

Reshaping

Reshaping cosmetic techniques include:

Mentoplasty: Chin surgery;
Rhinoplasty: Nose surgery; and
Otoplasty: Ear surgery conducted to reduce the size and change the position of the ears. It is often conducted during childhood (after four years when the ears are fully grown), but may also be used to change the appearance of adult ears.

Dermabrasion: The skinny of it

Dermabrasion is a surgical technique in which the top dermal layers are scraped away to reduce wrinkles or scarring. It can also be medically indicated for the removal of skin cancer.

Hair replacement: Hair’s looking at you, kid

Hair replacement is a cosmetic surgery procedure that replaces hair loss through balding or as a result of injury (in which case the procedure is usually reconstructive, not cosmetic). It involves taking skin from areas with healthy hair growth, and grafting it to balding areas or areas that have lost their hair cover as a result of trauma.

Body of evidence

Finally, the choice to undergo plastic surgery is entirely up to an individual, whether it is for cosmetic reasons or to correct part of a body which has undergone trauma in an accident or previous surgery. Plastic surgery is very common (especially if you’re living in LA) but there are always different levels of risks involved. You also need to be in the right headspace, which is why you should always see your health professional as the first step in this decision making process.

Body talk
There are many different areas people choose to alter, either in size or shape, the most common being;

Breasts;
Ears;
Eyes;
Face;
Hair;
Nose; and
Abdomen.

Different areas receive different attention. Therefore, plastic surgery can also be categorised by the types of techniques surgeons use:

Liposuction: Bye bye belly

Liposuction, also known as lipoplasty, reshapes the body by removing the fat that lies just under the skin’s surface. All you normally need is some local anaesthetic and away you go. Up to 17 litres of fat can be aspirated.

Lipoplasty techniques may be used for:

Breast reduction: For well-endowed ladies wishing to go down a few cup sizes, or;
In conjunction with or preceding lift, tuck and body contouring procedure to remove fat deposits from the targeted areas, including:
Face;
Neck;
Buttocks;
Thighs; and
Abdomen.

Augmentation procedures: When size does matter

Augmentation procedures are usually for fitting implantable objects or injectable solutions to increase the size of something. For example, a ‘boob job’ involves implants to increase breast size.

Other common procedures include;

Face: Devices made from a range of materials can be implanted to change the shape or contour of facial features such as the chin, nose, jaw or cheekbones; and
Lips: Lip augmentation procedures usually involve only the injection of filling solution (e.g. human fat, collagen) into the lips (a non-surgical treatment), and do not require surgical incision.

Body contouring, lifts, nips and tucks

Body contouring involves removing excessive, loose or sagging skin from particular areas of the body, and reshaping and increasing the tone of skin. Common body contouring procedures include:

Brachioplasty: Or arm lift for unwanted ‘tuckshop lady’ arms;
Lower body lift: Involves tightening skin on the buttocks, abdomen, waist, hips and outer thighs. It can be performed as a single procedure or in stages, and typically follows reductive cosmetic surgery such as liposuction;
Mastoplexy: A breast lift involves a number of incisions around the nipple to reposition it. A breast lift may be conducted in combination with breast augmentation;
Thigh lift: The skin of the inner thigh is typically cut to enable the removal of excess skin;
Abdominoplasty: Also known as a tummy tuck, abdominoplasty involves the removal of excessive skin and fat from the abdominal area, and often also alters abdominal muscles to create a smoother appearance with increased tone;
Brow lift: Also known as a forehead lift, a brow lift involves incisions in the skin around the hair line. It removes skin from the brow or forehead with the aim of reducing wrinkles and sagging skin on the face;
Rhytidectomy: Or as most will know it, a face lift. It removes and re-tones skin on the face, with the aim of removing features typically associated with ageing skin such as sagging and wrinkles. Fat may also be removed during a face lift and, in some cases, implants are added and soft tissues augmented to change the contours of the face;
Blepharoplasty: Commonly known as an eyelid lift. It can involve the upper, lower or both eyelids. It may involve removing excessive skin to prevent sagging and wrinkling, and sometimes also removing small fat deposits around the eyes.

These procedures are commonly performed in combination. For example, eyelid lifts and facelifts are often done together.

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One Response to “Nip and tuck: An introduction to plastic surgery”

  1. Austin plastic surgeons Says:

    A very well written and informative post, thanks for sharing this and keep up the excellent work.


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