Cosmetic & Plastic Surgery
- Cosmetic surgery continues to grow in popularity, with 15.1 million cosmetic procedures carried out in the United States in 2013, an increase of 3 percent on the previous year.
- Procedures are available for almost any part of the body, but the choice to undergo cosmetic surgery should not be taken lightly. The results are often permanent, so it is important to be sure about the decision, to use an appropriate practitioner, and to have the right motivation.
- A surgeon may refer a patient for counseling before surgery if they believe there is an underlying problem that cannot be solved by the surgery, or if the patient shows signs of Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD).
- BDD can cause a person to perceive that there is something seriously wrong with their appearance, when objective evidence suggests otherwise.
- Reconstructive surgery is another type of plastic surgery. It aims to improve function and to give a normal appearance to a part of the person's body that has been damaged, for example, after a mastectomy. This article will focus on cosmetic surgery only.
Most common types of Cosmetic Plastic Surgery
Breast augmentation refers to procedures which increase the size or change the shape of the breasts. When the size of the breast is increased, the procedure may also be called ‘breast implant surgery’. Breast augmentation is not the same as breast lifts or breast reduction, which are actually different types of procedures.
Dermabrasion uses a specialized tool that gently ‘sands’ down the top layer of skin. Once the top layer of skin has been removed, the area heals and new skin replaces the old. The end result is smoother-looking skin.
Facelifts repair sagging, loose, drooping, or wrinkled skin on the face. During this procedure, facial tissues are lifted, excess skin removed, and skin replaced over repositioned contours. Neck lifts are commonly done in conjunction with facelifts.
Other procedures commonly done along with facelifts include nose reshaping, forehead lifts, or eyelid surgery.
Hair transplantation surgery, also known as hair restoration, is performed to improve the appearance of baldness. In this procedure, hair is moved from an area of thick growth to a bald area.
In a single session, more than a thousand hairs may be moved. Some people may require more than one session. The hairs which are moved are permanent, which means that no long-term care is necessary. Most hair transplants result in successful hair growth after the procedure.
Rhinoplasty refers to any surgery that repairs or reshapes the nose. Some people opt for rhinoplasty for cosmetic reasons. Others may have a medical reason, such as difficulty breathing or birth defects.
Rhinoplasty can be used to:
- Increase or reduce the size of the nose
- Correct problems following an injury
- Correct birth defects
- Relieve or improve breathing problems
- Narrow the shape of the nostrils
- Change the shape of the bridge
- Change the angle of the nose
Lip augmentation aims to give the patient fuller-looking lips. Usually, injectable dermal fillers are used to increase lip volume, shape, or structure.
Lip augmentation is not permanent. The effects tend to last around 6 months before a second procedure is necessary to restore shape and volume.
Liposuction is a cosmetic procedure that improves the shape of the body by removing fat deposits. This procedure is not intended for weight loss.
Localized fat deposits are removed directly beneath the skin by using a vacuum-suction canula, a pen-shaped instrument. Ultrasound may also be used to break up fat deposits prior to removal with suction.
Liposuction can be performed on the arms, thighs, stomach, hips, face, buttocks, and back. Liposuction can also remove fat tumors (lipomas) as well as reduce the size of breasts in men. This procedure can be used on more than one area in a single day.
Abdominoplasty, more commonly known as a ‘tummy tuck’, is used to improve the shape of the abdomen. Tummy tucks remove excess fat and skin and restore weakened or separated muscles in the abdomen in order to improve the profile. Tummy tucks can improve the appearance of loose or sagging skin, but cannot remove stretch marks.
A tummy tuck is not a replacement for an exercise routine or eating right for weight loss. The results of a tummy tuck are permanent, but maintaining a proper weight is critical to maintain the results.
Most common complications of Cosmetic & Plastic Surgery
Hematoma is a pocket of blood that resembles a large, painful bruise. It occurs in 1-6 percent of breast augmentation procedures and is the most common complication after a facelift. Hematoma is a risk in nearly all surgeries, and treatment sometimes includes additional operations to drain the blood.
2. Nerve Damage
The potential for nerve damage is present in many different types of surgical procedures. Numbness and tingling are common after plastic surgery and can be signs of nerve damage. Most women experience a change in sensitivity following breast augmentation surgery and 15 percent permanently lose nipple sensation.
Though postoperative care includes steps to reduce the risk of infection, it remains one of the more common complications of plastic surgery. In breast surgeries, for instance, cellulitis (a skin infection) occurs in 2-4 percent of people. In some cases, infections can be internal and severe, requiring IV antibiotics.
4. Deep Vein Thrombosis and Pulmonary Embolism
Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a condition where blood clots form in deep veins, usually in the leg. When these clots break off and travel to the lungs, it’s known as pulmonary embolism (PE). Though relatively uncommon, these complications can be fatal.
Surgery typically results in some scarring. Since cosmetic surgery seeks to improve the way you look, scars can be particularly troubling. Hypertrophic scarring, for instance, is an abnormally red and thick raised scar that occurs after 2-5 percent of breast augmentation procedures.
6. General Appearance Dissatisfaction
Although most people are satisfied with their postoperative outcomes, disappointment with the results is a real possibility. People who undergo breast surgery may experience contouring or asymmetry problems, while those undergoing facial surgeries could simply not like the result.
7. Organ Damage
Liposuction can be traumatic for internal organs. Visceral perforations or punctures can occur when the surgical probe comes into contact with internal organs. Repairing these injuries can require additional surgery. The perforations may also be fatal.
8. Anesthesia Complications
Anesthesia is the practice that allows patients to undergo surgery without feeling the procedure. General anesthesia, where medication is used to make you unconscious, can sometimes lead to complications. These include lung infections, stroke, heart attacks, and death. More common anesthesia risks include waking up confused and disoriented, and shivering. A less common complication is anesthesia awareness, or waking up in the middle of surgery.
Seroma is a condition that occurs when serum from your blood pools beneath the surface of the skin, resulting in swelling and pain. It looks like a large blister. This can occur after any surgery, and is the most common complication of a tummy tuck. Because seromas can become infected, they are often drained with a needle, effectively removing them, although there is a chance of recurrance.
10. Blood Loss
As with any surgery, some blood loss is expected. However, uncontrolled blood loss can lead to a drop in blood pressure with potentially deadly outcomes. Blood loss can happen while on the operating table, but also internally, after surgery.