Cosmetic surgery is a form or reconstructive surgery that can enable patients to improve their facial appearance and thereby, their self-esteem. It is often termed as plastic surgery since it relies on the re-sculpting or reshaping of facial features to enhance them. Cosmetic surgery is a way for patients to achieve long-lasting, dramatic changes in their appearance. The most common procedures that are performed in the purview of cosmetic surgery as-as follows:
- Mid-face cheek lift – One of the earliest signs of ageing is the drooping of the cheeks and the adjoining areas. In the mid-face cheek lift procedure, minimal incisions around the ear and the hairline of the patient are made in order to elevate the sagging cheek tissue (malar fat pad). This results in the cheekbones getting a younger appearance, and it markedly decreases the nasolabial folds around the mouth. The fat pad is then restored to its original position and secured with sutures. Mid-face lifts provide more permanent results than those provided by dermal fillers, and the recovery time from the surgery is shorter than that of the traditional facelift procedure.
- Face lift – A face lift, also known as a rhytidectomy, is a cosmetic surgical procedure carried out to reduce the signs of ageing in the face and neck region. Different types of face lift procedures exist ranging from minimally invasive incisions to more extensive remodelling. In the traditional face lift procedure, the mid-face, jowls and neck are correct and the excess skin is removed. Tightening of the skin and the underlying tissue is carried out and removal of the excess skin and fat takes place. Other procedures such as the short scar face lift, subperiosteal lift, and deep plane lift can be carried out as per the patient’s requirements.
- Brow lift – A brow lift, alternatively known as a browplasty is carried out to tighten the tissues and skin in the forehead and around the eyes. It enables the cosmetic surgeon to reverse the signs of ageing in the patient around the upper eyelids, forehead skin and the eyebrows. In an open brow lift surgery, incisions can be made in the creases of the forehead or along the patient’s hairline following which the underlying tissues can be elevated. The excess fat underlying is removed and the lifted eyebrow is sutured in the lifted position. Other methods of carrying out the brow lift procedure are the endoscopic lift, browpexy and the direct brow lift.
- Cheek and chin implants – Facial implants are used in cheek and chin surgeries where the implantation of specifically designed solid, tissue – compatible materials is done to augment or shape the structure of the patient’s face. Implants used for sculpting the cheek are inserted through an incision inside the mouth or below the lower eyelid during the procedure. In the case of chin implants, the implant is inserted into the space in front of the jaw bone. This can be done by means of an incision in the floor of the mouth along the inner lip or the area just below the chin.
What are the risks involved in cosmetic surgery?
- In rare cases, surgical complications arising from anaesthesia such as pneumonia and blood clots are possible.
- There is a risk of infection at the surgical site, which may impair wound healing and lead to scarring.
- Accumulation of fluid under the skin or vascular oedema can take place as a consequence of surgery.
- During the surgery, mild to severe bleeding may occur, which may require a blood transfusion in some cases.
- Patients may experience numbness and tingling sensation arising from nerve damage
What makes an ideal candidate for cosmetic surgery?
- The patient must not be an active smoker and must stop smoking 6 weeks prior to the procedure as well as after it. This is necessary as smoking can adversely affect wound healing and increase the risk of scarring.
- The patient must thoroughly understand the risks of the procedure, the healing process, recovery time and the changes that he/she can expect in the aftermath of the surgical procedure.
- Other morbid conditions like diabetes and hypertension must be under control since they may affect the surgical outcomes and wound healing.
Cosmetic surgery is a type of reconstructive surgery which allows patients to enhance their facial features by surgical means. A wide range of procedures such as full face lifts, mid-face lifts, brow lifts and implants are available to patients as per their requirements. With increasing surgical innovation, these procedures can be carried out in a safe and effective manner while providing long-lasting, permanent results.
As with other invasive surgeries, cosmetic surgery also carries significant risk if performed by an inexperienced surgeon. Patients must ensure that they choose the right surgeon and medical facility for their procedure to ensure best results.
Dr Debraj Shome is a highly experienced oculoplastic surgeon based in India. He has various accolades and medical distinctions to his name.