Cosmetic & Plastic Surgery - FAQs

This is only for the purpose of information and cannot be substituted for medical advice. In case of a query, discuss it with your doctor.

What procedures do plastic surgeons perform?

Aesthetic (also called cosmetic) problems with the face, neck and trunk, including forehead, eyes, nose, ears, lips, chin, neck, breasts, abdomen, hips, buttocks, thighs, calves, arms, and skin. Congenital deformities of the hands and face, including clefts of the lip and palate.

Benign (non-cancer) and malignant (cancerous) tumors of the head and neck, skin and soft tissues.

Traumatic injuries of the bony facial skeleton and hand as well as soft tissue injuries of any part of the body.

Surgery of the hand.

Surgery of the jaw and facial skeleton.

Any type of skin cover and replacement problems.

All types of reconstruction following removal of cancer resulting in disfigurement of any part of the body including the face, breasts, trunk.

What is aesthetic (cosmetic) surgery?

Aesthetic surgery, also known as cosmetic surgery, seeks to improve an individuals appearance. These type of operations most often involve the nose, ears, face, forehead, eyelids, breasts, abdomen, hips and thighs.

Is a plastic surgeon a skin specialist?

Dermatologists specialize in skin, but the plastic surgeon has an equally important role of the treatment of benign and malignant tumors of the skin. The skills of a plastic surgeon are especially needed when large areas of the skin must be removed and replaced especially where disfigurement may result or when these areas are in conspicuous areas such as the face. Plastic surgeons also perform skin resurfacing techniques, for cosmetic purposes, in order to achieve healthier looking skin by reducing facial wrinkling and pigmentary changes of the skin.

Will I have a scar after plastic surgery?

Scarring is inevitable of healing, however a very fine lined scar placed in the correct orientation may be virtually invisible. A plastic surgeon spends years trying to master techniques to place scars in the most desirable location. Plastic surgeons will try to make incisions in areas that will not show, like under undergarments or along natural creases. Scars will normally fade over time, but certain areas of the body such as the back and chest, produce more severe scarring regardless of the technique used for reconstruction and closure. The severity of the scarring varies from person to person.

Does plastic surgery always involve skin grafting?

Skin grafting is only used when it is the best way of closing a wound or defect. A qualified plastic surgeon uses judgment to decide the best way of reconstructing a defect. A skin graft may appear to have poor color match and texture compared to the native skin, but with careful selection of a skin graft donor site these problems may be minimized.

What is a pedicle graft or flap?

A pedicle graft also called a flap, consists of a segment of skin, underlying subcutaneous tissue and/or muscle which is shifted from one area to an open wound or defect for coverage of that wound. The word pedicle means that the blood supply to the flap is never divided. When the blood supply is completely divided and reattached this is called a free flap, and requires specialized skill in microvascular surgery.

What is rhinoplasty and nasal reconstruction?

Rhinoplasty, or nose reshaping, reshapes the nose to improve appearance, and it may also be used to alleviate breathing problems.

Pain from nose reshaping procedures are surprisingly mild. A splint is usually worn over the nose and sometimes inside the nose for five to seven days. There may be some bruising around the eyes, but this usually clears up in one to two weeks.

Can I receive a second nose reshaping if the first surgery does not produce the desired result?

Sometimes a touch-up is necessary after a nose reshaping, but it is generally better to wait a year before any additional surgery is performed. This also allows the maximum time to see the final results of the surgery.

What aesthetic surgical procedures are performed to improve the aging face?

There are various degrees and stages of facial aging that can be caused by the natural aging process, heredity, and lifestyle choices. Plastic surgeons have undergone training to address all areas of facial rejuvenation. A face lift tightens and lifts the redundant skin in the face and neck. Additional procedures are available to improve the aesthetics of the forehead, eyes, mouth, chin and neck. Minimally invasive endoscopic techniques are also available. Fine wrinkles of the face may be best treated by skin resurfacing techniques, like laser resurfacing, chemical peels or other skin care treatments.

How is a face lift done?

During a face lift incisions are made in the hair line, temple region extending down in front of the ear and then around the back of the ear into the hairline. These incisions vary depending on the technique used by your plastic surgeon. Many plastic surgeons are well trained in more than one face lift technique. The skin of the face and neck is dissected into the cheeks and neck allowing it to be mobilized upward producing a tightening and smoothing result. Many plastic surgeons can now also tighten the muscular layers underneath the skin as well during a face lift procedure. Years of specialized training are necessary to safely perform this procedure. The results can be subtle or drastic depending on the condition of the facial area prior to the surgery and the desired results.

Does a face lift leave scars?

Yes, but as with other scars plastic surgeons have been trained to place them in areas that are very inconspicuous. Your plastic surgeon will be able to show you exactly where your scars will be following your surgery. Normally your hair will cover up most of the scars and makeup can touch up any leftover marks.

How is excessive wrinkling and bagginess of the eyelids corrected?

Eyelid surgery can correct this condition. Excessive skin and fat may be removed from both upper and lower eyelid. Tightening of the lower lid may also be done in concurrence with this procedure. One to two weeks of bruising and swelling is expected from this procedure. Eyelid surgery may be done in combination with or separate from face lifts or other types of aesthetic surgeries of the face such as brow lifts to better proportion your facial features.

What surgery can improve the appearance of breasts?

Three common procedures are performed: breast augmentation, breast lift, breast reduction.

Augmentation mammaplasty is a procedure that can safely enlarge a small breast or increase an undesired size. Different techniques are used, but in general this is performed using a saline breast implant, after the FDA ruled silicone unsafe in 1992. Implants may be placed in different positions depending on the physical make-up of the patient and her breasts. The implant may be introduced through three different incisions: below the breast, around the nipple areolar complex, or in axilla (arm pit).

A breast lift is used when the patient is happy with the size of her breasts however due to aging and pregnancy the breast gland has begun to droop. Various techniques are employed to accomplish a breast lift and results are generally excellent.

Breast reduction is designed to make overly large breasts smaller. Patients seeking this type of surgery often have multiple severe physical symptoms secondary to their large breasts including neck, shoulder, back pain, paresthesia of the arms and bra strap grooving of the shoulders. The technique of breast reduction requires lengthy incisions; however, they may be placed in inconspicuous locations such as the fold underneath the breast.

Typical symptoms of back pain, neck pain etc. are almost always improved after a breast reduction if not completely eliminated. This procedure is often covered by insurance.

Am I a good candidate for liposuction?

Liposuction is not used for weight loss, rather to correct problem areas or fat bulges. A candidate will be close to their ideal weight because a liposuction is typically performed in patients that have an area of fat they find hard to lose. The fat removed does not weight a lot, so patients should expect a shape change, not a weight change.

Do the results of liposuction last?

As long as the patient maintains a healthy life-style, including exercise and a sensible diet, liposuction results are long lasting. Once the fat cells have been removed from an area there is no longer a preferential fat storage area and any fat gain will be distributed more evenly over the rest of the body.

What areas of the body can be treated with liposuction?

Most body areas can be treated with liposuction, though the most common areas in females are the abdomen, hips, and thighs. Men are often treated for liposuction in the breasts, hips, and abdomen. Liposuction is not limited to these areas, though other places may include the upper arms, under the chin and the buttocks.

Does liposuction leave scars?

Incisions made during liposuction are generally very small and put in areas that are more inconspicuous. Most cases of liposuction will heal well and it will be difficult to see where they were originally made.

What is the difference between Cosmetic and Reconstructive surgery?

Typically, the difference exists in the purpose of surgery . Cosmetic surgery performed with the primary goal of improving one's appearance. Reconstructive surgery is performed to improve personal health, body function or alleviate disease and is often considered medically necessary.

What procedures are considered reconstructive surgery?

The line between cosmetic and reconstructive surgery can sometimes be blurred. Generally, reconstructive surgery improves both appearance and health. Some examples of reconstructive surgery include:

  • Tumor Removal
  • Laceration Repair
  • Scar Revision
  • Hand Surgery
  • Breast Reduction<
  • Breast Reconstruction (Following surgical breast cancer treatment)
  • Burn Care - Reconstructive Rhinoplasty (to improve nose air flow)
  • Eyelid Surgery (to improve field of vision)

What benefits does Reconstructive surgery provide?

Medically necessary reconstructive surgery provides obvious health benefits . But even reconstructive surgery considered optional can help patients rid themselves of physical abnormalities. Reconstructive surgery has also been known to provide patients with higher self-esteem and confidence.

Who is a good candidate for Reconstructive surgery?

Ideal patients for reconstructive surgery have realistic expectations and a good understanding of the procedure. Typically reconstructive surgery patients fall into one of two groups. The first group consists of those born with an undesired condition such as webbed or extra fingers, a cleft-lip or abnormally developing breasts. In the second group are those who developed abnormalities through an accident, disease or even age.

Does Reconstructive surgery have possible risks and complications?

All surgeries have risks. The specific risks will vary based on the particular reconstructive surgery performed. In general, reconstructive surgery poses a low risk of infection, problems related to anesthesia, excessive bleeding, bruising, slowed healing of the wound and additional surgical problems. Potential complications increase based on the patient's personal health history.

How long does it take to recover from Reconstructive surgery?

Most reconstructive surgery procedures require one to two weeks for healing . However, recovery time also depends on the patient and specific reconstructive surgery performed. Some patients are able to return to a normal routine immediately after a reconstructive surgery procedure, while others require several weeks to retain a normal level of functioning. In some cases, the final results are not clears for months.

Does Reconstructive surgery leave any visible scarring?

When reconstructive surgery requires incisions, scarring is an inevitable side effect of the procedure. However, reconstructive surgeons are specially trained to minimize scar size and place them in inconspicuous locations .

Is Reconstructive surgery covered by insurance?

Usually, reconstructive surgery is covered by insurance if not fully, then partially . However, where the purpose of the procedure is both cosmetic and reconstructive, for example in the case of breast reconstruction following cancer treatment, coverage can vary by insurer and health plan.