Encyclopedia

Abdominoplasty

Abdominoplasty

An abdominoplasty is a surgical procedure that removes extra fat and skin from the middle and lower abdomen. The muscles in the abdominal wall can also be tightened during surgery and an abdominoplasty is generally performed for cosmetic reasons. Abdominoplasties are also often referred to as tummy tucks.

People generally consider an abdominoplasty when they find that their abdominal muscles are weak and there is excess skin and stubborn fat in the stomach area. This can often be caused by pregnancy or excessive weight loss.

Abdominoplasty procedures

Prior to an abdominoplasty, patients will have a consultation with their surgeon. They may be asked to lose weight or stop smoking to aid the process. The use of painkillers or the contraceptive pill is also likely to be discussed in reference to the abdominoplasty.

During an abdominoplasty an incision is made in the abdomen, usually from hip to hip, and the damaged abdominal muscles are repaired. A tightening of the muscles can also be achieved, usually with permanent sutures. All loose excess skin and fatty tissue is also removed through the incision. The scars from abdominoplasty procedures are typically along the bikini line and can be concealed with underwear.

As a surgical procedure, patients are given a general anaesthetic before the operation takes place. An abdominoplasty typically takes around two hours and the patient requires an overnight stay in hospital.

Recovery time for abdominoplasty operations

Recovery after an abdominoplasty can take up to 6 weeks. Following a short stay in hospital, abdominoplasty patients are normally able to return to work after 2 weeks. However, a period of rest is required after the operation, and patients are advised to be careful not to put a strain on their lower abdomen, especially in the first week following an abdominoplasty.

Post-operative care is also important, and patients will need to attend after care appointments so that the success of the procedure can be assessed and checked by a cosmetic surgeon.

Abdominoplasty procedures are sometimes combined with liposuction.

Acne

Acne

Acne is a skin condition caused by the excess production of oil from the sebaceous glands and the inflammation of the hair follicles. Acne typically appears on the face, chest and back and occurs when pores become clogged. It is the most common skin condition.

Located just under the surface of the skin, the sebaceous glands produce sebum oil to keep the skin moisturised. These glands are found within hair follicles, and when the follicles become blocked for any reason - normally with dead cells or dirt - they are invaded by bacteria that normally live on the skin, and this causes the formation of a spot or infection.

There are varying degrees of acne severity, including: papules, small spots that are near the surface of the skin; pustules, deeper infections; cysts, closed sacs deep under the skin and nodules, hard swellings. The most severe cases of acne carry a risk of scarring. This occurs when the skin tries to repair the damage caused by acne by replacing damaged skin cells with new ones.

Acne - risk factors

Acne is a skin condition that can affect people of all ages, although it is primarily associated with teenagers. The condition often begins with puberty and can worsen throughout adolescence, but the exact cause of acne is not known.

However, there are a number of risk factors closely associated with acne; these include hormonal changes, reactions to certain drugs, abrasive soaps, stress and polluted environments. Men are also more likely to suffer from acne than women.

While acne is not a serious condition in and of itself, it can become debilitating for sufferers by negatively impacting their confidence levels. Furthermore, scarring from acne can remain long after the condition itself has been alleviated.

Acne treatments

Acne treatments include skin peels such as the Obagi Blue Peel or medical microdermabrasion. Scarring left behind from previous acne outbreaks can also be alleviated with the help of laser treatments.

Acne Scar

Acne Scar

Scars left behind by acne are often an unfortunate secondary, and lasting, effect of the skin condition, which can leave its marks behind as severe depressions in the skin. Most noticeable on the face, acne scars can last a lifetime if not treated, leading people to develop low self-esteem.

Types of acne scarring

There are two main types of acne scar, identified by the depth of the scarring:

Rolling scars - these scars recede more gradually into the skin. They are less severe and can often be treated with non surgical solutions such as dermal fillers.

Deep and narrow scars - these acne scars can be more difficult to treat and can appear like cuts or 'icepick' marks in the skin. 

Treatments for acne scars

In order to be treated for acne scars, patients must be free of new acne outbreaks.

Patients looking for treatments for acne scars can explore chemical peel options - in particular treatments such as the Obagi Blue Skin Peel which allows surgeons to remove surface layers of damaged skin and which is then replaced with new cells, leading to a clearer and healthier appearance free of acne scars.

Those suffering from new acne outbreaks can alleviate the condition through regular use of approved skin care products, while more serious acne can be treated by pain-free laser treatments such as Aesthera PPx. By treating acne soon after it appears, patients reduce the risk of the spots becoming scars.

Aesthera PPX

Aesthera PPx

Aesthera PPx uses Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) to deliver quick and painless skin rejuvenation treatments to patients of all ages and skin types. Laser treatments such as these can be highly effective for treating a variety of skin conditions.

To achieve maximum results from Aesthera PPx, patients can book a course of treatments depending on the area of the body being treated. This is often four to six regular treatments to ensure the results are long-lasting.

Benefits of Aesthera PPx laser treatments

Aesthera PPx can be used to treat a variety of skin conditions - including uneven skin pigmentation, brown spots, freckles, sun damaged skin and facial thread veins.

Aesthera PPx laser treatments are non surgical and painless, so patients do not require anaesthetic.

Ideal as a lunchtime treatment, Aesthera PPx can be carried out in as little as five minutes for facial rejuvenation, and 10 minutes for other areas of the body.

The treatments also do not require any downtime or recovery period, meaning patients can resume their daily activities immediately after leaving the clinic - including going back to work.

Aesthera PPx treatments for acne

Aesthera PPx is the only laser treatment approved by the FDA (Food & Drug Administration) for the treatment of the four different types of acne - the treatment is suitable for mild to moderate acne, pustular acne, comedonal acne and mild to moderate inflammatory acne.

Patients who choose Aesthera PPx laser treatments for acne typically achieve greater results than with other treatments - most displaying visual improvement 24 to 48 hours following treatment.

Anaesthesia

Anaesthesia

Medical anaesthesia is when patients experience a loss of sensation induced by drugs. There are several different types of anaesthesia used in surgery and medical settings. Anaesthesia can be induced for a wide range of treatments and situations.

Medications that cause the loss of sensation associated with anaesthesia are called anaesthetics. These are administered by trained professionals such as surgeons, dental surgeons and anaesthesiologists.

Anaesthesia works by stopping the pain signals that your body sends to your brain. This means that you do not feel pain, even when you are awake. Pain returns when the anaesthesia wears off and normal function is returned to your nerve signals.

Types of anaesthesia

There are several types of anaesthesia used by medical professionals:

General anaesthesia - this refers to an anaesthetic procedure that induces unconsciousness in the patient. It is used in cases where extensive or delicate surgery is being performed.

Local anaesthesia - a type of anaesthesia that only provokes the loss of sensation in certain parts of the body. It is frequently used for minor surgeries or for dental procedures such as tooth extractions.

Sedation - a type of anaesthesia that leaves you awake but induces drowsiness and relaxation. This is used for minor painful or unpleasant procedures.

Anaesthesia and recovery times

The type of anaesthesia used for any given operation depends on the patient and is decided by the medical professional in charge of the case. The type of anaesthesia used also has an effect on the amount of recovery time needed after a procedure.

After a local anaesthesia, most people will be able to function normally, whereas a general anaesthetic takes considerably longer for people to recover from and often necessitates a night under observation.

Both types of anaesthesia are employed in cosmetic surgery, and depend on how invasive the procedure is.

Antioxidant

Antioxidant

An antioxidant is a type of molecule that can prevent or hinder the oxidation of another molecule. Oxidation is a chemical reaction that is an essential and natural function of the body's molecules; however, it can also produce free radicals which then start chain reactions that can damage other cells.

Antioxidants can halt these chains and inhibit other oxidation reactions. Complex systems composed of multiple types of antioxidant are naturally present in the body.

How to increase your antioxidant levels

The reduction of free radicals is one of the most frequent impetuses for people choosing to increase their levels of antioxidants. This can be done through dietary changes, although the measurement of antioxidants in foodstuffs is not a straightforward process. However, it is believed that unprocessed and uncooked foods contain higher levels of antioxidants, as preparation can expose foods to oxygen.

Much research continues into the field of antioxidants and how they can slow, prevent or treat everything from the effects of aging to serious illnesses and diseases.

Antioxidants and cosmetics

There is some evidence to suggest that free radicals are closely linked to signs of ageing, such as fine lines and wrinkles. Therefore, many different ways of ingesting or applying antioxidants to the body are available to help people slow or hinder progressive damage from free radicals.

From teas and supplements containing antioxidants to antioxidant serum, there are numerous methods available for those who are looking to minimise free radical damage.

Blepharoplasty

Blepharoplasty

Blepharoplasty refers to treatments to remove sagging skin from the upper and lower eyelids, as well as tightening the skin around the eyes - resulting in a more youthful and alert appearance.

More commonly known as eye bag removal, blepharoplasty can remove lower eye 'pouches' and eliminate the 'hooding' of upper eyelids, something that happens naturally as skin ages but which can be more pronounced on some individuals.

Blepharoplasty procedure

Depending on the wishes of the patient, blepharoplasty can be carried out on just the upper or lower eyelids, or both. The blepharoplasty procedure typically takes one to three hours.

Upper eyelid surgery - usually performed under local anaesthetic, though patients may prefer sedation. Surgeons make incisions in the natural fold above the eyelashes to remove excess fat and trim the sagging muscle and skin before closing with fine sutures or glue.

Lower eyelid surgery - performed under general anaesthetic. Incisions are made at the outer edge of the lower eyelashes, where surgeons remove overlapping skin and close with fine sutures.

Recovery from blepharoplasty

Before undergoing blepharoplasty, patients should seek a consultation with their surgeon to clarify any issues with the procedure, particularly with regard to smokers or patients taking medication. This consultation could involve an eye test if patients are worried about additional health issues with their eyes.

Immediately following blepharoplasty surgery, patients should place ice packs over their eyes to minimise swelling and bruising, and keep scars clean and dry until the stitches are removed - usually between three and seven days after surgery.

Patients should use elevated pillows or cushions to provide extras support for their head for four nights following surgery. Most patients are able to return to work within four days of their blepharoplasty.

Brow Lift

Brow Lift

Brow lift surgery can restore a more youthful and open appearance to the focal point of the face, by raising brows and eyelids to combat the sagging and wrinkling effects brought on by the ageing process.

Many people choose brow lifts to counteract the drooping effects of ageing, which can give the face an overly tired, unhappy or prematurely aged appearance. Brow lifts are also effective for treating brows that are fleshy or naturally lined, which can be interpreted by onlookers as displaying a severe or aggressive demeanour.

Patients who feel that the sagging skin around their eyes is their main concern may opt instead for eye bag removal (blepharoplasty).

Brow lift procedures

Because the technique used for brow lift surgery depends on the individual patient's facial structure and skin condition, the time taken to complete the procedure can vary between 90 minutes and two hours. Brow lifts require an overnight stay at the hospital, and are performed under general anaesthetic.

There are two types of brow lift procedure, in both of these the tissue of the brow is tightened and repositioned:

Open brow lift - a single incision is made between both ears, along the natural hairline.

Endoscopic brow lift - three to five incisions are made in the scalp, and an endoscope is inserted into one of the incisions.

Consultation and aftercare for brow lift treatments

Before undergoing brow lift surgery, patients should seek a consultation at their clinic to find out more about the procedure and help them understand their results. Patients may also be advised to stop smoking or stop taking medication prior to treatment.

Following a brow lift, patients need to stay overnight at the hospital and are advised to take one to two weeks off work. To reduce swelling, patients should sleep upright for one week following their brow lift and ensure they wash their hair and sutures daily, avoiding using styling products.

Sutures can usually be removed 10 days after brow lift surgery.

Buttock Lift

Buttock Lift

Buttock lift procedures, known colloquially as 'bum lifts', are treatments to improve contouring and toning of bums and hips by removing excess fat and skin from the buttocks.

To improve body contouring further, buttock lifts may incorporate liposuction to remove extra fat. Patients may also choose to combine their buttock lift with a thigh lift or tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) to improve all areas of their waistline.
 

Buttock lift procedure

Buttock lift surgery usually requires an overnight stay at the hospital and typically takes two hours to complete.

The surgeon carries out the buttock lift by making incisions on the side of the thigh and buttocks in strategic areas, before proceeding to remove fat and skin.

If patients are planning to wear revealing clothing such as beachwear, they can discuss the best places to hide their incisions during their consultation before surgery.
 

Aftercare for buttock lift treatments

Patients who undergo buttock lift treatments should avoid physical exertion for three to six weeks, but will be able to return to work within one to weeks if their job is fairly sedentary.

A supportive compression bandage should be worn over the treated area for up to two weeks following a buttock lift, to help reduce bruising and swelling and to improve the tightening of skin. Mild discomfort and tightness is to be expected in the first 24 to 28 hours after treatment.

Calf Augmentation

Calf-augmentation

A calf augmentation is a procedure that is designed to improve the appearance of calves by giving them a more muscular look. This is achieved by the insertion of implants under the calf muscle.

The implants are normally made of hard silicon and inserted from behind the knee and manipulated into position during a calf augmentation operation. The implants are put in pockets which overlay existing muscles and are held in place by the muscles themselves or by permanent stitches.

A successful calf augmentation will result in greater calf definition, but with the appearance and feel of a normal, well-developed calf muscle.

Applications of calf augmentation

Calf augmentations can be inserted to correct congenital and physical defects as well as for aesthetic reasons. This means that a calf augmentation can be a cosmetic surgery or a medical procedure, depending on the circumstances.

The length of a calf augmentation procedure varies, but is typically between 1 and 2 hours. A general anaesthetic is needed, as is a brief stay in hospital.

Scarring from calf augmentation is usually minimal and most patients are able to return to work in a week or less. However, strenuous exercise should be avoided for at least six weeks following the operation. The surgeon will advise on a case by case basis following a calf augmentation.

Cannula

Cannula

In cosmetic surgery terms, a cannula is a hollow tube made of stainless steel that is used, in conjunction with an aspirator (vacuum suction device), to remove fat deposits from beneath the skin during liposuction and fat removal procedures.

Cannulas are effective devices for the removal of fluids, and are small enough that they do not usually cause skin irregularities when employed under the surface. By working on deeper levels of fat, cosmetic surgeons can ensure that damage to skin resulting from the cannula insertion is minimal.

Use of cannulas in liposuction

To remove fat during suction-assisted liposuction (SAL) procedures, the surgeon inserts a cannula into small incisions made in the skin. The surgeon then guides the cannula through the fat layer to break up fat cells, which are drawn out of the body through a vacuum.

The size of cannula varies depending on the extent of the liposuction - larger cannulas tend to be employed by surgeons carrying out liposuction across larger areas of the body, while more concentrated surgery can employ microcannulas of less than three millimetres in diameter.

Microcannulas remove fat in a more uniform fashion than larger cannulas, but their slower speed can be a drawback when carrying out liposuction in more than one area of the body.

Cheek/Chin Augmentation

Cheek/Chin Augmentation

Cheek or chin augmentation is often carried out to enhance balance, proportion and symmetry in the face. Many patients choose to combine cheek or chin augmentation with treatments to other areas of the face, such as nose reshaping (rhinoplasty) or face lifts (rhytidectomy).

Surgeons may use Computerised Photo Imaging Skin Analysis to help determine the patient's ideal facial symmetry prior to cheek or chin augmentation.
 

Cheek augmentation procedure

Surgeons place a solid implant over the cheekbone to emphasise the patient's cheeks. Incisions are usually made in the upper mouth, to avoid leaving a visible scar.

Cheek augmentation is performed under anaesthesia and can take one to two hours. Recovery time for cheek augmentation is around 10 days.
 

Chin augmentation procedure

Chin implants are inserted beneath the skin to alter the size or shape of the patient's chin. Incisions are made inside the mouth or below the chin to avoid visible scarring.

The duration of the chin augmentation procedure will depend on the individual patient being treated, but usually lasts 45 minutes to one hour under general anaesthetic. Following surgery, patients may experience swelling but this should clear up in around one week.

Chemical Peel

Chemical Peels

A chemical peel is a treatment used to improve the appearance of facial skin. Many skin problems are associated with or exacerbated by an excessive build of dead skin cells. Chemical peels can reduce or remove this build up and unclog pores.

Chemical peels are often used to treat ageing skin and acne. They can also help to reduce sun damage and hyper pigmentation.

How chemical peels work

Chemical peels employ the use of a chemical agent to remove the superficial layers of skin. This allows for the removal of dead skin cells and the unclogging of pores.

Wrinkles and age spots can also be alleviated by chemical peels, as the treatment stimulates the re-growth of new skin cells. The top layers of skin are peeled away by chemical peel treatments, ensuring new and smoother skin is exposed in its place.

This non surgical treatment typically takes less than an hour and should be carried out by a cosmetic surgery nurse or doctor. Chemical peels are sometimes combined with medical microdermabrasion treatments, which can be performed on the same day and help to treat a number of related skin problems.

Depending on the strength of the chemical solution used in the peel, skin should begin shedding within a few days and results are often immediately apparent, or visible within a week to 10 days.

There are a variety of different chemical skin peel treatments, including the obagi blue peel and the agera skin peel.

Aftercare following chemical peels

As chemical peels essentially expose fresh skin, extra protection is needed in the months following the procedure. Frequent applications of moisturiser are recommended, while sunscreen is essential for at least three months following a chemical peel.

Different types of chemical peel use different strengths of acid or chemical compounds, which means that the recovery time can vary. A course of treatment can be recommended for chemical peels - these typically take place at 6 to 8 week intervals and can be repeated until the desired result is achieved.

Collagen

Collagen

Collagen is a structural protein that is the main support of skin, tendon, bone, cartilage and connective tissue. Collagen occurs naturally in the body and is a strong and fibrous substance.

It is a major protein that forms the white fibres of connective tissue and makes up roughly 25 to 35 per cent of whole-body protein content for mammals. 29 types of collagen have been discovered, but the human body typically only produces five of these.

Sometimes described as the building blocks of the body, collagen is an essential structural component of all connective tissue. The level of collagen in skin is worn away over time and natural ageing gradually wears away the collagen in skin. This causes the skin to crease and encourages the formation of lines and wrinkles as the skin loses elasticity.

Collagen and cosmetic treatments

The loss of collagen can have an ageing effect on the appearance of the skin. A variety of collagen replacement therapies and treatments have been developed to replenish skin and connective tissues.

Non surgical cosmetic treatments to combat the effects of ageing caused by collagen depreciation include dermal fillers. These can work as a collagen replacement therapy for the face by restoring the tone and elasticity of the skin. Line and wrinkle treatments can relax the muscles under the skin and smooth out lines caused by the inevitable loss of collagen over time.

Consultant

Consultant

Consultants are professionals who are qualified to offer advice in their chosen field of expertise.

In the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland, consultants are senior doctors who are listed on the Specialist Register after completing the required specialist training in their medical field.

Consultants can be employed by hospitals and clinics with various responsibilities - from leading a firm (team) of doctors to holding advisory positions on committees.

Cosmetic surgery consultants

Cosmetic surgery consultants are specialists in the field of aesthetic or reconstructive surgery. Some cosmetic surgery providers employ current or former plastic surgery specialists on their advisory committees to ensure the clinic is pursuing ethical policies and ensuring patient safety and medical excellence.

Consultation

Consultation

A consultation is a formal meeting with a doctor, nurse or surgeon. It offers the patient the chance to meet healthcare providers and find out more about upcoming treatments or surgeries.

At a consultation, patients can ask health care professionals any questions they may have, and doctors, nurses or surgeons will have the chance to find out more about the patient and ensure they have all the information they need to pursue a course of treatment.

Anyone choosing cosmetic surgery procedures should be offered a consultation to discuss their procedure.

Consultations at The Harley Medical Group

As consultations offer a vital chance for the patient and provider to communicate, patients should make sure they receive a consultation from their cosmetic surgery provider before undergoing any cosmetic procedure. It is a standard procedure at The Harley Medical Group for all patients to undergo an in-depth consultation with a fully qualified nurse counsellor prior to treatments.

The nurse counsellor will explain each stage of the chosen procedure, from the consultation with the surgeon through to the post-operative, follow-up and recovery period. The nurse will discuss in detail the clinical aspects of the procedure, answering any questions and concerns that a patient may have and making sure their decision has been properly considered.

Crow's Feet

Crow's Feet

Crow's feet are small wrinkles that appear in the corners of the eyes, and are often identified as one of the first signs of ageing visible in the face. Also known as 'laughter lines', crow's feet are so-called due to their visual resemblance to a bird's footprint.

There are numerous treatments designed to eradicate or soften the wrinkles that typify crow's feet, to restore a more youthful complexion.

How crow's feet are formed

There are a number of factors which contribute to the development of crow's feet, the largest one is the ageing process itself, but understanding additional causes can help towards minimising crow's feet.

Exposure to sunlight is the most common cause of crow's feet, as excessive squinting helps the wrinkles develop at an earlier stage than in faces that are protected from the sun. To combat this, people can shield their eyes from direct sunlight by wearing hats or sunglasses and by wearing protective sunscreen whenever they are outside, these measures will reduce their need to squint and reduce their exposure to UV rays.

Smoking is another common cause of crow's feet, as smokers also tend to squint their eyes to protect them from the smoke fumes. With a number of cigarettes each day, crow's feet can develop more easily, and this is one reason why smokers can often appear more advanced in years than non-smokers. Smoking has also been found to accelerate the biochemical processes that cause the skin to age in other ways.

Crow's feet - prevention and treatment

Taking care of your face with regular moisturising and the application of UV skin care products is recommended to help prevent the early formation of crow's feet, and can also help to soften the appearance of the wrinkles when they do appear. Choosing prescription wrinkle creams that contain active ingredients can help to restore the skin's elasticity and reduce the appearance of crow's feet, while drinking plenty of water is also recommended to help the skin retain moisture.

Crow's feet are a natural effect of ageing on the face, however there are also non-surgical cosmetic treatments available to help combat their appearance. Because crow's feet are most pronounced when using the muscles around the eyes, having Botox® injections can help to relax these muscles so they won't contract. Botox® can reduce the appearance of crow's feet within one week of treatment.

Dermabrasion

Dermabrasion

Dermabrasion is a surgical procedure that abrades, or planes, the skin surface to remove imperfections and minor scarring. This treatment is designed to improve the texture of the skin.

A power-driven sander or dermatone is used to remove the tops layers of skin. It is more intensive than medical microdermabrasion - a procedure that exfoliates the top layers of skin - but both treatments aim to reveal smoother and clearer looking skin.

Dermabrasion treatments

Dermabrasion is used to reduce or remove pitting cause by acne and wrinkles and spots caused by ageing and sun exposure. Unlike medical microdermabrasion, anaesthesia is needed for dermabrasion treatment. It can take a period of several months for skin to heal completely following dermabrasion.

Patients are less likely to experience changes in skin tone with treatments such as dermabrasion, in comparison to treatments such as chemical peels. There are certain skin types that are not well-suited to dermabrasion, therefore it is important that patients discuss their wishes during a consultation.

However, dermabrasion is a relatively intensive treatment for skin imperfections and many patients choose microdermabrasion, skin peels or chemical peels to alleviate markings on the skin in the first instance.

Detox

Detox

Detoxification, more commonly known as detox or body cleansing, refers to a number of practices that some people believe will help cleanse the body of harmful toxins.

Detoxing can involve obeying a strict diet, fasting or avoiding or favouring certain food groups. It also commonly incorporates other alternative medicine practices, such as colon cleansing.

Detox diets have faced heavy criticism from the scientific and medical fields, due to the lack of evidence presented to support the claimed medical benefits. Those following strict detox diets also risk disrupting the natural detoxification systems of the body, which could have consequences for their health.

Detox diets and cosmetic surgery

Cosmetic surgery patients who are following detox diets will need to discuss this with their surgeon during their consultation, as they may need to alter their diet prior to undergoing treatments to ensure their body is sufficiently fit and healthy.

General Anaesthesia

General Anaesthesia

General anaesthesia refers to a state of unconsciousness induced through the use of drugs administered by a qualified professional. Anaesthesia may be performed by a surgeon or a dedicated anaesthetist.

Due to the delicate and complex nature of general anaesthesia, patients will be required to provide information about factors such as their age and weight, which could influence the amount of anaesthesia used.

General anaesthesia is typically required for more invasive cosmetic surgery procedures that involve extensive or delicate surgery, such as face lifts and liposuction.

Recovery time from general anaesthesia

Recovery from general anaesthesia usually takes longer than for local anaesthesia, which does not typically involve unconsciousness. Patients who receive general anaesthesia may be required to stay overnight in hospital following surgery.

Upon awakening from general anaesthesia, patients may be administered with post-operative pain relief to numb treated areas. Some patients may experience shivering for a brief time after awakening from general anaesthesia.

Gynaecomastia

Gynaecomastia

Gynaecomastia is a medical term describing excessive growth of breast tissue in men. It is an exclusively male disease and refers to an abnormal growth of the glandular tissue in male breasts and excessive development of the male mammary gland.

The condition is clinically diagnosed by the presence of a rubbery or firm mass that extends concentrically from the nipples.

Causes of gynaecomastia

As breast growth is controlled by female hormones, oestrogen, men suffering from gynaecomastia are also typically suffering from a hormone imbalance. This can be caused by a number of factors, from teenage hormone disruption to obesity. Gynaecomastia can also be a symptom of other underlying health problems, and sufferers should consult a doctor to ensure they are not suffering from additional medical conditions.

Gynaecomastia can leave fat deposits in the breast that are resistant to diet and exercise, meaning it can be hard for men to tackle the problem without help.

Treatment for gynaecomastia

The symptoms of gynaecomastia can be treated with procedures such as male chest reduction surgery. This treatment is on the rise, as 40 to 60 per cent of men are said to be suffering from excessively large breasts, sometimes referred to as "man boobs". Rapid weight loss can sometimes leave sagging skin that makes the chest look more pronounced, but while this can contribute to the noticeable effect of gynaecomastia it is not the same thing as the condition itself - this is referred to as chest ptosis.

Chest reduction surgery can remove the excess fat and leave the chest flatter and firmer. Many sufferers of gynaecomastia look into breast reductions to return their figures to the way they looked before developing the condition.

Haematoma

Haematoma

Haematoma refers to a collection of blood outside of the blood vessels, which gathers in body tissues or cavities. Haematoma are most commonly apparent as bruising to the skin, and are caused by internal bleeding into the extracellular space following blunt trauma - this can include accidents, falls and surgery.

Haematoma can also refer to internal bleeding in organs, this tends to have no visible external symptom.

Haematomas under the surface of the skin can manifest as un-raised bruising or as hardened lumps. These lumps are blood sacs which aim to keep internal bleeding localised and to a minimum.

Haematoma usually dissolve, and can typically be treated surgically if they do not. In some cases, particularly with a larger haematoma, they can migrate to nearby areas of the body due to the effects of gravity.

Bruising from haematoma can sometimes be painful, but smaller bruises do not usually pose a health risk. Larger haematoma that do not fade over time could by a symptom of a more serious condition, and should be checked by a doctor.

Haematoma and cosmetic surgery

Most invasive cosmetic surgery procedures will result in a degree of bruising to the treated area for some time following surgery, but this will gradually diminish during the recovery period.

Non surgical treatments do not typically result in haematoma, as they are non invasive.

Implants

Implants

An implant refers to any type of object or material that is grafted or inserted into the body. There are many different types of implant and they can be used to correct a number of medical or cosmetic faults.

Implants can be inserted in the body for prosthetic, therapeutic, diagnostic, or experimental purposes. Implants are grafted or inserted surgically and, depending on their nature, can be either temporary or near permanent additions.

Cosmetic surgery implants

Implants are used in some cosmetic surgery procedures to provide patients with a desired look. Breast augmentations and chin implants are two common cosmetic areas that employ the use of implants.

Breast implants - To increase the size of the breasts, implants are surgically inserted behind the natural breast tissue. There are two types of breast implants, silicon and saline. Silicone implants were first developed in 1961 by two plastic surgeons in Houston, Texas and the first implant was used in 1962. Silicone implants are more widely used as they give a more natural shape and feel.

Chin implants - For chin lifts, the implant is positioned beneath the skin through an incision made from the inside of the mouth or below the chin, and is fixed in place with dissolvable sutures.

Incision

Incision

Incisions can be made for a variety of reasons, and are typically entry points through which surgeons can extract abnormal tissues or foreign bodies or, alternatively, insert implants. Incisions are usually small to minimise trauma, and can be closed with sutures or surgical staples which are removed once the incision has been given time to heal naturally.

Incisions that take longer to heal may result in a visible scar.
 

Incisions in cosmetic surgery

Invasive cosmetic surgery procedures typically involve incisions, if they are not procedures using keyhole surgery techniques.

For treatments such as liposuction, surgeons make very small incisions to facilitate the removal of excess fatty tissue in combination with a vacuum and cannula. For treatments such as a face lift, surgeons make incisions to draw skin tissue closer together.

Where possible, cosmetic surgeons aim to hide the appearance of incisions by making them along the body's natural contours or inside areas such as the mouth.

Inflammation

Inflammation

In a surgical context, inflammation refers to the response of body tissues to injury, infection or irritation, and is a protective reaction. This is sometimes referred to as acute inflammation. The symptoms and indicators of inflammation are redness, swelling, pain and sometimes a feeling of heat in the affected area. Occasionally, inflammation can cause a loss of function.

While inflammation is a natural reaction to a number of cosmetic surgeries, excessive swelling or discomfort can indicate a delay to the healing process. As the body's immune reaction to presumed foreign substances, inflammation can signal the onset of infection and should be checked by a qualified doctor.

Alleviation of inflammation

One way to reduce swelling and alleviate acute inflammation is to apply cool pressure to the afflicted area. Another is to ensure that the area remains elevated and as rested as possible. Anti-inflammitory painkillers such as ibuprofen can also help.

If the inflammation is the result of infection, it must be treated by a trained doctor. The symptoms of acute inflammation normally develop within two hours of the original trauma and begin to ease after three days.

Jaw Line

Jaw Line

One of the most distinctive areas of the face, the shape of a person's jaw line is a common focus area of cosmetic surgery.

The jaw line can also act as a sign of ageing. The lower jaw continues to grow later in life, leading to a more square appearance. This can cause younger people with naturally square jaw lines to appear older than they really are, as opposed to those with curved jaw lines who may appear more youthful.
 

Cosmetic surgery procedures for the jaw line

Procedures such as face lifts can help to tighten jaw lines that have begun to lose definition. Those who wish to lift a sagging jaw line with a face lift or neck lift can specify that their surgeon makes an incision under the chin, rather than across the more traditional hairline, thereby hiding the incision within the natural contours of the face.

Patients looking to strengthen their jaw line can opt for chin implants, which can also improve facial symmetry..

Local Anaesthesia

Local Anaesthesia

Local anaesthesia is used by surgeons and other medical professionals to induce a loss of sensation in areas being treated, in order to reduce or eliminate pain response and distress.

This form of anaesthesia differs from general anaesthetic as it does not involve loss of consciousness. Local anaesthetic is typically used for minor surgery or dental procedures, such as tooth extraction.

Cosmetic surgery patients who undergo treatments on targeted regions of the face or body will usually be administered with local anaesthesia in the treated area, typically during procedures such as eye bag removal and rhinoplasty.
 

Recovery from local anaesthesia

Due to local anaesthesia being less invasive than general anaesthesia, patients will usually be able to function normally within a few hours following treatment. They may be required to stay overnight in hospital depending on the type of surgery or the advice of their surgeon.

The effects of local anaesthesia may be influenced or compromised in patients suffering from infections, excessive fluid pressure or other conditions. This could cause the effects of the anaesthetic to be prolonged or to be negated during surgery.

Microdermabrasion

Microdermabrasion

Microdermabrasion is a gentle non-surgical treatment that exfoliates the top layers of the skin. It is frequently used to treat skin conditions such as sun damage, acne and hyperpigmentation.

The treatment consists of a light abrasion and is more superficial than ordinary dermabrasion, and does not require anaesthesia. Microdermabrasion works by removing the top layers of the skin and can improve facial tone and texture.

The anatomy of the skin

The skin is made up of multiple layers and the very top layers are composed of dead skin cells which lie on top of a layer of maturing cells. This explains the ability of microdermabrasion to remove the top layers without causing any damage to the skin below.

The two main layers of the skin are the dermis - the lower layer - and the epidermis - the layer closest to the outer world. The very top layer of the epidermis is called the stratum corneum; this layer is home to many of the skin's minor imperfections such as fine lines and sun damage, and it is this level that is targeted during microdermabrasion treatment.

Microdermabrasion treatments

Microdermabrasion is commonly used to treat skin problems such as acne, sun-damage, superficial age spots and wrinkles. Treatments normally take place over several sessions and microdermabrasion it suitable for all skin types.

During microdermabrasion treatments, a hand held device using a highly controlled flow of fine, medical grade crystals is passed over the skin. The crystals are then immediately vacuumed away, taking the top-most layer of dead skin with them. Microdermabrasion is painless and the results are instant, with no time needed for recovery afterwards.

Many people choose to book microdermabrasion and skin peel treatments at the same time.

Obagi Blue Skin Peel

Obagi-blue-skin-peel

Obagai Blue Skin Peels are a type of skin peel treatment. It is a non surgical procedure that can help rid the skin of blemishes, acne scars, wrinkles, uneven pigmentation and sun damage.

Like other skin peels, the Obagi Blue Skin Peel improves the appearance and health of the skin through the application of a low concentration chemical acid. This then causes the upper layers of skin to peel and exposes the fresher, less blemished skin for an improved and clearer appearance.

The Obagi Blue peel differs from other skin peels as its blue base allows the doctor to regulate the depth of the peel. The procedure is only ever performed by a doctor who has extensive knowledge of the peel.

Obagi Blue peel treatments

The application of an Obagi Blue Skin Peel treatment typically takes around 20 minutes, but it can vary depending on the goals of the patient and the doctor's judgement of how many layers are needed to achieve the desired result.

The Obagi Blue Skin Peel is relatively simple and pain-free procedure, but a doctor may decide to induce sedation on occasion.

Recovery after an Obagi Blue Skin Peel

Light swelling is to be expected after an Obagi Blue Skin Peel, and skin typically begins to peel 2 to 3 days later. The skin will continue to peel for a further 7 to 10 days on average. After this time a change to the skin will be noticeable and its appearance will continue to improve for the next 4 to 6 weeks.

Obagi Blue Skin Peels can treat fine lines and shallow acne scars as well as dry or rough skin. However, a consultation with a cosmetic nurse counsellor will help patients determine whether this is the correct skin peel for them. Some people are better suited to skin treatments such as microdermabrasion or milder skin peel alternatives.

Otoplasty

Otoplasty

Otoplasty refers to cosmetic surgery procedures carried out to alter the appearance of a person's ears. Most commonly known as ear reshaping, otoplasty is recognised as one of the oldest cosmetic surgery procedures, with a history dating back to the ancient world.

The ears are among the most prominent facial features, and many people suffer embarrassment from having ears that they believe are too large or stick out too far. Otoplasty can be comprised of a number of treatments designed to improve the look and shape of a person's ears, resulting in an appearance they are more satisfied with.

Otoplasty procedures

Patients choose otoplasty for a variety of reasons and the ears can be surgically enhanced in a number of ways - from ear pinning that brings ears closer to the head to reshaping of oversized ears. Otoplasty can also be performed as a reconstructive procedure for patients with damaged or deformed ears.

The otoplasty procedure involves removing or reshaping both the cartilage and skin of the outer ear (also known as the pinna). Depending on the reason for the otoplasty, the treatment usually lasts between two to three hours and is carried out under general anaesthesia.

Scarring from otoplasty is very minimal, and surgeons are usually able to conceal the signs of surgery in the natural folds of the ear.

Consultation and aftercare for otoplasty treatments

Following otoplasty, patients will need to protect their ears with bandages for around one week. After the bandages are removed, the results of the otoplasty will be visible instantly. If the ears feel sore or tender following otoplasty, your GP or surgeon may prescribe painkillers to alleviate the effects.

To ensure patients get their desired results from otoplasty, it is important that they arrange consultations with qualified surgeons to discuss their reasons for and expectations from the treatment.

Peels

Peels

Because many skin problems are caused by a build-up of dead cells, peels can be highly effective treatments for unclogging pores and rejuvenating the appearance of skin on the face and other areas.

Skin peels can treat a variety of conditions, including acne, sun damage and hyper pigmentation. They are also effective to reduce the visible signs of ageing.
 

Types of peels

There are various skin peel treatments available to improve the health and appearance of skin. A course of treatments is generally recommended to achieve more lasting results from peels.

The Obagi Blue Skin Peel can be used to treat acne scars, blemishes, sun damage, uneven pigmentation and wrinkles. This chemical peel is mixed with a blue base, which allows surgeons to regulate its depth.

Agera skin peels work deep within the skin to renew cells and stimulate the body's production of collagen and elastin.

Medical microdermabrasion is an alternative to peels, and makes use of exfoliating crystals to provide a non-chemical treatment for acne, age spots, sun damage, wrinkles and oily or dry skin.
 

After care following peel treatments

Patients who undergo peel treatments need to take extra precautions with their skin for around three months following the procedure, though recovery time can vary depending on the strength of acids and chemical compounds used.

It is recommended that patients apply moisturiser frequently, and essential that patients protect themselves from UV rays with sun cream.
 

Photo Skin Analysis

Photo skin analysis

Photo skin analysis is carried out by a skin analysis computer, and can be an effective tool for helping patients identify key areas of their skin that could be improved with non surgical treatments.

Computerised photo skin analysis is sometimes included free as part of a cosmetic surgery consultation.

With VISIA® complexion analysis, patients can identify areas of their face that they would like to improve, and a personalised skin care regimen can be designed to suit their individual needs.

How photo skin analysis works

A skin analysis computer takes multiple photos of a patient's face and analyses the skin's condition and appearance, taking into account factors such as age, ethnicity and lifestyle. The score produced by the analysis is relative to 3,500 sample women and 1,500 men.

The computer will then produce a complexion analysis report to highlight areas of unevenness and wrinkles as well as skin conditions such as acne, sun damage and UV spots - some of which are not visible to the naked eye.

A qualified nurse counsellor can use the findings of photo skin analysis to recommend non surgical treatments. These can include wrinkle relaxing injections to smooth the appearance of lines and wrinkles and medical microdermabrasion to reduce UV spots and unevenness.

Photoaging

Photoaging

Most of the damage inflicted on the skin as people get older is accelerated by prolonged sun exposure. Photoaging is the damage caused by harmful UV radiation, which can result in the appearance of wrinkles, irregular pigmentation, broken blood vessels and loss of skin elasticity. In extreme cases, photoaging is also a leading cause of skin cancers.

Ageing skin is a natural biological process that is also partly down to a person's genes, but its effects can be lessened by reducing exposure to external factors of photoaging.

The effects of photoaging on the skin

There are many health risks associated with extended exposure to UV rays, and the effects of photoaging are among the most well documented. If a person's skin is directly exposed to the sun's rays throughout their life it will lose its elasticity, which can result in the early appearance of wrinkles on the face and other exposed areas. Wrinkles on the face are the most instantly recognisable sign of ageing, and can make a person affected by photoaging appear much older than they really are.

The effects of photoaging vary among people of different ethnicities. While those with lighter skin tend to show its effects most prominently through wrinkles, darker skin tones tend to display photoaging as dark spots, resulting in uneven skin pigmentation. Photoaging can also cause drooping skin, which can result in a tired and prematurely aged appearance. Extreme cases of photoaging are referred to as photodamage.

Photoaging - prevention and treatment

People who are regularly exposed to direct sunlight can take preventative steps to lessen the effects of photoaging, such as shielding their faces with hats and sunglasses. Skin toners can help to cover up dark spots that result through photoaging.

Some cosmetic surgery treatments can help combat the effects of photoaging and produce a younger looking complexion. Face lift procedures are long-lasting treatments designed to restore firmness to the skin and alleviate wrinkles. Face lifts can be carried out on specific areas of the face most affected by photoaging, or patients can opt for a full facelift and neck lift.

There are also non surgical solutions available to combat photoaging, most significantly wrinkle-relaxing injections that can reduce the appearance of frown lines as well as deep wrinkles caused by sun exposure.

Platysmaplasty

Platysmaplasty

Platysmaplasty, also known as a neck lift, is a cosmetic surgery procedure that reduces the appearance of loose or sagging skin in the neck area and beneath the jaw.

Patients may choose platysmaplasty for a variety of reasons - to remove loose skin and reduce the appearance of wrinkles in their neck that may be caused by ageing, substantial weight loss or other loss of skin elasticity caused by factors such as sun damage or genetics.

Platysmaplasty treatments are suitable for people who are worried about the appearance of their necks and feel that the excess skin is negatively impacting their self-confidence.

Because it is widely held that the neck reveals the signs of ageing more than the face, many patients combine their platysmaplasty with a face lift.

Platysmaplasty procedure

Platysmaplasty procedures are carried out under general anaesthetic, and take approximately two hours to complete. Patients who undergo platysmaplasty treatments need to stay overnight at the hospital.

Consultation and aftercare for platysmaplasty treatments

Recovery time for platysmaplasty treatments varies depending on the individual patient. However, it is advised that patients wear the dressing supplied for two weeks following their treatment, which must be kept dry.

Patients should expect some bruising and soreness around the neck following platysmaplasty. The healing time for incisions can be up to one year, but these incisions - in the hairline and around the ears - are designed to be discreet.

To make sure that platysmaplasty is the best and most suitable choice for the patient, surgeons recommend a consultation to have the procedure explained in detail. This can also help identify risks or recommend alternative or supplementary treatments.

Post-Operative Care

Post-operative Care

Post-operative care is an important part of the treatment process for patients undergoing surgery. It helps ensure they achieve the results they expect from procedures, as well as helping patients get back on their feet after more invasive cosmetic surgery.

Many cosmetic surgery clinics consider post-operative care to be an essential part of the treatment process, and will include patient after care in the cost of treatments as standard, in addition to the consultations that take place prior to surgery.
 

What does post-operative care involve?

Post-operative care refers to medication and dressings administered immediately following treatment to aid the recovery process, as well as long-term after care providing help and support for patients for weeks or months following surgery.

In addition to medication, patients will be invited to attend post-operative appointments with their nurse and surgeon at no additional charge, to check on their recovery. Patients can also be granted access to a 24 hour emergency contact number for their local clinic to help them with any problems and offer timely advice.
 

Revision surgery

If a patient does not achieve their desired result from cosmetic surgery due to complications, they may be entitled to undergo revision surgery at their clinic at no additional charge. This is dependent on the surgeon's agreement that complications are a direct result of the original surgery.

Ptosis

Ptosis

Ptosis is a medical term referring to the abnormal lowering or drooping of an organ. It is commonly used to refer to conditions of the eyelid, chin or breast tissue.

Types of ptosis and treatments

Ptosis of the eyelid refers to the abnormal drooping of an upper eyelid. It has a number of causes, the most predominant being old age. It can also be a congenital condition. If the condition is severe, it may need treatment to prevent it from causing other conditions.

Ptosis of the breast causes a drooping or sagging of the breast tissue. While ptosis is a natural part of the ageing process, the rate at which it is developed by individuals can depend on many different factors. Two major causes of ptosis of the breast are pregnancy and extreme weight gain and subsequent loss.

The rate of ptosis is also affected by the size of the breast, and the condition can accelerate more quickly in larger breasts. Ptosis can also affect men, particularly where the man is affected by gynaecomastia. Breast surgery can provide treatment for both men and women who are suffering from ptosis. Breast uplifts, male chest reductions or augmentations are all procedures a cosmetic surgeon may consider for cases of ptosis.

Ptosis of the chin describes a chin that drops over the jawline and sags abnormally. This condition is not uncommon and affects people of all ages, although it tends to worsen with age. There are a number of techniques available for improving the appearance of ptosis of the chin, including chin lifts or implants.

Reconstructive Plastic Surgery

Reconstructive plastic surgery

Reconstructive plastic surgery refers to surgical procedures carried out to restore areas of the body following accidents, trauma or disease, or to correct abnormalities caused by birth defects.
 

Reconstructive plastic surgery procedures


Treatments that would be classed as reconstructive plastic surgery include any procedures to repair damaged tissue or reconstruct features.

Rhinoplasty

Rhinoplasty

Commonly referred to as nose reshaping, rhinoplasty is a surgical procedure used to improve the function or appearance of the human nose.

Depending on how extensive the work being done is, rhinoplasty can be performed under a local anaesthetic or a general anaesthetic. It is also sometimes combined with other cosmetic surgery procedures, such as chin augmentation.

Rhinoplasty can alter the shape, size and length of the nose, and scarring is extremely minimal. It is also often performed after the nose is damaged through injury. Patients must extensively discuss their expectations and desires with their surgeon prior to undergoing rhinoplasty, to ensure that the correct end result is achieved.

Rhinoplasty procedures

Rhinoplasty can be performed for both functional and aesthetic reasons, either to aid breathing or to improve the way the nose looks. There are two different main types of surgery - open approach and closed approach.

Closed rhinoplasty - incisions are made inside the nostrils.

Open rhinoplasty - an incision is also made in the bottom of the columella, the bit of skin that separates the nostrils.

The changes made to the shape of the nose during rhinoplasty can be achieved by adding or removing bone or cartilage. Tissue and synthetic materials can also be implanted to alter the nose's appearance.

Consultation and aftercare for rhinoplasty treatments

The surgery is typically straightforward and surprisingly painless. While some swelling and bruising is to be expected, rhinoplasty patients normally appreciate a change straight away - although it can take up to a year for the nose to assume its final shape.

As with all surgery, there are some risks associated with rhinoplasty. Therefore, it is important that patients see qualified surgeons and undergo a proper consultation where their surgeon is likely to take an X-ray to better see the bone structure of the face.

Rhytidectomy

Rhytidectomy

Also known as a face lift, rhytidectomy is one of the most common cosmetic surgery procedures. It involves the removal of excess facial skin to reduce the appearance of wrinkles, sagging skin and deep lines.

Patients may choose rhytidectomy to lift their whole face or specifically the brow area or lower face.

Because the neck is another major area that reveals the signs of ageing, a rhytidectomy is often combined with a neck lift (platysmaplasty) to remove sagging skin on the neck and jaw line.
 

Rhytidectomy procedures

There are various types of rhytidectomy procedures, which can depend on the area of the face being treated. All treatments are carried out under anaesthesia.

In a traditional face lift, the surgeon typically makes an incision in the hairline which continues down in front of the ears. The surgeon separates the facial skin from the underlying tissue and works on removing excess fat and tightening muscles before lifting back and trimming the skin.

Other rhytidectomy procedures include Minimal-Access Cranial Suspension (MACS), in which smaller incisions are made in the temples and ears.
 

Consultation and after care following rhytidectomy treatments

Immediately following rhytidectomy surgery, the treated areas of a patient's face will be wrapped in bandages. These can usually be removed the following day, prior to departure from the hospital. Patients may also be fitted with plastic drainage tubes in the treated areas during their hospital stay, to allow excess blood and fluids to drain.

Rhytidectomy treatments are long-lasting, so patients should seek a consultation before undergoing surgery to help them decide whether the treatment is right for them. They will also advise patients of any medication they should stop taking prior to surgery, and may advise patients to lose weight or stop smoking to achieve optimum results.

Rhytidectomy patients can usually return to work within two to three weeks of surgery. It is essential to attend follow-up appointments with surgeons during the recovery period to aid the healing process.

Scar

Scar

A scar is a mark left behind after a wound to the body has healed. Scars form when the skin heals itself after an incision or trauma and is formed by fibrous tissue such as collagen.

Not all scars look alike and scars can form for a variety of reasons, for example, as the result of surgery, infection, injury, burning or inflammation of tissue. The greater the damage to the skin and the longer it takes to heal, the greater the likelihood of a noticeable scar.

Types of scarring

Scars are the body's natural way of looking after itself, and form and look different depending on their cause. Scars also vary depending on factors such as your age, sex and ethnicity. While some scars are barely noticeable, there are some types of scarring that can appear more prominent.

Keloid scars - are raised red scars that are the result of an overactive healing process. Keloid scars extend past the point of the original injury and can sometimes restrict movement and cause discomfort as well as occasional disfigurement. However, they can also be treated with the help of surgery, injections or steroids.

Hypertrophic scars - are similar to keloid scars, but do not extend past the edges of the original injury. They can be treated in the same way.

Contracture scars - are typically caused by burns. These scars cause a tightening of the skin that can restrict mobility.

Acne scars - are scars caused by severe acne. They are caused when the skin tries to repair the damage caused by acne by replacing damaged skin cells with new ones.

Scars - prevention and treatment

The formation of scars can often be aided with the help of treatment at the time of the initial trauma. Cold compresses can often help prevent the formation of keloid scars, while neat and controlled incisions can reduce the risk of visible scarring - this is why scarring is typically minimal following surgery.

Some scars, such as those caused by acne or similar traumas, can be treated with methods ranging from medical microdermabrasion to skin peels or laser treatment.

Sclerotherapy

Sclerotherapy

Sclerotherapy, also known as thread vein removal, is a procedure used to treat visible or malformed blood vessels. It is often used for the treatment of thread veins, spider veins or varicose veins. Sclerotheraphy is predominantly administered to the face and legs.

Sclerotherapy refers to the injection of a sclerosing solution into veins; this chemical is a mild irritant that over a course of treatment kills the vein. This means that the vein will ultimately disappear completely as the body naturally absorbs the treated vein, leaving smoother and less blemished skin.

Sclerotherapy treatments

When used for treating thread veins, a very fine needle injects a solution into the vein, which causes it to perish and, over a course a treatments, disappear completely. A sclerotherpay treatment session takes around an hour to complete and a course of between one and four is recommended (dependant on the number of veins to be treated).

However, while sclerotherapy removes thread veins completely, it can't stop the formation of new thread veins elsewhere, so people sometimes return for further treatments at a later date.

While there are occasional side effects associated with sclerotherphy, including inflammation or itching, these are typically short-lived and minor.

Recovery following sclerotherapy

Patients are able to return to their daily routine immediately after undergoing a sclerotherapy treatment. They are encouraged to walk and go about daily tasks. Support wraps or compression garments are also often employed to compress the treated vessels following sclerotherapy.

Alternative treatments for thread vein removal include laser and IPL (intense pulse light) treatments. While Sclerotherpahy is a relatively common and simple surgery, it is important that patients choose registered clinics.

Septoplasty

Septoplasty

Septoplasty treatments involve the removal of cartilage from a patient's nasal cavities, to straighten a deviated septum and improve airflow and remove obstructions in the cavities.

The nasal septum is the partition between the nostrils, which is usually located in the centre of the nose. If the septum deviates into one of the nasal cavities it can cause difficulties with breathing or lead to chronic sinus problems.

Septoplasty is distinct from septorhinoplasty, which involves the separation of bone as well as cartilage to alter the external shape of the nose. However, patients who have damaged their nose or require corrective surgery in several areas may choose to combine the treatments, and may also consider rhinoplasty to improve the appearance of their nose.
 

Septoplasty procedure


Septoplasty is a reconstructive plastic surgery procedure and is carried out under anaesthesia.

The surgery typically takes around 90 minutes and involves the surgeon making an incision in the septum lining to access the cartilage. Excess cartilage is then removed, and the surgeon may fix the septum in a central position with sutures.

Following septoplasty, the nasal cavities may be irrigated or packed, with gauze fixed beneath to collect blood. The excess bleeding typically stops after one to two days.

Septorhinoplasty

Septorhinoplasty

Septorhinoplasty is a plastic surgery procedure to straighten the cartilage and bone in the septum and other areas of the nose with the aim of removing obstructions and improving airflow in the nasal cavities.

As well as maintaining or improving airways, a septorhinoplasty can also correct the outer shape of the nose.

Septorhinoplasty is often combined with a rhinoplasty to further straighten and improve the shape of the nose. The treatment differs from septoplasty, which treats deviated septums alone.
 

Septorhinoplasty procedure


Septorhinoplasty can be thought of as a reconstructive plastic surgery procedure to correct breathing difficulties associated with the shape of the nose.

The treatment usually takes up to two and a half hours. Incisions are made to the outer and inner nose, through which surgeons can remove or reposition bone and cartilage.

Patients can expect swelling inside the nose for several weeks following treatment, however breathing difficulties should be overcome within two to three weeks. Patients can usually return to work earlier, typically within one to two weeks.

Spider-Vein

Spider-vein

A spider vein is a widened vein that is visible through the surface of the skin. They typically take on a spoke-like formation, hence their name. They are also known as spider telangiectasia.

Spider veins are similar to varicose veins, although they are smaller in size. Spider veins are also akin to thread veins, and can be treated with sclerotherapy or laser procedures.

Spider veins can be unsightly and uncomfortable, leading many to seek treatment.

Spider vein treatments

Sclerotherapy - is a virtually painless treatment in which spider veins and thread veins are injected with a solution that causes them to perish, the vein is then naturally absorbed into the body and disappears. The number of sessions required depends on the number and the size of the veins, but each session typically takes around an hour and up to four may be required.

Recovery from sclerotherapy is brief and patients are encouraged to walk around and exercise. They will typically be provided with pressure garments to compress the veins following treatment.

IPL - IPL (Intense Pulse Light procedures) can also be used to treat spider veins. This method is only effective on spider veins of 1-3 mm. It is a non invasive treatment and veins may need up to five treatments to be successfully treated. No recovery time is normally needed following IPL spider or thread vein removal, and patients are typically able to return to work or their normal activities directly after treatment.

Spider vein reoccurrences

While sclerotherapy and IPL can successfully treat and remove spider veins so that they are very unlikely to ever return, new veins can sometimes occur elsewhere, so some patients choose further treatments in the future. The treatments for spider veins are non surgical procedures and are relatively quick and painless.

Subcataneous

Subcutaneous

Subcutaneous, literally meaning 'beneath the skin', refers to tissues and operations carried out under the outer skin layer.

All surgery that involves incisions or injections under the skin is subcutaneous in nature, providing access for surgeons to tissue layers, blood vessels and abnormal tissue beneath a patient's skin in the subcutaneous layer.

The subcutaneous layer also comprises connective tissue, fatty tissue (adipose), hair roots and sweat and oil glands.
 

Subcutaneous procedures

Many cosmetic surgery procedures involve removing, tightening or repositioning tissue, muscles and fat in the subcutaneous layer.

During liposuction, surgeons make an incision in the skin and insert a cannula to break down and remove excess fatty tissue with the aid of vacuum suction.

Several cosmetic surgery treatments for the face involve separating skin from subcutaneous layers to remove excess tissue and trim sagging muscles and skin. These include face lifts (rhytidectomy) and eye bag removal (blepharoplasty).

Suture

Suture

Sutures are devices used by surgeons to hold together body tissues following operations. Surgical sutures are typically carried out with the use of a needle and very fine thread. They are used to close incisions made during a wide range of surgical procedures.

Sutures have been in use for thousands of years, with a history dating back to ancient Egypt around 3,000 BC. Sutures still play an essential role in a many surgical procedures, however advances in medicine have seen the sizes, materials and placement of sutures come a long way, particularly in recent decades with the invention of synthetic fibres.

Sutures can be either absorbable or non-absorbable, depending on whether they will naturally degrade over time once incisions have healed. Depending on the procedure, sutures can also be either temporary, which may require removal weeks or months later, or permanent to play a long-lasting role.

Effective use of sutures in cosmetic surgery

Cosmetic surgery treatments using sutures can be carefully planned to make the best use of natural body contours and the best available materials to hide the appearance of sutures and incisions following treatments.

Procedures such as eye bag removal and ear reshaping can use buried sutures within the natural folds of facial features. While treatments such as tummy tucks will usually require permanent sutures to tighten the abdominal wall and reduce the size of the stomach, some treatments such as liposuction can also make use of dissolvable sutures that will naturally dissolve over time once the incision had healed.

Thigh Lift

Thigh Lift

Thigh lift surgery, also known as thighplasty, is a cosmetic surgery treatment that removes loose or sagging skin from the inner thigh and groin area.

Many patients choose a thigh lift following weight loss, to remove the excess skin that often remains around the thigh area. Thigh lift surgery can improve self-esteem and lead to a more slender appearance.

To improve body contouring, patients sometimes combine a thigh lift with surgery on other areas of their waistline, such as a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) or buttock lift.

Thigh lift procedure

Thigh lifts are performed under general anaesthesia and usually require an overnight stay in hospital.

During a thigh lift, the surgeon makes an incision around the patient's groin area and lifts excess skin upwards before removing the excess. The wounds are closed up with sutures which are removed one week following surgery.

Recovery and after care following thigh light treatments

Patients will experience some bruising and swelling in the treated area following a thigh lift, which usually fades after three weeks.

Thigh lift patients will be required to take two weeks off work and avoid strenuous exercise to allow their groin area and operation scar to heal. Patients should also keep dressings intact until they return to the surgery for their follow-up appointment.

Varicose Vein

Varicose vein

Varicose veins are enlarged veins that most commonly appear on the legs. Varicose veins develop when the leaflet valves that prevent blood from flowing backwards become deformed, allowing blood to flow downwards into veins due to the effects of gravity.

The condition is more common in women than men, and can be caused by factors such as pregnancy, weight gain and ageing (particularly menopause). Varicose veins are often hereditary, though may also develop due to extended periods of standing still, leg injury or other abdominal straining.
 

Varicose vein symptoms

People with varicose veins often experience pain or aching as well as a feeling of heaviness in their legs caused by the presence of excess blood.

Areas around and below the veins may experience swelling, itchiness, dryness or discoloration. This can be particularly severe in areas such as the ankles.

Varicose vein sufferers may also experience more bleeding from injuries sustained to the leg, which could also take longer to heal.

The Harley Medical Group does not treat Varicose Veins

VISIA

VISIA

VISIA® is a complexion analysis system that makes it easier than even before to identify a patient's skin condition and design a unique skin care regime. As well as offering an in-depth analysis of a patient's individual facial characteristics, VISIA® can also be used to plan more effective and personalised rejuvenation treatments to improve the evenness of facial skin and reduce the appearance of wrinkles or sun damage.

Using precise imaging of all areas of the face, including beneath the surface, VISIA® is a computerised photo skin analysis and can offer meaningful evaluations and reports to help patients every step of the way in taking care of their skin and enjoying long lasting results.

How VISIA® complexion analysis works

VISIA® enables surgeons to make quantitative statements about the skin and complexion of patients through detailed skin imaging. The VISIA® camera unit sends detailed images to a computer which uses unique software to analyse the results in both standard and UV light.

Using VISIA® analysis, patients can see their individual complexion as it compares to the average, from an in-built database composed of thousands of other faces. By plotting the results as visual graphs overlaid onto images of the client's face, the surgeon and patient can use VISIA® complexion analysis to identify the key areas of the face that would benefit from treatment.

These results gleaned from using VISIA® imaging can form the basis of anti-ageing treatment planning, such as wrinkle relaxing injections or dermal fillers, or to identify specific areas of the face that would benefit from additional attention or protection.

X-Ray

X-ray

X-radiation is a form of electromagnetic radiation and was first generated in 1891 by Fernando Sanford, a professor of physics at Stanford University. The use of X-rays for medical purposes was first introduced by Major John Hall-Edwards in Birmingham In 1908.

An X-ray is a radiograph that has been made by projecting X-rays through the body onto photographic film. Certain parts of the body are more radiopaque (allowing fewer X-rays to pass through) than others, and this casts a shadow on the film and creates a picture of the inner workings of the body.

X-rays and cosmetic surgery

An X-ray is required before cosmetic surgery procedures like rhinoplasty and chin lifts to give the surgeon a map of the patient's bone structure. This allows the surgeon to enjoy a clearer view of the skeletal system of the patient than would be afforded through sight alone.

Excessive exposure to X-rays can be damaging, but the radiation exposure is low during a typical X-ray, which is a relatively safe method of investigation with numerous benefits.