Cosmetic Surgery: Before & After
Cosmetic surgery may once have been the domain of the rich and famous, but its popularity continues to grow.
Every year, more than a million Americans seek a surgeon’s hand in achieving a flatter tummy, a larger bust, or a reshaped nose or chin. Learn about the most popular procedures and see the results in the slides ahead.
Nose Job: Before & After
The nose job or rhinoplasty is one of the most common cosmetic procedures. A skilled surgeon can reshape noses that seem too big or wide for the face, that have a bump on the nasal bridge or that are crooked or off-center (either naturally or due to injury.) This is one surgery that is popular with teenagers, but doctors recommend waiting until at least age 14, possibly older for boys. Major complications are rare, and recovery takes one to three weeks.
Eyelid Surgery: Before & After
Eyelid surgery, also called blepharoplasty, can address a variety of concerns, from droopy upper eyelids to bags beneath the lower lids. Excess skin and fat are removed through small incisions to create tighter, smoother eyelids. Fat may also be transferred from one spot to another to reduce bags or puffiness. Recovery takes about a week and the incisions rarely leave noticeable scars.
Neck Lift: Before & After
Screenwriter Nora Ephron titled her memoir I Feel Bad About My Neck. If that hits a nerve, a neck lift may be the answer. Loose bands of tissue or “turkey wattle” are caused by weakened neck muscles. A surgeon can correct this problem by adjusting and removing muscles in the neck. Liposuction in conjunction with a neck lift can remove excess fat. As with any surgery, there is a small risk of infection. Recovery takes up to two weeks.
Facelift: Before & After
The facelift uses various techniques to create a smoother, more youthful face. Through incisions around the ear, a surgeon removes excess skin and manipulates the deeper layers of tissue and muscle to tighten the face. While rare, risks include infection and injury to underlying tissue. Facelifts are no longer one of the top five cosmetic surgeries. They’re losing ground to less invasive options, such as injectable fillers or laser therapies.
Laser Skin Resurfacing: Before & After
Instead of the scalpel, some patients choose to address facial imperfections with a laser. Laser skin resurfacing uses intense pulsating beams of light to vaporize superficial, damaged skin cells. As the outer layers of skin are removed, fine lines and blemishes disappear. Laser resurfacing works especially well on sun-damaged skin and acne scars, as seen here. Depending on the type of laser used, recovery takes one to two weeks.
Hair Transplant: Before & After
Half of men and many women will experience some degree of hair loss as they age. Typically, hair remains thick on the side or back of the head. This allows a surgeon to transfer small amounts of hair to the bald or thinning area, where it takes root. Today’s hair transplants are nothing like the “doll plug” look of decades past. Hundreds of micrografts, each containing one to three hairs, are implanted in a natural pattern.
Arm Lift: Before & After
Keeping the triceps toned is a challenge as we age, especially for women. When the battle is lost, the result may be “chicken wings” extra skin and fat dangling from the upper arms. A procedure called brachioplasty can fix this. The surgery tightens the under portion of the arm between the armpit and elbow by removing excess skin and fat. It will leave a permanent scar on the inner-back-side of the arm.
Liposuction: Before & After
Liposuction is the most common type of cosmetic surgery with about half a million procedures performed every year. Using a suction device, the surgeon removes small bulges of fat from the tummy, thighs, hips or buttocks. The result is a smoother contour in the treated area. Liposuction works best for patients of average or slightly above-average weight. Risks are minimal but include infection or skin discoloration.
Tummy Tuck: Before & After
Unlike liposuction, a tummy tuck is major surgery. Also called abdominoplasty, the procedure surgically removes excess fat and tightens muscles in the abdomen. The operation can take several hours and usually leaves a permanent scar. A tummy tuck is not recommended for people who are still planning to lose a lot of weight or for women who may become pregnant in the future.
Breast Implants: Before & After
Breast augmentation is neck and neck with liposuction as the most common form of cosmetic surgery in women. The breasts are enlarged with saline or silicone gel implants the patient chooses the size she wants. To place the implants inside the breast, a surgeon makes an incision in the armpit, areola, or lower breast fold. The procedure is minimally invasive and has relatively few risks, although it may make breastfeeding more difficult.
Breast Reduction: Before & After
While it’s more common for women to seek larger breasts, breast reduction is also a popular procedure. Fat, tissue, and skin are surgically removed from the breast to achieve the desired size. This reduction can relieve neck and back pain in women with large, heavy breasts. Risks include a change or loss in nipple sensation and difficulty breastfeeding.
Choosing a Surgeon
If you choose to go forward with cosmetic surgery, it’s important to have realistic expectations and a surgeon you trust. Ask whether your doctor is board certified and can provide references of people who have undergone the procedure you’re considering. Make sure the doctor thoroughly explains all risks and benefits. Most importantly, tell your surgeon exactly what you hope to accomplish.