Your Facial Plastic Surgery Terms Cheat Sheet
So, you are thinking about facial plastic surgery. Facial plastic surgery is becoming increasingly common. But as with any surgical procedure, you will want to do your research on procedure options, surgeons, recovery, and expected outcomes. Facial plastic surgery is a highly specialized field, which requires precise and often minute adjustments to make the desired changes. Here is a basic facial plastic surgery terms cheat sheet. These are good basic terms to know when you go in for your initial consultation.
And, a reminder for during your consultation, ask questions! If you don’t understand, express that and ask for further explanation. It is frustrating for a patient, and for the doctor as well, when a patient leaves the visit, and feels they didn’t gain a clearer understanding of the procedure, options, considerations, and expected outcomes.
Types of Facial Surgery
There is a wide variety of facial plastic surgeries – from cheek implants to lip augmentation, but below are the four most common categories.
Blepharoplasty (Eyelid Lift)
Upper eyelid blepharoplasty removes wrinkled or drooping skin above the eye. This procedure gives the eyes a wider, more youthful appearance.
Blepharoplasty also refers to the process of reducing the fat deposits that cause bags under the eyes. Surgeons make incisions in the natural folds of the eyelids or interior lining to hide any possible scarring. You can read a more detailed description of the evaluation process, procedure options, and recovery #blepharoplasty.
A brow lift reduces wrinkles and expression lines in the forehead and around the eyes. Surgeons conduct the procedure through incisions in the front hairline or above the ears. A brow lift can rejuvenate a person’s expression by creating a more youthful contour to the upper part of the face. It helps you appear more refreshed, your eyes appear brighter and often you look less tired and have a more welcoming facial appearance.
Rhinoplasty (Nose Job)
Rhinoplasty changes the shape and size of the nose. Surgeons use small incisions inside the nose or in the skin between the nostrils to access and alter bone and cartilage. Surgeons may remove or add small portions of skin, bone, or cartilage to reshape the nose structure. When a surgeon builds up a portion of the nose, they may use a filler substance as well.
Is your nose misshapen as a result of trauma or an injury? Do you have other medical or breathing issues? Be sure to discuss these factors with your surgeon as well.
In discussing your rhinoplasty procedure, you will want to have an honest discussion with your surgeon about your expected outcomes.
Rhytidectomy (Face lift)
Natural aging of our faces may cause us to appear older than we are and change our facial expression to one of fatigue or scowling. A face lift can rejuvenate your appearance and restore a more youthful, vibrant expression. A face lift repositions the fatty deposits in the face and removes excess and sagging skin. Surgeons make their incisions in the hairline or behind the ear to obscure any scars.
There are a variety of face lift procedure options. So, it will be important to candidly discuss with the surgeon your desired outcomes and options.
You can get most types of plastic surgeries in varying degrees, particularly those performed on the face. For example, a full face lift corrects signs of aging in the forehead, cheeks, jaw, and neck. But many patients opt for a mini face lift, which lifts the cheeks but not the neck or brow. The mini procedure is less invasive and requires less recovery time. Talk to your doctor about the best options for your individual aging process.
Types of Scarring
Your surgeon will conceal and prevent much of the scarring associated with any kind of surgery. The most common types of scarring are:
These scars are darker than a patient’s natural skin.
This type of scar tissue is at the site of a wound or incision. Hypertrophic scars occur in thick clusters.
Hypopigmented scars are scars that are lighter than a patient’s natural skin.
Keloid scars itch or are painful, even after recovery. Keloids are most likely to develop where there is little fatty tissue under the skin. This type of scarring was more common many years ago, but occurs less frequently with today’s improved technique and procedures.
Any incision has a chance of scarring. Surgeons make most incisions in inconspicuous places to decrease the chance of unattractive, visible scars.
Types of Surgeons
Many people confuse and don’t understand the difference between a facial plastic surgeon and a cosmetic surgeon or plastic surgeon. There is an important differentiation that you should understand and take into consideration for facial plastic surgery.
Facial Plastic Surgeon Training & Board Certifications
The American Academy of Facial Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery discusses the qualifications, training, and education related to facial plastic surgery. Many Facial Plastic Surgeons are ENT’s (Ear, Nose & Throat specialists).
The American Academy of Otolaryngology Head & Neck Surgery discusses the lengthy training involved in specifically studying the head and neck:
An otolaryngologist can receive up to 15 years of college and post-graduate training in plastic surgery, concentrating on procedures that reconstruct the elements of the face.
Post-graduate training includes a year of general surgery, four years of residency in otolaryngology (disorders of the ears, nose, and throat), and may also include one to two years in a fellowship dedicated to facial plastic surgery.
After passing a rigorous set of exams given by the American Board of Otolaryngology, otolaryngologists may become board-certified in the specialty of OtolaryngologyHead and Neck Surgery. Because they study the complex anatomy, physiology, and pathology of the entire head and neck, these specialists (sometimes called ENTs) are uniquely qualified to perform the procedures that affect the whole face.
After medical school, plastic surgeons complete 5-6 years of residency training, during which they split their years between general surgery and plastic surgery. Typically, the first three years of surgery training is in general surgery and the final 2-3 years are in plastic surgery, not specifically related to the head and neck area.
No Facial Plastic Surgery Terms Cheat Sheet would be complete without discussing a few surgical methods.
Facial plastic surgeons use a range of techniques to provide the most effective results. Some of the most common methods used include:
Plastic surgeons use a small viewing instrument, called an endoscope, inserted beneath the skin. The endoscope is only used for viewing. Surgeons use a scalpel, scissors, or forceps to complete the actual surgery. Endoscopic surgery requires smaller incisions than traditional surgery does, which can translate to less recovery time. Brow lifts are the most common type of facial plastic surgery performed with an endoscope.
The removal of a section of skin or fatty tissue beneath the skin.
A cannula is a hollow tube attached to a vacuuming device used in liposuction procedures.
You may decide to combine facial liposuction with a face lift or brow lift for more defined contouring.
Your surgeon likely uses certain methods more frequently than others, depending on his or her training, tools, and preferences. Consult with your surgeon about the most effective methods for achieving your desired facial changes.
Use Your Facial Plastic Surgery Terms Cheat Sheet
Hopefully, your facial plastic surgery terms cheat sheet will help you understand some of the basic terminology, initiate some questions, and introduce options available to you in selecting a surgeon, discussing procedures best suited for you, and being an informed self advocate.
A partnership with a facial plastic surgeon can help you look younger and feel more confident. Here’s to informed and awesome!