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Cosmetic Surgery


Cosmetic Surgery, surgery performed to improve a person’s physical appearance. While reconstructive plastic surgery is an attempt to return traumatized or congenitally deformed tissues to normal, cosmetic surgery is an attempt to achieve an improved appearance or rejuvenation. Some argue against cosmetic surgery because they see it as an expensive, risky, and uncomfortable process, further confirming a particular ideal appearance (as represented by fashion models and others), and also as a waste of medical resources and talent (see also Body Modification).


Early forms of surgery included primitive forms of plastic surgery. For example, in ancient India as early as 2000 bc, operations were carried out using a portion of the forehead to reconstruct the nose in cases of amputation used as a form of punishment.

Cosmetic surgery has become commonplace in richer, mainly Western societies aiming for perfection or everlasting youth, and has evolved very rapidly in recent years. Since its initial growth in the 1950s, it has become more complex and ambitious. The field has in part been spurred on by consumer demand, but this has also led in turn to greater patient expectations. Many patients have cosmetic surgery to improve parts of the body they may hold responsible for a negative self-image or make themselves more attractive to their partners. Taunting by others, or just constant embarrassment is another reason for undergoing cosmetic surgery especially in children with, for example, prominent ears or large birthmarks. Cosmetic surgery, such as removal of excess skin around the eyes, is often sought to avoid a “tired” appearance. Forms of cosmetic surgery have sometimes been confused with plastic surgery. In fact, only a small percentage of plastic surgeons have practices limited to cosmetic operations.

Cosmetic surgery has to be adapted to suit the patient’s personality, gender, age, and ethnic origins. Synthetic materials alien to the human body are used with caution as they may lead to infection or abnormal hardening of tissues. For example, silicone implants used to enlarge breasts have been implicated in the development of breast cancer, depression, and joint diseases, although a definitive conclusion is still awaited.


A Rhinoplasty

Rhinoplasty is the form of surgery used for remodelling of the nose, which can depict sensuality or authority in its more flattering forms, as well as denoting a person’s gender, changing age, or ethnic origins. It can be performed through incisions on the inside of the nose. Cartilage grafts from the ear or nasal septum, or reshaping of the nasal bone, are commonly used to help remodel the nose.

B Otoplasty

Otoplasty is the pinning back of the ears and is most commonly performed in children. An incision behind the ear is used to carry out the surgery.

C Face-Lifting

Face-lifting is performed to counteract the gravitational effects of ageing of the skin. Prominent nasolabial fold, jowls, and excess skin under the chin can be corrected. Fine wrinkles on the face can be removed by laser, chemical peeling, or dermabrasion (burning off of the top layer of skin).

D Blepharoplasty

Blepharoplasty is the term used for removing excess skin from eyelids as well as bags under the eyes.

E Other Surgery

Other forms of cosmetic surgery are: Liposuction and liposculpture, techniques using a suction device to remove excess fat, mainly from around the abdomen and hips, and recontour the body; abdominoplasty (“tummy tuck”), the removal of excess skin and fat from the abdominal muscles; breast reduction, which is performed mainly by liposuction or by more radical surgery; and breast augmentation, which enlarges the size of the breasts by the insertion of implants filled with silicone, saltwater, or soya bean oil. Keyhole surgery is a recent advance in cosmetic surgery, mostly used to elevate the eyebrow and eliminate the frown line. Sex reassignment surgery for transsexuals involves a series of cosmetic operations, which may include the creation of a functioning vagina (following removal of the penis and testicles); nipple reconstruction; or phalloplasty (construction of a penis), which involves many operations and is in the developmental stage.

Contributed By:
A O Grobbelaar

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