May 18, 2016

From Top to Toe: Understanding Aesthetic Surgery

May 18, 2016


Physical appearance significantly impacts our lives. Research has shown that as human beings, our appearance not only affects how we view ourselves but it also contributes to how society treats us. It is not surprising that as a supplement to grooming and exercise, cosmetic and plastic surgery have become a popular go-to option for millions of women and men every year.

To break it down, beauty can be divided into four major categories: ageing, youthfulness, symmetry, and gender. If we think of beauty in these terms, it becomes easier to understand the aesthetic surgery of the body from top to toe.

Firstly, as we age, our skin and soft tissues lose tone and elasticity. It shows on the face with the appearance of loose skin and the development of wrinkles. Similarly, the same droopiness is noticeable on the breasts, abdominal skin, and buttocks. The most common way to reverse these changes due to ageing is to surgically “lift” the loose skin and tissues. In the plastic surgery sense, “lifting” of the skin can mean either pulling up or tightening the area by removing any excess skin and tissue so that what is left is pulled tighter together. Lifting is a typical technique used in the face (brow lift, eyelid lift, face lift, neck lift), breasts (breast lift), and body (body lift, thigh lift, butt lift). By pulling the excess loose skin together, the lifted area looks more youthful.

Beauty can also be explained in terms of youthfulness. It directly correlates with a person’s fit and toned body. As such, the appearance of any fatty deposits under the chin, “bra roll” area, thighs, and tummies may make people look less youthful. When no amount of exercise or diet can help, patients usually turn to plastic surgery, namely liposuction, to remove unwanted fats. Similarly, there must also be the right amount of fat in the right places for youthful vigor. For example, full breasts (in a female) and full buttocks are considered to be signs of youth. When an area lacks fullness and appears deflated, patients can choose to add to that area using plastic surgery techniques such as fat grafting, breast augmentation, and buttock augmentation. It is also common to have both fat grating and liposuction done in the same procedure (liposculpture) to contour and ‘fine-tune’ the body and create a desirable svelte shape.

is a further aspect of how we assess our appearance. Most of us would be self-conscious if one of our hands or feet were bigger than the other. The same applies if this asymmetry is present on our face, breast, or body. Thankfully, fillers can help correct facial asymmetry and lift brows. Treatments to remove wrinkles &  expression lines
can help with uneven brow height. Breast asymmetry can be sorted out with breast lift, breast augmentation, or breast reduction. Not only that, otoplasty can help balance out the ears, while rhinoplasty can make the nose more symmetrical. Corrections in such cases can not only improve physical health conditions but are extremely psychologically rewarding to patients, resolving self-esteem issues.

Last but not least, gender also plays a part in our concept of attractiveness. Basically, men and women have significantly different beauty standards. Men have heavier and lower brows, while women have finer, more delicate and higher brows. These standards define and guide a plastic surgeon in various cosmetic procedures. For instance, even though brow lifting can restore youthfulness to a man’s face, the plastic surgeon should take care to not elevate the brows too much as it might create an unwanted feminine appearance. Another example where gender beauty standards play a part is in contouring surgery. Waists that are too straight on a woman might create a more masculine appearance, while too much curve on a man might appear too feminine.

Essentially, aesthetic surgery from top to toe can be easily broken down into four categories to understand patient goals and guide plastic surgeons. Ultimately, all of these guidelines cannot compare to the expertise of an experienced plastic surgeon.

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Disclaimer: The information contained in this post is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is provided for educational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your plastic surgeon or other qualified healthcare provider before starting any new treatment or discontinuing an existing treatment. Always speak to your healthcare provider about any questions you may have regarding a procedure.