Cosmetic surgery means more than nose jobs and breast implants. There are now hundreds of different procedures designed to take care of everything from wrinkles and scars to sagging skin and loose jowls.
Read on for the best solutions for your nagging problems.
Furrowed Brow – Deep vertical lines between the eyebrows can usually be eliminated with Botox, a toxin derived from the same microbe that causes the deadly ailment botulism. Injected between the brows, Botox paralyzes the facial muscle causing the wrinkles. The procedure takes about 10 minutes, and results last for 3-6 months. This should set you back about $200-$400 per injection.
Tired-Looking Face – Although collagen injections work well for isolated facial wrinkles, all-over facial wrinkles require more. The best remedy for such a face is usually laser therapy. Laser light causes collagen in the skin to shrink, eliminating wrinkles for about nine years. That’s how long it takes facial wrinkles to form.
Several different kinds of lasers are now in use. For minor wrinkles, the best bet is the newly approved erbium laser. It combines good results with a brief recovery period. The skin is red for 3 or 4 days, and you can go back to work within a week. The cost for this procedure ranges anywhere from $100 to $3,000.
Deep Wrinkles or Scarring – For acne scars or deep wrinkles caused by years of smoking and/or sun exposure, the best approach is once again laser therapy. Instead of the erbium laser, however, it’s better to use the more powerful carbon dioxide laser.
Carbon dioxide laser therapy takes only 90 minutes, but the recovery period often lasts up to 10 days. During the first week after surgery, it’s a bit like having a bad sunburn. The skin peels and crusts over, and pain medication is often needed. After 7 to 10 days, the crust falls off, leaving behind new, pink skin. This procedure costs between $2,000 and $6,000.
Sagging Jowls or Neck Wattles – For loose skin on the face or neck, the best treatment is a face-life or neck-lift. In this four-hour operation, the surgeon makes an incision in front of and behind the ears. Then he/she lifts the skin off the underlying muscles and fat of the face and tugs it back till it’s snug. The recovery period lasts 7 to 10 days. At that point, the stitches are removed, and you can return to normal activity. This outpatient procedure costs between $7,500 and $30,000.
Flabby Hips, Thighs and Arms – With America’s obesity progressively worsening, liposuction has become the most popular cosmetic surgery procedure. In conventional liposuction, the surgeon sucks out fat using a thin tube called a cannula, which is inserted through the skin.
Most surgeons now use tumescent liposuction, in which fluids containing essential salts and sugars along with a local anesthetic and epinephrine to control bleeding are injected into the area being suctioned. Unlike conventional liposuction, tumescent liposuction allows safe removal of lots of fat – up to 22 pounds at a time. The procedure costs about $2,500 per site.
Enlarged Breasts in Men – The standard approach to this problem is to make an incision around the outside of the nipple and then cut away the excess fat. This method, which costs between $2,500 and $3,000, generally yields good results – especially when used in combination with liposuction.
Finding A Good Cosmetic Surgeon
For a list of board-certified plastic surgeons in your area, contact the national referral service of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Also, look for a surgeon who has treated someone you know and has performed the procedure you want several times with success.