According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), Americans spent $16.5 billion on plastic surgery in 2018. That includes 5.8 million reconstructive procedures and 17.7 million cosmetic surgical and minimally invasive procedures. So, what is plastic surgery and why is it so popular?
There are two types of plastic surgery: reconstructive and cosmetic. Reconstructive surgery is generally a medical necessity. Examples of reconstructive procedures include instances in which someone’s face has been disfigured due to an auto collision or other trauma and breast reconstruction in the event of a mastectomy.
Cosmetic surgery is not medically necessary; it is an elective procedure and is done when the patient is seeking to alter or improve a physical characteristic of their body.
Plastic surgery is generally defined as the sculpting or reshaping of an area of the body. It has nothing to do with plastics in the common use of the word – in fact, the term “plastic surgery” originated many years before the first petroleum-based plastics were created.
Privia Medical Group North Texas is proud to have three well-respected plastic surgeons serving patients across North Texas:
- Yadro Ducic is a facial plastic surgeon and head and neck surgeon with offices in Dallas, Fort Worth and Colleyville. Dr. Ducic is board-certified in Otolaryngology and Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. He is also a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons.
- Uzoma Ben Gbulie is board-certified in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons. Dr. Gbulie’s practice is based in Mansfield.
- Jesse Smith is board-certified in Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and Head and Neck Surgery. Dr. Smith has offices in Fort Worth and Colleyville.
Common Reconstructive Surgeries
The most common types of reconstructive surgery include tumor removal repair, laceration repair, maxillofacial surgery and scar revision.
Most reconstructive procedures are a result of tumor removal. Removal of a tumor, regardless if it is malignant or benign, may result in a disfiguration. When this occurs, a plastic surgeon is often able to reconstruct the affected area so that it resembles its appearance before the tumor was removed.
Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer and it is not uncommon for it to develop on the face or neck. In these instances, reconstructive surgery may be required after the cancerous tissue has been removed. Dr. Smith specializes in reconstructive surgery necessitated by skin cancer or other cancers affecting the head or neck, such as oral cavity cancers.
Dr. Gbulie has extensive experience in breast reconstruction, a common reconstructive procedure performed following a mastectomy, lumpectomy or in the event of a congenital deformity.
There are different types of breast reconstruction:
- Implant-based, in which breast implants are used to form the basis of the breast mound
- Flap reconstruction uses the patient’s tissue from another part of the body to reconstruct the breast
- Hybrid reconstruction involves a combination of the two procedures
“For breast cancer patients who have had a mastectomy, breast reconstruction surgery is an important step in the recovery process, both physically and emotionally,” says Dr. Gbulie. “We work closely with our patients to help them recover and move forward with their life.”
In the event of a severe trauma to the head and skull, a plastic surgeon specializing in maxillofacial surgery may be needed. This is one of the areas Dr. Ducic specializes in; he has extensive experience in the surgical repair of broken jaws, cheekbones, eye sockets and noses, as well as facial lacerations. Serious motor vehicle collisions, major athletic injuries and acts of violence are some of the reasons why maxillofacial surgery may be needed.
Common Cosmetic Surgeries & Procedures
Cosmetic surgery makes sense if it is something you want to do for yourself to feel or look better. According to the ASPS, candidates for cosmetic surgery are healthy, realistic and have a positive outlook. Cosmetic surgery may be helpful in improving appearance and self-esteem in healthy individuals, provided the procedure is being done for themselves.
“If you’re thinking about cosmetic surgery in order to please or impress someone else, plastic surgery is probably not for you,” says Dr. Gbulie. “We also want to make sure patients are not in a period of crisis or duress in their lives when considering a cosmetic procedure.”
Keep in mind that cosmetic procedures aren’t usually covered by health insurance, so the patient is responsible for the full cost. Many plastic surgeons have payment plans available for their patients.
Dr. Gbulie performs several types of cosmetic surgeries, including arm lift, breast augmentation, breast lift, buttock augmentation, tummy tuck and liposuction.
Dr. Ducic and Dr. Smith both specialize in procedures such as rhinoplasty, face lift, chin implants and laser resurfacing.
Here’s a look at some of the most common types of cosmetic plastic surgeries:
Both saline and silicone breast implants have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration as a means for augmentation. Augmentation can also be accomplished by transferring fat from another part of the body. The incisions for breast implants are generally made in an inconspicuous area, such as the armpit or the crease on the underside of the breast in order to conceal visible scarring.
The recovery period for breast augmentation surgery is fairly brief, with patients feeling tired and sore for a couple of days.
A breast lift is another type of cosmetic surgery that can be performed in conjunction with or independent of breast augmentation. Breast lift may be an option for a patient with sagging or “droopy” breasts.
According to Dr. Gbulie, candidates for breast augmentation are adult women with fully developed breasts who are not happy with their size or appearance. Women with asymmetrical breasts, as well as those whose breasts have changed in appearance following pregnancy, weight loss or normal aging, may all be good candidates for breast augmentation. Only women who are healthy and not pregnant or breastfeeding may be considered for this procedure.
Liposuction is an outpatient procedure in which specific fat deposits in the tissue are removed from the body through a suction technique. The most common areas of the body targeted by liposuction are the hips, abdomen, buttocks, waist and thighs, although it can also be utilized in the arms, legs and back.
“A good candidate for liposuction will be within 30% of ideal body weight, a non-smoker and in good health overall,” says Dr. Gbulie. “Liposuction is not a treatment for obesity, nor is it a substitute for proper diet and exercise.”
Rhinoplasty, often called a “nose job,” can achieve a better-sized nose in proportion to the face, correct a drooping, upturned or bulbous nose, correct nasal asymmetry, as well as address other physical issues. In addition, a rhinoplasty may be used to correct a deviated septum, which is a medical, not cosmetic, concern.
An abdominoplasty, commonly referred to as a tummy tuck, is the removal of excess fat and skin in the abdominal area. People who have lost considerable weight, as well as women who have been pregnant, are sometimes candidates for a tummy tuck. In addition, aging and a previous surgery can be causes of a loose or sagging belly which can be improved through a tummy tuck.
As with liposuction, a tummy tuck is not a weight-loss surgery and is not an alternative to weight loss through diet and exercise. It is simply a procedure that evens out and tightens the abdominal area.
Minimally Invasive Cosmetic Procedures
There are a number of minimally invasive cosmetic procedures performed by plastic surgeons. Some of the most common include:
The injection of a botulinum toxin into certain areas of the face has proven effective at reducing wrinkles and smoothing skin. Approved by the FDA, this procedure can be used to reduce crow’s feet, brow wrinkles and frown lines.
“When we furrow our brow, squint and frown, the repeated muscle contractions eventually lead to creases and wrinkles in the skin,” explains Dr. Smith. “The botulinum injection, one of the most common cosmetic procedures, contains a purified substance that blocks muscular nerve signals and weakens the muscle, thereby reducing wrinkles.”
These injections create improvements lasting three to four months, at which time another round of injections will be needed; otherwise the wrinkles will return.
As we age, we lose fat tissue under the skin, causing the skin to loosen. The injection of fillers can aid in reducing creases and wrinkles by tightening the skin.
Chemical Peels & Laser Resurfacing
Chemical peels are primarily made with fruit acids. A chemical peel removes dead layers of skin and promotes the production of new, healthy layers, as well as increased collagen production. This process can be effective at removing skin imperfections caused by sun damage, age or acne scarring.
“Chemical peels are one of the least invasive methods to improve the appearance of a patient’s skin,” says Dr. Ducic. “For patients who don’t want to have a facelift but want to improve their skin’s appearance, laser resurfacing is another great option. Using a laser, we can remove the damaged layer of skin, promoting growth of a new layer free of the discolorations that were present before.”
Is Plastic Surgery Right for You?
Cosmetic plastic surgery or a minimally invasive procedure may be something to consider for healthy people who want to improve a physical characteristic. If that describes you, contact one of the Privia physicians in this article for a consultation – they can answer your questions and help you decide if plastic surgery or a cosmetic procedure is right for you.
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