Plastic Surgery and its alternatives

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Plastic Surgery

Whether your reasons are cosmetic or medical, there is no doubt that the world of plastic and cosmetic surgery has evolved to meet your needs.  From facial reconstruction and skin grafts, to breast augmentation and body contour surgery, there is a procedure to transform the look of your exterior self, whilst providing a boost to your self-esteem and general psychological well-being.
Historically, plastic surgery tended to the needs of burn victims, those in need of facial reconstruction and very restricted amounts of breast reductions/rhinoplasty, based on GP referral.  The majority of work done by NHS plastic surgeons today involves reconstruction after removal of cancerous cells.  In women, this is mainly on the breasts and after a mastectomy; the area can be reconstructed using lattissinus-dorsi, allowing the woman to retain her figure and confidence.

However, in the last twenty years, the cosmetic surgery market has exploded into a £150 million industry globally; you will see adverts for every kind of procedure in the back of mainstream women’s magazines, articles on celebrities who have gone under the knife and scare stories of botched lipo, excess surgery and occasional deaths under anaesthesia.  Surgeons can work in both the public and private sector to maximise their earnings and treat cosmetic cases as well as medical ones.

Many women find the invasive procedures involved in mainstream cosmetic surgery too intrusive in their lives, and instead opt for gentler alternatives.  This has lead to a huge rise of people requesting botox, collagen, dermabrasion and many other salon treatments.  With nothing more terrifying than a needle, you could peel back the years and firm the skin without the need for anaesthesia or a hospital stay.  The users swear by these treatments, which target specific areas; such as laughter lines, lips and frown lines or general facial lifting and plumping.

In this world where more and more women are turning to plastic surgery to turn back the years, we bring you the major surgical procedures, some non-invasive alternatives and products you can buy over the counter at most department stores.  We strongly urge you, before embarking on any surgical procedure, to check your clinic and doctor out with the British Association of Aesthetic and Plastic Surgeons ( or the British Association of Plastic Surgeons (, then discuss the expectations you have and the consequences and limitations of the procedure you are interested in.

Surgical – The Breasts.
There are a number of procedures that can enhance the look of this area, whether your desire is to be bigger, smaller or more pert.

Mastopexy will up-lift droopy breasts, often caused by gravity, motherhood and particularly breast-feeding.  Pleats of surplus skin are removed from underneath the breast, the breast itself is remodelled into a tighter cone and the nipples are repositioned at a higher level.  Cautioned is advised if your family is incomplete, as you may not be able to breast-feed again.
Augmentation is the most common and heard of way to change the size and shape of your breasts.  The implants are made of a silicone outer casing, but can be filled with silicone gel, salt, water or even soya bean oil.!  You can also choose the shape of your implants now, either the roundish shape associated with most surgeries, or a more natural shape that can avoid the melon effect. Generally, the manufacturers recommend a 10 year life span of the implant, but they can stay in for much longer without any problems.

Non Invasive
You could try Bust Modelling by Thalgo, a fantastic treatment involving exfoliation, followed by massage, cream and then a mask.  This should enhance elasticity, maintain bust firmness and defines the whole area.  You will notice an immediate firming of the bust contour and increased elasticity in your first treatment but it is advised to have one treatment a week for 6 weeks, then one session every three weeks for maintenance. Each session will cost £30.

Cosmetic – YSL Haute Tenure, is a light spray that is applied to the decolletage area and gently massaged in for maximum effect.  The spray tightens and lifts the skin that holds up the breasts, which will give a defined look to your bust. It is doubtful this will have much effect if you have a large cup size.

Head over to your nearest Clarins counter, where you will find a very unique product.  It’s called Model Bust and looks like great fun to use, as you place the cup over one of your breasts, attach the nozzle to the cold water tap and turn it on!  The cold water stimulates the circulation, naturally firming and lifting at a fraction of the cost of a boob-job.  The kit costs £62, but would last for several years with good maintenance.

Chicken Fillets are a real favourite with A-listers like Nicole Kidman, because they provide a boost to the bust size for a special occasion without having to resort to the surgeons table.  They fit neatly inside your normal bra and can be re-used many times.  You will find these at most department stores, as they have grown in popularity recently.

Surgical – (Stretchmarks) The only effective surgical procedure for removing stretchmarks is the tummy tuck.  It is a very invasive procedure and would take up to 6 months to see the effects.  During this procedure, many of the stretchmarks will be excised when the skin is removed and those that are left are tightened, making them look less obvious.  It is important to note that this is not a specific treatment for stretchmarks merely a by-product of the tummy-tuck operation.  Should the stretchmarks be your only concern, it would not be advisable to consider this as a solution.

Non-Invasive – Stretchmark Fader – BioskinLas
Dermabrasion and a cold laser combine in this high-tec treatment, which will smooth the texture of the skin and minimise the effect of stretchmarks in comparison to the rest of the skin.  A course of six treatments are recommended for maximum effect, from £55 per session.

Cosmetic – Phytomer Seatonic Stretchmark Reducing Cream – £22.50, minimises the appearance of new stretchmarks, whilst increasing the elasticity of the skin to prevent further marking.  The Phytomer range of products can be ordered online at

Surgical – Body Contour Surgery (liposuction)
Designed to remove unwanted fat deposits, in women this is generally the hips, neck, arms, tummy and thighs.  It involves the insertion of a narrow metal tube into the affected area and a strong vacuum pump removes the excess fat.  You can expect considerable bruising, which will be uncomfortable and sometimes painful and you may not see the benefit for at least 6 months, as well as having to wear a special garment for 3 weeks – day and night. It is very important that you discuss the consequences and limitations with a qualified and experienced surgeon, as this is a particularly invasive procedure, which may be as a last resort only.  Do ensure your surgeon is a member of BAAPS and is trained in liposuction.

Non-Invasive – Hypoxi Therapy
To banish the spongy cellulite that gathers mainly in the thigh area, you could look at this non-invasive treatment as an alternative to liposuction.  A course of 12 treatments is advised, at £45 per session.

Cosmetic – There are many lotions and potions on the market that claim to banish cellulite, some more effective than others.  Massage into the afflicted area is most important, whether with a dry body brush, loofah, roller-ball or just your hands as this will stimulate your cirulation, aiding lymphatic drainage.
Some over-the counter treatments you may find worthwhile include;

Segreti Thalassotherpay Body Mud – contains natural spa ingredients which help to drain the toxins that cause cellulite.

Clarins have a lovely product called Bodylift Contour Control, which stimulates the circulation and drains the toxins.  You should use this product in the morning and as a compliment, use Extra Firming Bodycare – £32 – in the evening for maximum effect.

Body Ultimate Anti-Cellulite Gel Formulation comes in two varieties to tackle that troublesome cellulite.  Aqua assists in the release of the water which is trapping fat cells, giving the dimpled appearance to the surface of the skin.  Aqua formulation contains essential oils that have diuretic properties, thus releasing the fluid.  Once liberated, the fat can then be used by the body. This product is ideal for soft, spongy cellulite, whereas Amber works on the hard, stubborn cellulite through it’s active ingredient aminophylline  This encourages the release of trapped fat to be used again by the body.

Surgical Facelifts
The ideal candidate for this procedure would be in the 40-60 age group and works best for the lower half of the face, particularly the jaw-line and neck.  If you are concerned about sagging eyebrows and wrinkles of the forehead, it may be better to consider an endoscopic brow lift rather than a full face-lift.  Loose skin with fine wrinkles, freckles and rough areas would benefit more from a chemical peel or laser resurfacing.  A face-lift is most often carried out under general anaesthetic, with an overnight stay in hospital.  Other procedures that can be carried out at the same time include; malar (cheek bone), chin augmentation and lip enhancement.

There are several options when it comes to a face-lift, depending on your age and expectations;

The deep face-lift carried out endoscopically, avoids ear-to-ear incision and can be carried out at a younger age than the standard procedure (S-lift).  This would tighten the skin around the mid-face, freshen the eyes by opening and lifting the outer angle and reducing the wrinkles caused by crows feet.  The swelling associated with this procedure will subside in a month or so.

Non-Invasive – Perlane fills in the deep lines that run from your nose to your mouth and the effects can last up to twelve months. The treatment can cost up to £400 but this is small compared to the cost of a surgical lift.  Confidence Scotland can administer the perlane at your convenience.

The classic way to treat wrinkles on the forehead, round the eyes and from the nose to the mouth is using botox. This has escalated in popularity, mainly due to the visual effects seen on many A-list celebrities (though they often deny using botox!) It can have a dramatic but temporary effect, numbing the facial muscles in the above mentioned areas, although it is often easy to spot a botox user by the difficulty they have in forming expressions. Generally, it is a less invasive and cheaper method of holding back the years, which can be administered in the comfort of your own home if you desire.

Cosmetic – Over the counter treatments

YuRoll – The medium sized Yuroll is for use on the cheeks forehead and under the chin.  Your pores will be tightened cheekbones re-contoured and skin will appear more radiant and toned.

LaPrairie is the world leader in skincare technology, due to their pioneering scientific research and cutting edge products.  A brand new treatment on their counter will target specific lines and wrinkles on the face – using advanced silicone technology and optical diffusers. Rose Illusion Line Filler costs £65 and is designed to be used after moisturiser and before foundation, for a smooth look under your make-up. Rose Illusion has a beautiful, balmy texture and applies wonderfully, making it a real pleasure to use for any age group. Get there quick though, this product’s demand has outstripped supply in most parts of the UK, since it went on sale on the 2nd of February this year.

Diva Diva  – product is the closest you can get to Botox without actually sticking a needle in your forehead. It visibly lessens the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, or treats sagging skin on the face or neck with an instant face lift

Lift Minceur-Visage is Clarin’s face-lift in a bottle designed to lift and tone facial contours. On application, the skin feels instantly tighter and puffiness is reduced, giving the skin a long-lasting, toning effect. It costs £30 a bottle.

Surgery – Lip Enhancement
In mainland Europe, a new procedure has been pioneered (Artecoll), which has better results than the permanent substances that are currently used in the UK.  It can be injected without anaesthesia as an outpatient and gives a softer result that doesn’t dissolve away.

Other permanent procedures involve skin grafting (usually a by-product from other surgeries, such as facelift or tummy tuck) The advantage being that the graft takes well as it is your own skin, but swelling can last up to three weeks. This procedure is limited to the amount of vermillion (muscle of the lip) that is available, usually linked to your age.

Non-Invasive Collagen injection into the lip is a more common procedure but is a temporary solution. Many patients use this as a preliminary to something more permanent, to see what the results would be without commitment. This treatment, along with newer alternatives to collagen (Hylaform, Restylane) need topped up every 3-6 months.

Plastic Surgery

City Lips has an excellent range of plumpers, a clear one and a full range of colours. They offer a lip plumping treatment that can visibly increase lip size safely and painlessly by enhancing collagen and lip plumping factors with each application. The technology reduces lip wrinkles and fine lines, makes your lips incredibly soft, hydrated and visibly fuller. Plumps on average 3 millimetres.

Transformulas Lip Volume comes in at £22.50 and will increase lip hydration by up to 60%, giving you more pouty lips within a month of use. For the first month, you use three times a day and after the month, you reduce the application to once a day.

As you can see, there are a bewildering array of beauty treatments and products on the market all targeted at the insecurities we feel as we get older or change shape. Ask friends or family for their recommendations on salon treatments, or ask for a sample at your department store, so you can try it in the comfort of your own home. If you are determined to have something surgical done – please make sure you have tried all of the alternatives first and have discussed your expectations with a qualified surgeon.

LaPrairie & Clarins – Most major department stores nationwide.
Spa NK – Space NK branches nationwide
Hypoxi Therapy – Call Hypoxi directly on             0121 333 6969       for details.
Body Ultimate – Call             0800 0730 430       for local retailers, or to order direct.

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