When the Scalpel Rules

When it comes to turning back the clock, I’m usually all for going the non-surgical route but sometimes surgery will always be the best option. But the good news is that going under the knife nowadays is nothing like it used to be.  Once upon a time it was all about lifting, stretching and tightening loose skin  (remember the dreaded wind tunnel look) whereas now it’s all about looking refreshed and revitalized with a look so natural you couldn’t tell whether anything had been done at all. New surgical techniques also mean most procedures can now be carried out using local anaesthetic and light sedation Here are three of the best procedures

Lower face and neck lift (Platysmaplasty)

Thanks to excellent skincare and regular procedures most women can keep their faces looking lineless, and plump but when it comes to a jowly jawline, the neck is very hard to rejuvenate and can reveal your true age. The neck ages similarly to the face. In the late 30s and early 40s, fine lines appear, texture becomes uneven or splotchy, and in the 40s, gravity kicks in, resulting in loose skin under the chin, slackness and sag. The best procedure to address these problems is a lower face-lift.  Carried out using local anaesthetic and light sedation, tiny incisions are made behind and in front of the ears and the skin is separated from the underlying tissues. The skin is then lifted into its new position, the muscles and tissues are tightened and any excess fat and tissue is trimmed off. After the procedure, a twenty-four hour rest is required with around two weeks recovery time for swelling to subside though recovery is less than what it would be with a full facelift. The procedure does leave scarring which is hidden in the crease behind the ears and which fades over time. Results will last up to ten years depending on lifestyle.  Expect to pay around £6k.

The Eye Tightener (Blepharoplasty)

Eye bags are common and you can sometimes develop them in your early 30s. The result: puffiness under the eyes, along with loose skin that can occur on both the upper and lower eyelids. I would always recommend getting eye bags removed sooner rather than later – they can put 10 or 15 years on your face and, once they’ve settled in, they’re not going anywhere! A surgical blepharoplasty is the best way to tighten loose skin and remove excess fat and the results can be as good as facelift.  The op can be performed on upper or lower lids or both

It’s a relatively minor op, but it usually takes a couple of weeks to recover and for the swelling and bruising to go down Expect to pay from £3k.

The Micro Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty)

Not all bodies are the same, which is why tummy tucks (abdominoplasty) is not a one-type-fits-all procedure. How much loose skin there is dictates which procedure you’ll benefit most from. When there isn’t too much, a micro tuck, which focuses on the lower tummy, can tighten the abdomen and is less traumatic than a full on tummy tuck with a much faster recovery rate. The procedure differs from a traditional tuck in that the incision is very short, rather than a hip-to-hip incision and is best for women who are in excellent shape but have a small amount of excess skin. Any excess skin and fat from below your belly button is removed. Your belly button is not removed from surrounding skin, but you are likely to be left with minimal scarring on the abdomen above the pubic area that will fade over time. Depending on the procedure, you will need downtime of at least a two weeks There will be some bruising and swelling following the treatment but this will fade Remember a t tuck is not a treatment for weight control or a substitute for regular exercise

When you go for a consultation make sure you know everything about the procedure – ask the following…

1.    How do you prepare for the surgery

2.   What will happen during the surgery

3.   Any risks and side effects

4.   The recovery period

5.   The aftercare policy

6.   What happens should anything go wrong (any costs should revision or repair work be required)


*Always do your homework and always find a surgeon with the proper experience of the procedure you are planning to undergo – book consultations with three of four surgeons so you can make sure you feel comfortable.

*Never rush into surgery – give yourself at least six to eight weeks after a consultation to decide if you want to go ahead.

*Avoid surgery if you have recently experienced major life events such as moving house, losing a loved one, the break-up of a relationship or you’ve just had a baby.

* A recommendation from someone who has undergone the treatment is always best – ask to see before and after photos and ask what results you can expect.

* The General Medical Council have a leaflet outlining what you need to know before undergoing any cosmetic procedures – go to gmc-uk.org or make sure the surgeon is a member of The British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons, British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, or visit the Web site at www.baaps.org.uk.

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