Facial Plastic Surgery and Treatment Options

Facial plastic surgery can be important because our facial expressions allow us to interact and communicate with each other. Our appearance has an impact on how others perceive us. While some would like to improve certain parts of their face, others are born with facial abnormalities such as a cleft lip, a birthmark, or other birth defects. Fortunately, many conditions such as the effects of aging, sun damage, or previous facial trauma can be corrected through procedures performed by a skilled surgeon.

Why Should I Consider Facial Plastic Surgery?

ENT (ear, nose, and throat) specialists, or otolaryngologists, diagnose and treat a wide range of conditions involving the whole face, nose, lips, ears, and neck. Facial plastic surgery is a part of otolaryngology that is divided into two categories: reconstructive and cosmetic.

Reconstructive plastic surgery is performed for patients with conditions that may be present from birth, such as birthmarks on the face, cleft lip and palate, protruding ears, and a crooked smile, that also affect normal function. Other conditions that are the result of accidents, trauma, burns, or previous surgery can also be corrected with this type of surgery. In addition, some reconstructive procedures are required to treat existing diseases like skin cancer.

Cosmetic facial plastic surgery is surgery meant to enhance visual appearance of the facial structures and features. Common procedures include facelifts, eye lifts, rhinoplasty, chin and cheek implants, liposuction, and procedures to correct facial wrinkles. ENT specialists are well trained to address all these problems.

What Are the Types of Treatment?

Non-surgical procedures and techniques such as chemical peels, microdermabrasion, and injectables can also help for some facial conditions. Injectables include medications such as Botox®, Dysport®, Restylane®, Juvederm®, Radiesse®, Sculptra®, and other fillers that can be placed under the skin to improve the appearance of the face.

Surgical facial plastic treatments include:

  • Rhinoplasty/Septoplasty—Surgery of the outside and inside nose in which cartilage and bone are rebuilt and reshaped to improve the appearance and function of the nose
  • Blepharoplasty—Surgery of the upper and/or lower eyelids to improve the function (like drooping eyelids) and/or appearance of the eyes
  • Browlift—Surgery to improve forehead wrinkles and droopy eyebrows
  • Rhytidectomy—Surgery of the skin on the face and neck to tighten the skin and remove excess wrinkles
  • Liposuction—Surgery to remove excess fat under the chin or in the neck
  • Facial Implants—Surgery to make certain structures of the face (cheek, lips, chin) more prominent and well defined
  • Otoplasty—Surgery to reshape the cartilage of the ears so they protrude less
  • Skin Surface Procedures—Surgery using lasers, chemical peels, or derma-abrasion to improve the smoothness of the skin
  • Facial Reconstruction—Surgery to reconstruct defects in facial skin from prior surgery, injury, or disease, including reconstruction resulting from cancer surgery, scar revision, repair of prior facial trauma, removal of birth marks, and correction of congenital abnormalities of the skull, palate, or lips

How Should I Prepare for Facial Plastic Surgery?

Knowing what to expect from facial plastic surgery will put you more at ease. Depending on you and your body, certain risks might include nausea, numbness, bleeding, blood clots, infection, and adverse reactions to the anesthesia. Additionally, if you smoke, you should avoid doing so for two weeks before your surgery in order to optimize healing following your procedure.

Most plastic surgery will not require a long hospital stay. Depending on the extent of your surgery, some procedures can be completed on an outpatient basis. Other procedures may require a hospital stay overnight or for a day or two. Either way, before you are released from the hospital, your surgeon will discuss with you any special care to take while you are recovering at home. You will receive instructions regarding how to tend to your incision area. Sutures and surgical staples will be removed in the office about a week after the procedure. Your surgeon should also explain any special diet restrictions you should follow, medications you should take or avoid, and any restriction on activities.

Most patients feel comfortable returning to work one to two weeks following their surgery, when swelling and bruising are reduced, and their appearance has improved.

What Questions Should I Ask My Doctor?

  1. Are there alternatives? What if I do nothing?
  2. How often do you perform this type of procedure? How many times?
  3. What kind of preparation plans do I need to make?
  4. How long will the procedure will take?
  5. What medications should I avoid before surgery?
  6. How long before I can return to my normal activities?

Because some facial plastic treatments are optional, it’s important to understand your medical coverage before any treatment. Insurance will usually cover reconstructive plastic surgery, but check with your provider. If you will be paying for the procedure, find out what payment options are available and if there is a payment plan.

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The information on ENThealth.org is provided solely for educational purposes and does not represent medical advice, nor is it a substitute for seeking professional medical care.