Cosmetic Surgery at Harley Street

Cosmetic surgery is a branch of plastic surgery aimed at surgically enhancing the appearance of a patient. In this context ‘plastic’ actually refers to the moulding and shaping process rather than use of the material plastic; many can be put off by this common misconception. Aside from operations such as rhinoplasty and facelifts, there are numerous other cosmetic surgery options available at Harley Street. As medical technology has advanced, more and more people are seeking cosmetic surgery to enhance their aesthetical appearance for a number of reasons. Some patients seek an increase in personal confidence, others a better way of coping with the pressures of modern living, and others have completely different motivations. Typically anybody who is interested in cosmetic surgery will have a general idea of the aspects of their body they want to be operated on, but it is always useful to seek a consultation; surgeons, especially the experts at Harley Street, will be able to assess the amount of surgery that needs to be done and the best areas to work on. They may be able to approach the procedure from an angle the patient had not considered, and will run through all the potential operations that can be performed in order to leave the patient satisfied. One of the advantages of having cosmetic surgery at Harley Street is that you are likely to have a realistic consultation before the operation which may have quite different results from those expected; in some cases, for example, the surgeon will address psychological problems in relation to the operation sought by the patient, and may recommend that surgery is not the wisest step forward.

Harley Street Abdominoplasty

Abdominoplasty, more commonly known as ‘tummy tuck’ surgery, is the removal of excess skin and fat from the abdomen area in order to tighten the abdomen and make it firmer. Typical patients include post-pregnant women who are left with a lot of loose tissue and those who have lost a lot of weight in a relatively short time, leaving them with excess sagging skin around the stomach. Often abdominoplasty can be combined with other cosmetic operations, such as liposuction, to create a holistic effect on the patient’s appearance, but this will be discussed in the consultation. Generally patients are required to be in relatively good shape, as judged by the surgeon, before the procedure begins. There are a variety of abdominoplasty variants: complete, partial, extended, high lateral tension and circumferential. The procedure in each is broadly similar: anaesthetic is first applied, and then an incision is made a little above the pubic area. The size of this incision varies – for a complete operation, for example, it extends from hip to hip, whereas it is smaller in a partial operation. A further incision is made to separate the navel, and the skin is removed from the abdominal wall all the way up to the ribs; this exposes the muscles. The surgeon then pulls the muscles closer together, effectually tightening them and creating the desired effect on the patient’s figure. Finally the skin is pulled down and excess skin is removed, then a new hole is cut for the navel which is then stitched back in place. All incisions are stitched and then dressed, and any excess fluids will be drained off by a tube. Often in partial abdominoplasty the navel does not have to be removed. The time this operation takes can vary, with a partial abdominoplasty taking from one to two hours and a complete from two to five, though usually no more than three. Typically medication is given to the patient for the first few days, which are often uncomfortable. Surface stitches remain for a matter of days until they can be removed, and anything deeper will be removed within three weeks. A Harley Street Cosmetic Surgeon will be able to recommend the most effective recovery plan. There are some risks associated with abdominoplasty, however, but fortunately the draining off of excess fluids helps to reduce most of them. Nonetheless bleeding and infection can still occur, even though they are exceedingly improbable to do so.

Blepharoplasty at Harley Street

Blepharoplasty (literally ‘eyelid mould’ in Greek) is the branch of cosmetic surgery dealing with the appearance of the area surrounding the eye.  It is typically performed on a patient who wishes to lift the eyelid and remove any shadows (or eyebags). It can also alter the shape of the eye by modifying the position of the corners of the eyes. Eye shadows, often caused by aging, are another reason patients wish to undergo blepharoplasty. Asides from the purely aesthetical applications, there are also functional uses of the procedure, if eyelids begin to restrict peripheral vision and must be adjusted. The operation is performed under local anaesthetic. Generally incisions are made along the natural lines of skin, such as creases. In some cases a further incision is made in the inside surface of the lower eyelid. Next the surgeon uses forceps to grasp fat, which is then removed with surgical scissors. This is often accompanied by laser resurfacing to reduce the recovery time. The various permutations of this procedure will be discussed between the patient and the Harley Street cosmetic surgeon before the operation, identifying which areas to work on. Typically it can take several weeks for a patient to fully recover, and the surgeon will detail an effective recovery plan during this period. Risks can include improper healing, necessitating further treatment.

Phalloplasty at Harley Street

Phalloplasty is the surgical reshaping of the penis. Although not synonymous with penis enlargement, this process can sometimes be offered as part of the operation. There can be a number of scenarios leading to a man becoming interested in phalloplasty. These can include anomalous penis size or shape or potential difficulties facing a transsexual patient. Due to the sensitive nature of this operation, patients want to be assured to a reliable operation, and there are few better guarantees than seeking phalloplasty at a Harley Street clinic. There are several different procedures, all requiring a skin graft. The easiest operation to perform is a graft from the forearm; this however carries the disadvantage of a non-aesthetic scar on the donor site. If this area does not heal correctly then there may be severe consequences for the arm. A Harley Street cosmetic surgeon will explain this, however, and help the patient to select the most appropriate operation. Some scenarios, depending on the patient, require the surgeons to rebuild the urethra. Whether or not this is the case, the graft is then dissected to expose the blood supply veins and is then joined to the urethra. Next a series of steps are taken to integrate the new material into the body, by joining veins and blood vessels. In the case of traces of female genitalia remaining, these can either be cut away or left as they are, depending on the discretion of both the surgeon and patient. Another method is using skin from the side of the chest for the graft. Although it is performed by essentially the same procedure, there are a number of advantages including the aesthetic appearance of the skin, a less conspicuous donor site and the capability of tactile sensation. Other procedures are broadly similar and it is worthwhile for any potential patient to discuss these with a Harley Street cosmetic surgeon before undergoing the operation. However at Harley Street any surgeon offering this procedure has full training and an excellent understanding of the best route to take with phalloplasty. There are many potential risks, including bloody supply issues leading to the loss of the phallus, bruising and infection. As it is such a sensitive and potentially dangerous operation, choosing a Harley Street clinic is a wise option for a reliably undertaken procedure.

Mammoplasty at Harley Street

Mammoplasty (or mammaplasty) refers to the field of cosmetic breast operations. It is not however limited to breast implants, and comprises also of mastopexy (breast lift) and breast reduction. Mastopexy is used to alter the shape of the breast, and women usually seek this treatment when their breasts have lost some of their original shape and have started to sag, following weight loss, pregnancy, breast feeding, or the effects of age. It can be combined with either breast implants or reduction to enhance the overall cosmetic effect. Once the patient is under anaesthetic, incisions are made on both of the breasts and then the breasts are lifted and excess skin is removed. Although this does solve the problem, it is only a temporary fix as age will ultimately take its toll nonetheless. A Harley Street cosmetic surgeon will require the patient to remain overnight, and then will recommend a recovery plan. Typically it is not advisable for a patient to return to work before 7 days have elapsed after the operation. Breast reduction, although most common in women, can also be sought by men affected by gynecomastia (a condition in men in which abnormally large mammary glands result in breast enlargement). While the patient is under general anaesthesia, a variety of procedures can be performed by a Harley Street cosmetic surgeon to reduce the size of the patient’s breasts. In men it is typical to remove excess tissue through tiny incisions in both breasts. For women, the operation depends on the particular size and shape of an individual’s breast. Generally a number of different incisions are made and then the tissue is removed and any excess skin is cut away; but the possibility also exists for liposuction to remove the tissues. A Harley Street cosmetic surgeon will be well-informed to decide on the most appropriate operation. Recovery can take up to several months, but generally after two weeks the patient will notice an improvement. Both procedures carry potential risks. These can include altered erogenous behaviour; breast reduction can result in the patient experiencing difficulty with the next menstruation cycle. Both can result in altered sensitivity, and after healing the patient can be left with asymmetrical breasts.

Chin augmentation and reduction at Harley Street

Often used in conjunction with rhinoplasty to enhance the overall aesthetic appearance and balance of the face, chin augmentation is the process of either reducing a protruding chin or enlarging a receding chin, by inserting implants. Although in some clinics the patient’s own bone is taken for an implant from non-essential areas, such as the pelvis and ribcage, at Harley Street synthetic materials can be used which nonetheless look and feel like real bone once implemented. While the patient is under anaesthetic an incision is made either in the inside of the mouth or underneath the chin. Then the surgeon inserts the implant and fixes it in place by fine sutures. One advantage of having the incision from inside the mouth is that there is no visible scar left. This process typically takes 2-3 hours. Chin reduction surgery works by making a similar incision, either inside the mouth or underneath the chin, and then detaching the bone from the tip of the chin. Once this is done the bone is reshaped, and any excess bone can be removed. Wires and plates are used to hold the remaining bone in place, and finally the incision is sutured. This tends to take the same amount of time as an augmentation procedure, but might also necessitate and overnight stay in the clinic. This will be down to the Harley Street cosmetic surgeon’s judgment.

Buttock augmentation at Harley Street

The buttocks are one of the most difficult areas of the body to tone, enlarge or shape by exercise or diet regimes. Consequently cosmetic surgery for buttock augmentation is a perhaps surprisingly popular choice for patients; it is also popular amongst transgender individuals who wish to seek either a more feminine or more masculine appearance. Buttock augmentation can consist of one of two operations: either the lifting of the buttocks or surgical enlargement. The consultation with a Harley Street cosmetic surgeon will lead to a decision on which is the most appropriate operation, as the knowledge and skills of the surgeons amply qualify them to judge this. A buttock lift process works while the patient is under anaesthesia. It works by carefully combining liposuction with fat injections to adjust the buttocks to the desired shape. The fat injected can either be that which has already been taken from the rest of the buttocks, or it can come from the abdomen or elsewhere. Surgical enlargement consists of inserting buttock implants. Once again the procedure is carried out while the patient is under anaesthesia, and a single 2-3 inch incision is made near the tailbone. The gluteus maximus is then lifted and the implant is inserted into the newly created space; this is done for both sides. Once a satisfactory result has been achieved, the incision is sutured up. Compared with breast implants, buttock implants are considered much stronger and durable, and they do not leak, removing the potential for a number of complications. Typically a dressing is left on for two weeks, and the patient may initially feel sore. After this is removed it generally takes around a week for a patient to resume his or her daily routine. At Harley Street this operation usually takes around one-and-a-half hours, and necessitates an overnight stay at the clinic.

Labiaplasty at Harley Street

Labiaplasty (also spelt labioplasty and sometimes known as labial reduction) is a cosmetic operation designed to create or reduce the external folds of skin, labia, surrounding the vulva. There are a number of reasons why this operation is sought by patients in addition to purely aesthetic reasons – the labia can become injured after childbirth or disease, and consequently a labiaplasty procedure can be used to repair this damage. At Harley Street there are two modern methods used to carry out the operation: cosmetic scissors or laser treatment. Although the surgeon will be able to advise any patient interested in this surgery, in this case the patient will have to weigh up the advantages. Both procedures are performed while the patient is under general anaesthetic, and local anaesthetic is also used to numb the pain during and after the operation. The labia can be reduced by amputation, which is essentially the cutting down of the labia. This leaves a scar however and can result in nerve damage. As such there is also the option of central wedge resection, which works by removing a ‘wedge’ from the middle of the labia, and leaving the edge untouched. This again carries the risk of nerve damage. The third procedure is known de-epithelialisation, which works by removing the outer-most tissues from both sides of the labia, and leaves the nerve endings untouched. After the operation, the patient will need to rest for 3-4 days at home, and should be more or less fully recovered within 6 weeks. However, it can take up to six months before the final results are visible.

Lip enhancement at Harley Street

Because of the central position of the lips on the face, they are a conspicuous feature, and full lips are often associated with beauty. Consequently any patient who finds themselves dissatisfied with the appearance of the lips may well wish to seek lip enhancement treatment. The procedure works by injecting fillers into the lip, but it is only since the 1990s that any truly effective dermal fillers have been produced. In order to prevent complications such as the dreaded ‘trout pout’, Harley Street clinics initially inject only a small amount of filler, opting to top up the amount after the swelling has diminished and the effects can be seen. This swelling generally only lasts for up to a week. Even after the initial amount and subsequent top-up has been injected, it is still necessary to return every 6-12 months to receive another top-up and sustain the effect.

Cheek augmentation at Harley Street

Cheek augmentation is a cosmetic procedure designed to emphasise an individual’s cheeks. It can be combined with many other cosmetic surgery options to enhance the overall facial aesthetics. There are generally three methods of cheek augmentation: insertion of a solid implant over the cheekbone, injection of the patient’s own fat, and injection of a soft tissue filler. Harley Street doctors will discuss with the patient the most appropriate method; certainly fat injections and soft tissue filler are less invasive procedures, and the latter is generally the most popular with Harley Street surgeons due to the advances in filler now available; Harley Street clinics offer biodegradable fillers. All procedures are carried out while the patient is under anaesthetic. Implants are typically made of silicone. If the patient is to receive this treatment then an incision is made in the upper mouth (or, in rare cases, near the eye), and then the implant is placed in its position and left to integrate with the surrounding tissue and bone. The injection methods are simpler in that the fat or filler is injected directly into the desired area. Generally the recovery time takes about six weeks but this can vary. There are a few risks which include infection or bleeding, but at a Harley Street clinic these can be reduced due to the aptitude of the procedure and surgeon.

Browplasty at Harley Street

Browplasty, also known as a forehead lift or browlift, is a cosmetic procedure aimed at lifting a drooping eyebrow. It is sought either to help remove the wrinkles on the forehead or to prevent obstruction of vision by the eyebrow. The two main methods offered at Harley Street are botox injection and keyhole surgery. The Harley Street cosmetic surgeon may discuss both with the patient in order to reach the most appropriate and desirable method. In the former, a simple botox injection is given every four to six months in order to raise the drooping area. By contrast the keyhole surgery method utilises several small incisions and allows the surgeon to use an endoscope to decide how best to progress. While the patient is under anaesthetic a small drill hole is made in the skull, and an Endotine is inserted. This has about five small points, or tines, to fix the tissues in place once the surgeon has lifted them up. Once this has been done, the forehead is left to heal naturally, and the method proves more permanent than botox. Risks tend to be rare, although some patients report noticing the tines for some time after operation. 

There are many other types of comsetic surgery performed by surgeons at Harley Street. To view a full list of cosmetic procedures, visit the Cosmetic Surgery Information Guide.

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