What is Cosmetic Surgery?
Cosmetic surgery refers to using surgical methods (i.e., cutting) to enhance the appearance or correct a defect. Because it isn’t deemed medically necessary, it is not covered by insurance.
People opt for different types of cosmetic surgery when issues bother them symptomatically, functionally, and/or socially. Due to the variety of options, it’s best to consult with a dermatologist to determine the right treatment plan for you.
What Are the Benefits of Cosmetic Surgery?
Many patients choose cosmetic surgery for unsightly issues that make them self-conscious and lowers self-esteem. For example, a droopy eyelid makes the eyelid look heavy. People stare in public, and they feel bad about themselves.
Others choose cosmetic surgery when an issue, like skin tags, affects functionality. Skin tags tend to rub, irritate, and bother people, so they want them removed. If someone has worn heavy earrings that tore the earlobe, they may want that repaired so they can wear earring again.
In some cases, patients need cosmetic surgery to meet a job requirement. For the military, a pierced ear has to be fixed before a person reports for service.
What Should You Expect During Cosmetic Surgery?
Cosmetic surgeries performed by dermatologists don’t require anesthesia. These are typically simple, outpatient procedures with little (or no) recovery time. We commonly remove skin defects, moles, skin tags, and keloids as part of our cosmetic surgery offerings.
For droopy eyelids, torn earlobes, or stretched earlobes, we conduct a skin removal to remedy the problem.
When the upper eyelid droops, we remove the redundant eyelid. It produces a great result with little risk. The dermatologist simply removes the extra skin on the eyelid itself. They do not interfere with any other area of the eye.
We remove skin in a way that places the scar in the crease of the eye. Over the course of a year, it fades almost entirely. This results in a natural (not surprised) appearance. Over time, gravity makes the appearance even more natural as the lid lowers with slightly.
If the eyelid obstructs the vision, this may be classified as a medical procedure. However, in most patients, it’s considered cosmetic.
Torn Earlobe and Gauge Repair
Many people don’t know where to go when they need their earlobe repaired for cosmetic or work-related reasons. The dermatologist can resolve this issue with an affordable outpatient procedure.
To repair the earlobe, we cut out the defect, create a new wound, and align the two sides of the earlobe together perfectly to create a contoured natural ear line. After that, we place a few stitches in the ear that we remove after one week.
This procedure takes about 30 minutes and does not require any general anesthesia. We numb the site with lidocaine, so patients don’t feel anything. It’s very simple with no downtime.
For those who want the ear re-pierced, the dermatologist can pierce the ear on the site of the original scar in a way that prevents future damage.
Mole removal remains one of the most common cosmetic procedures. These skin defects need to be excised, not shaved. The visible part of the mole is the tip of the iceberg. The entire lesion actually goes deeper into the skin, we cut it out and then suture the skin together. If it’s only shaved, it’s likely to recur.
Mole removals will scar. In fact, any time we cut the skin, it will scar. However, the face (a common site for mole removals) heals the better than any other area of skin. It has a great blood supply, which promotes quick healing.
Plus, we can strategically place scar lines in natural folds of the skin, so it is minimally visible. For example, if we remove a mole near the nose, we may be able to place a suture line in the curvature of the nostril. As it heals, the scar virtually disappears.
These little pouches of skin are best removed by a dermatologist. While over-the-counter ointments claim to remove skin tags, at home removal requires delicate application. Whatever chemical you put on the skin tag will also harm the skin itself. The skin tag is made of the same cells as the normal skin. An applied liquid cannot remove it without injuring the surrounding area.
Dermatologists prefer to remove larger skin tags by numbing it with lidocaine and clipping it at the base. When we clip this small attachment to the skin, it creates very little scarring.
Insurance typically does not cover skin tags, even when we submit claims that explain the level of discomfort caused from itchy, bleeding, irritated, or painful skin tags.
While most keloid removals are non-surgical, keloids on the ear may require surgical removal. These are so big, they don’t respond to other treatment. Sometimes, they even grow to the point weighing down the earlobe. In these situations, we can surgically remove the growth.
How should I prepare for cosmetic surgery?
For most types of cosmetic surgery, patients need minimal preparation. Patients can drop in for their appointment and drive themselves home.
However, before eyelid procedures, we ask patients to take precautions in order to prevent or decrease the severity of bruising. Patients should stop using blood thinners if possible, take their prescribed medication (antibiotics and antivirals), and make arrangements for transportation home.
What is the scarring like with cosmetic surgery?
Any surgery leaves a scar. However, we can strategically place scars for optimal healing and minimal scarring. The face in particular scars the least. Facial skin regenerates quickly because of high blood flow, and we can hide the scar in its folds and curvatures.
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