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Dec 30, 2007

Nip and tuck

FIFTY years ago, you had to do it in secret – the subject was considered taboo. Eventually, the rich and the famous took the lead and elected cosmetic surgery as somewhat of a prerequisite to all the glory.

Today, seated at a nook in Delicious, you’ll hear bits and pieces about who’s had their latest rendezvous with their own not-so-hunky version of Dr Troy for a little nip and tuck.

While there are no current figures released by our Health Ministry to depict how many cosmetic surgery fanatics are in your neighbourhood, the mushrooming of many institutions and centres that offer such services speak volumes. The trend has been building up a storm in recent years.

Still, with the notion of getting an extreme makeover becoming accepted and even encouraged in some circles, there is little said and a lot left uncertain about cosmetic surgery, or at least what’s on offer in and about town.

The bold and the beautiful

The resolution to undergo any type of cosmetic surgery is deeply personal. Unlike other necessary surgeries, patients are often driven to consider cosmetic surgery from a combination of social and emotional factors.

Admit it or not, our body images are in part shaped by society and cued from Tinsletown beauties. But that should not be your sole motivation.

Gauging from my clientele, it is evident that those who choose cosmetic surgery come from the professional, ambitious, go-getter types. This class of people are open, well-versed and constantly looking to better themselves, whether work-wise or even, in this sense, physically.

Cosmetic surgery does, in more ways than one, enhance self-esteem and confidence, and in turn, magnifying the potential to succeed.

The misconception is that those who have an inferiority complex and are insecure about themselves are the ones who opt for cosmetic surgery. Such a person, who lacks confidence, in fact finds it very difficult to ask for help. She ends up just hiding in the closet struggling with her problem.

There is a wide array of treatments which women and men choose; tiny tucks and snips, BTAs, fillers, injectibles and lasers to full-blown face lifts. Some of the more popular types are liposuction, dermabrasion, chemical peels and laser facials.

There are many other forms of cosmetic surgery, including variations and complements of the above.

Minimally surgical and invasive procedures are the growing trend. Mostly popular because there is minimal downtime, they were concocted to complement the urban woman who is constantly out and about in the social scene with little time to spare sitting indoors recovering.

These procedures usually have a mere 24-hour downtime, leaving no scars due to advanced technology. Due to the minimal downtime, these procedures are gaining in popularity here.

Modern day lipos insert small cannulas and use laser or ultrasoundassisted lipoplasty (UAL) so that no major cut is needed. - AFP
Liposuction

Liposuctions, or lipos, have been extremely popular in the past. However, there is a risk of fatalities due to anaesthetic risks, pulmonary disorders, strokes, hypertension and blood clots.

Liposuctions in general are a method of which to improve the body shape by removing fat deposits with a tube and vacuum device. Favourite spots for liposuction include chin, cheeks, neck, upper arms, abdomen, buttocks and thighs.

Modern day lipos insert small cannulas and use laser or ultrasound-assisted lipoplasty (UAL) so that no major cut is needed. UAL is a new technique in which a laser or ultrasound probe is inserted beneath the skin to “liquify” the fat before it is suctioned.

This lipo method, compounded with non-surgical skin tightening, yield the same results as your traditional tummy tuck, and has less risks, scarring and down time.

With laser lipos, there is even a lesser chance of severe pain, inflammation or bumpiness on the surface. The laser also burns the fat ends that get coagulated, so no bleeding and less bruising occurs.

The misconception is that lipos are for weight loss. This is the wrong approach to lipos. In fact, patients who are seriously overweight are prone to heart attacks and are at a very high risk when doing a large lipo.

Your consultation with your doctor must begin with measuring certain related qualities like metabolism, fitness and lifestyle. If you are tipping the scales dangerously, the right way to begin your lipo is to down-size first. This brings down the risks by a large margin.

By just doing a lipo, and leaving the situation as is, you may be at risk of underlying medical problems. Remember, slimming is an overall issue, not just about a tummy tuck. If you want to slim down, you should be yielding results in every area of your body and not just in one section, like your tummy.

Slimming

Every body is different and tailor-made programmes must be designed to suit the different needs of the individual who wants to slim down.

Your activity levels, habits, body type, hormonal make-up, metabolic rate, blood pressure, age and sex must be taken into account.

Then comes the measurement of your visceral fat, which surrounds your internal organs like the heart and spleen, and subcutaneous fats, which are under the skin.

Psychological issues, like perceptions about weight, must be explored as well. A proper consultation should result in unique treatments for each patient, ultimately with safety being the main consideration.

Your slimming prescription must be sensible and fashioned to your environment, energy, expenditure, work and hobbies. Never compromise your health. Continuous monitoring with your healthcare practitioner is also important in case of adverse reactions.

Your body must adjust and be able to adopt to its new found metabolism. Coupled with your slimming regime, there must be a sensible diet, nutritional programme, fitness prescription, activity pattern and positive motivation. The key here is to move fats, tone and preserve muscle.

Ultrasound machines can be used to break down the fats. This works from within and eliminates the fats inside. Injectibles, unipolar and radio frequency devices are other methods used to improve blood and lymphatic circulation, help metabolising fats and lymphatic drainage, dissolving fats and opening up blood channels to help the slimming process.

What matters most are the long-term effects. Internally, this is measured by how much fats don’t actually come back. You goal should be to get rid of the stubborn fats once and for all and keep them at bay forever.

Botox

Botox and Dysport are actually brands for what is actually Botulinum Toxin Type A (BTA), a neurotoxin.

These two brands are some of the more popular BTAs and are FDA approved. Stay away from places that offer “Botox-like treatments”. The last thing you want is a botched job that is irreparable.

Botox is one of the more popular brands, and is in actual fact not the name of the procedure.

The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) ranked Botox treatments as the most popular physician-administered aesthetic procedure in the United States for the fourth year in a row.

BTA treatments are not lifting treatments. The lines that appear between your brows (glabellar lines), smile lines or crow’s feet actually result from muscle movement like frowning and squinting, and is compounded by ageing.

How BTA works is it freezes the muscles. What simply happens then is your muscles relax and don’t bunch up as before.

This treatment is approved as a temporary measure for moderate to severe lines in people ages 18 to 65.

BTA treatments are subject-dependant and work best to ease dynamic crinkles and wrinkles. Most BTA-aficionados take a jab every four to six months.

The dosage administered is important and this is a very technical procedure that requires an expert’s touch. This is measured based on face size, age and action of muscle.

Wrong administration can result in temporary upsets like the “freeze face”. When the dosage tracks, it can affect other areas like your mouth and lips, making them droopy-like.

BTAs are very popular even amongst men. Healthwise, there is no long-term risk if you go with an FDA-approved product and expertise. Patients need to be vigilant and take a long hard look at the bottle from which they’re being treated.

Dermabrasion

When you hear the girl seated next door say “sandpaper effect”, you have to know she’s talking about dermabrasions. This procedure is the mechanical scraping of the top layers of the skin using a high-speed rotary wheel.

Micro dermabrasion is practised a lot locally using a crystal or diamond tip.

The debris and irregularities like dead skin cells on the surface of the skin are removed. This includes blackheads and whiteheads.

What you must know is that Asian skin is different from Western skin. Asian skin has more melanin, is more sensitive and is acne prone. The surface of the skin cannot be scraped too much. Scraping too much can be damaging.

This treatment is purely for the surface of your skin.

It may work to treat your scars but you don’t want to just touch the tip of the iceberg. Your problems may come back in due time.

There are better ways to treat your skin from the inside out. Skin tightening, BTA or fillers for example, can come before a dermabrasion. What the dermabrasion does is it softens the sharp edges as a finishing touch.

Dermabrasions also work well when you want to revitalise your skin. It cleans up the skin, prepping it for a nutritious treatment like vitamin C or oxygen treatment.

When dead skin cells are removed from the surface, the skin becomes more open to take in these vitamins.

There is little to minimal downtime from this treatment, depending on the patient.

Usually it takes just two to three days for the skin to return to normal.

Facials

Gone are the days where a simple cream or a basic cleanse, tone and moisturise facial is all that is needed.

Today, these are merely pampering treatments, not healing.

With cosmetic surgery inventions, deeper work can be done using technologies to penetrate the skin, especially problematic types like acne or ageing skin. There is the Laser Facial Resurfacing, which smoothens the face and fine wrinkles using a carbon dioxide laser device that treats damaged skin by the layer. It can also soften lines around the eyes and mouth, as well as minimise facial scars and pigmented areas.

Lasers are monochromatic and work only on one thing at a time. Once again, you need a well-versed professional. Different levels of the laser have different functions that are very individualistic and powerful.

There is the also the rather popular chemical peel, which restores wrinkled, blemished, unevenly pigmented or sun-damaged skin, using a chemical solution to peel away the skin’s top layer.

This works best on fair or leathery skin with superficial problems.

Get real

Before you consider cosmetic treatments, make sure that the person treating you is a physician and a professional in his or her field. The place that you opt to receive your treatment must be licensed, have a proper set-up, equipment and complete resources.

Too many people opt for the easy or cheap method, only having to seek treatment after. Sometimes the damage is irreparable and can stain the person not just financially but physically, emotionally and mentally.

Essentially, successful cosmetic surgery results are dependent on the communication between you and your practitioner.

Make sure that you feel absolutely comfortable with your doctor, and you can communicate openly and honestly.


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3 comments:

Arige Prakash said...

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dhana said...

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dhana said...

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