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Steps in Cosmetic Surgery: Dissection

August 29th, 2012

Step 2: Dissection.

Over 1.5 million cosmetic surgeries were performed in the US last year according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.  Let’s continue my series about the four basic universal steps in performing these elective cosmetic surgery procedures.  The next step in the surgery after the incision has been made is to do the dissection.   Once the incision is made and the skin has been divided, access to the underlying tissues is possible.   Some degree of dissection is necessary to proceed with the next step of surgery.   Dissection is simply the division or separation of underlying structures in order to facilitate the proper cosmetic change.  

There are essentially two ways to accomplish this step.   Either a combination of skin and fat is released or skin, fat and muscle are released.   This choice depends on the type of cosmetic surgery being performed.   For example, liposuction releases skin and fat from the underlying fat and muscle.   Breast enlargement surgery releases skin, fat, breast tissue and muscle from ribs and muscle in order to properly place the implant.

Please check back next time for more of this series.

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4 Steps for Cosmetic Surgery: Let’s Begin

August 23rd, 2012

13.8 million people had  surgery cosmetic plastic surgery procedures in the United States in 2011, according to he American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS). For all of the procedures involving actual surgery, these four universal steps are followed.  In this series, I will describe each of the steps in doing cosmetic surgery.  Let’s start at the beginning.

Step 1: Skin Incision.

The first step in all cosmetic surgery is to cut the skin.   Whenever the skin is incised through its full thickness, a permanent scar is left.  By permanent, I mean the scar will never completely go away, but as cosmetic surgeons, we are trained in ways to minimize the appearance of scars.  So, before the surgery starts, a surgical plan is designed and typically drawn on the skin, similar to the diagram of a football play you might have seen on TV.  Careful placement and design of the incision are crucial steps to minimize leaving a visible scar, which will continue to fade substantially with time.

This initial surgical plan represents the aesthetic design aspect that is the cornerstone of all cosmetic plastic surgery.   Of course, with purely elective cosmetic surgery, I have the luxury of time to plan and execute an aesthetic design.   This is not always the case in a hospital setting when critical surgery is necessary.

Please check back next time for Part 2 of this series.  

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