New device could minimise cosmetic surgery scarring

cosmetic surgery scarring

All cosmetic surgery procedures entail making incisions in the skin, which means that scarring is always a question that patients ask during their consultation. Understanding the nature of scars patients will be left with, and what they can do to help them heal, is an important part of the discussion that will take part between the plastic surgeon and the patient.

Understanding cosmetic surgery scars

Firstly, to understand more about scarring we need to understand more about the skin. In the simplest terms, it is made up of two key layers, the epidermis and the dermis. The epidermis is the top level, and if this is damaged in any way then a naturally-occurring component called collagen helps the skin to fuse back together.

The dermis is a deeper layer underneath the skin, which contains nerve endings, blood vessels and thicker tissue. If an incision is made through the dermis then it takes much longer to heal and there is a greater risk of visible scarring afterwards.

No two cases are the same

A good cosmetic surgeon will plan the procedure carefully to ensure that any incisions made are neat, as small as possible and placed in the optimal position. From a surgical perspective, this will give the scar the best chance of healing and fading in time. The other elements are a bit harder to predict, as how well a scar forms and heals is heavily influenced by the patient’s own healing response and how healthy they are. Some people’s skin heals faster due to high levels of collagen and a good blood supply, others find it takes longer and the scar is more visible.

A new device could now help with cosmetic surgery scarring

Researchers in the US have developed a new tool which could potentially help reduce scarring left from cosmetic surgery procedures. It is well known that the skin is made up of lines of cells, which stretch effectively in one direction, and not in the other. In simple terms, it is like cutting into a steak – if you cut along the grain then it is much easier to cut compared with cutting through it, crossing the lines. The same principle is true for the way the skin is made up.

Surgeons use these lines to plan where to make incisions, as the researchers explain, “if you make incisions across the direction that collagen is aligned, the risk of keloid scar formation (raised scars that can grow larger than the original injury) is increased. Cut along the direction of the aligned collagen and wounds heal better and produce less scarring.”

Until now, knowledge of exactly where the lines fall has been limited; “surgeons currently use either skin tension line maps (of which there are many, and often different) or manual manipulation to find the local orientation of skin tension. Manual manipulation is often inaccurate, and our research demonstrates that skin tension line directions differ between people – so maps are only approximate.”

With this knowledge in mind, researchers have developed a device which quickly scans the skin and enables surgeons to know exactly where the tension lines fall. This is likely to have a significant impact on how well an incision can be made and it will give the body the best possible chance of healing effectively from a surgical incision.

During your cosmetic surgery consultation, potential scarring from your procedure will be discussed in depth as well as advice given on how best to speed up the healing process and minimise scarring. To arrange your consultation at our central London cosmetic surgery clinic, call 020 7118 6887.

Will I be left with visible labiaplasty scars?

labiaplasty scars

It is important to be mentally prepared ahead of any cosmetic surgery procedure, and part of that involves understanding what the area will look like once the surgery has been completed and the body has fully healed. An important pre-surgery question that patients should be asking their surgeon about is the amount of scarring that will be left after the surgical site has healed, so we explore what the answer is for patients who are choosing to have a labiaplasty.

Small operation, low risk of visible labiaplasty scars

The good news is that compared with some of the more invasive or larger-scale operations, a labiaplasty is a small, quick procedure so the risk of scarring is small. The incisions that are required are often very small, so the body does not need to work excessively hard to heal from a labiaplasty operation.

Two different surgical approaches

It is important to understand that there are two ways that surgeons can perform labiaplasty operations, and the healing for these is slightly different. Some will use a straight line incision, commonly known as a trim labiaplasty, which means that the scar is around the edge of the labia. The other technique is known as a wedge approach, which leaves a scar through the centre of the labia and a little bit to the side. Talk to your surgeon fully at the consultation stage to ensure you understand which approach is best for you and how you can expect the area to look afterwards.

Time is a great healer

Over time, the scars should fade so they are almost unnoticeable – even to you. Although they will be red to begin with, over time the redness fades and the scars become white. You would have to really scrutinise the area to see the scars.

If you’re worried about labiaplasty scars…

If you are concerned about the appearance of scars following your operation then the first thing you can do is to apply hypoallergenic lotion or creams that are designed to help scars fade/heal. Scar tissue takes a while to fully mature so you could expect that the scars will continue to fade over the course of the first year. If you have any concerns though, don’t hesitate to get back in touch with your plastic surgeon to get an expert opinion on how quickly and effectively the area is healing.

Top 5 questions to ask at your labiaplasty consultation

London labiaplasty consultation

All cosmetic surgery procedures begin with a consultation and this is an important opportunity for you to ask plenty of questions. The best advice is to come to your consultation fully prepared, having read around the subject, spoken to friends and/or family and prepared a list of questions.

The list is a good idea because it is very easy to forget your questions once you get into the consultation and begin talking about all the different aspects of your chosen procedure. For patients who are considering this surgery, here are some of the most commonly asked questions at the labiaplasty consultation.

Labiaplasty consultation questions: Is this operation right for me?

Ultimately, only you can really decide whether or not a labiaplasty is the right thing for you, but there are two things that your plastic surgeon will want to assess before agreeing to undertake the surgery. Firstly, a physical assessment will be done to check the current state of the labia and to check the elasticity of the skin surrounding it. This is important to establish that patients will likely heal as required and that their skin will be able to accommodate the changes.

Secondly, they will wish to undertake a check whether you’re approaching surgery with the appropriate outlook. This will involve checking the reasons you wish to have the operation, your expectations of the area once it is done and your expectations about how you think it will make you feel afterwards.

Labiaplasty consultation questions: How long will it take to recover?

A labiaplasty is a relatively simple surgical procedure an as long as you are prepared to follow the aftercare instructions carefully you should expect to heal fully in a few weeks. Bruising and swelling usually heals within a week or two. It is important to note that given how delicate the area is you should refrain from having sex for several weeks to give the area enough time to heal fully.

Labiaplasty consultation questions: How much experience do you have in performing this procedure?

Don’t be afraid to probe your plastic surgeon about their experience; they should be happy to reassure you and to detail how many procedures of this type they perform a year.

Labiaplasty consultation questions: Will I be left with scars afterwards?

This is an important thing to discuss but you would expect to hear that scarring will be minimal. Any operation requiring an incision will leave some form of scar tissue, but the incisions made for a labiaplasty are minimal and the skin tends to heal quickly and effectively.

Labiaplasty consultation questions: What type of anaesthesia is used?

This is a useful discussion to have to ensure you are prepared for what will happen on the day. Typically, a local anaesthetic (one that is administered directly to the area rather than the patient being put to sleep) is used as the area that is being operated on is small and external.

If you have further questions, call 020 7118 6887 to arrange aconsultation at Clarence Clinic.

The positive benefits of a labiaplasty

labiaplasty benefits

A labiaplasty is a relatively simple surgical procedure whereby a woman’s labia is reduced in size, tightened up or altered in appearance. It is a procedure that has been growing in popularity in recent years for a number of reasons including ageing, pregnancy or a general dislike of the natural size or shape of the labia. There are a number of benefits that women see in this procedure and here we look at some of the most common ones.

Labiaplasty benefits: improved self-confidence

Large labia lips can cause some women embarrassment. For some, there is a concern that the labia can be seen through swimwear or tight-fitting clothing, and this can leave some women feeling uncomfortable with their appearance.

Labiaplasty benefits: more positive sexual experiences

Generally speaking, medical experts do not agree that a labiaplasty helps improve sexual intercourse; however, if your labia is particularly elongated then it may be causing discomfort during sex. For some women who have struggled with discomfort during intimate relations, realising that a simple procedure like this can help is really reassuring.

Labiaplasty benefits: improved personal hygiene

A smaller or shortened labia is easier to keep fresh and clean and may leave women feeling that it is easier to achieve good personal health. This is especially true for women who have a heavier frame or who are carrying excess weight.

Labiaplasty benefits: pain relief

A larger labia can cause pain and discomfort during sport and exercise, particularly pursuits such as horse riding, cycling and other activities which involves sitting on hard surfaces. Reducing the size and shape of the labia can help remove this problem and can mean that women can enjoy leisure and sporting activities without feeling uncomfortable.

Your next steps

If you are concerned at all about how your labia looks and feels and any of these concerns resonate with your experience, then it might be time to book an appointment to talk to an expert about options for a labiaplasty.

This operation is typically done as an outpatient procedure and although it is a particularly delicate and sensitive area, recovery is usually fast. Your cosmetic surgeon will be able to guide you through the best way to approach recovery to optimise the chances of a fast healing process.

What are the risks of a labiaplasty?

labiaplasty risks

It is important for patients to understand the risks associated with any cosmetic procedure, some of which will be relatively safe while others carry significant risk. For those considering a labiaplasty, this procedure sits at the relatively safe end of the spectrum, as it is considered one of the simplest and safest surgical cosmetic procedures that women can undertake. This means that those opting for this type of operation tend to report high satisfaction with their surgery following the initial period of recovery.

Nevertheless, as no cosmetic procedure is 100% risk-free, here we outline the risks that are associated with choosing to have a labiaplasty.

Labiaplasty risks: problems with healing 

As you might expect, for any operation whereby incisions are made, there is always going to be a risk that the wound fails to heal, and can bleed excessively, struggle to heal or become infected. This area of the body benefits from a rich blood supply which means that incisions made during the labiaplasty usually heal extremely quickly and leave very little scarring.

Post-operatively, patients are given information on how best to aid their recovery, and some clear dos and don’ts. Following these guidelines is the easiest way to ensure you’re minimising your own risk, but sometimes you will just be unlucky. There are always going to be certain pockets of the population who are naturally at greater risk compared with others, for example, those who smoke are more likely to have problems when recovering/healing compared with non-smokers.

Labiaplasty risks: pain and discomfort

Some patients report that there is discomfort at the site of the incisions, although this is rarely a problem. Scarring from a labiaplasty is minimal as incisions are usually very small.

Labiaplasty risks: loss of sensation or numbness in the area

This is a surprisingly common side effect for a wide number of operations as anything that requires an incision runs the risk of causing a certain amount of nerve damage. For many operations, even major surgery, this loss of sensation is usually temporary. As the wound and nerves heal over time, sensation will return. Any numbness following a labiaplasty will probably be short term and minimal.

Trust the professionals – only the professionals

It is important to remember that operations such as the labiaplasty are only low risk when they are carried out by fully trained and regulated professionals. It is imperative that you make sure that you only ever consider using a qualified cosmetic surgeon, not a clinic or alternative environment which promises something cheaper or quicker, but who are not bona fide medical professionals.

How best to recover from a labiaplasty

labiaplasty recovery

The labiaplasty procedure is fast growing in popularity, but many women who are interested in finding out more about what it entails are naturally concerned with the recovery process after such intimate surgery.

During a labiaplasty, also known as a labial reduction, our plastic surgeon will reshape and/or resize the appearance of the inner labia or labia minora. It is typically performed under a short general anaesthetic as a day case so you will be discharged the same day all being well. Here’s a general guide to your recovery process once you return home, although every patient can have a slightly different experience.

Labiaplasty recovery: immediately after surgery

In the first few days after surgery, you should experience some mild pain and discomfort, but this should be easily controlled by the over-the-counter pain medication. There will also be moderate swelling and bruising to the area.

One side might feel more swollen than the other and you may experience discomfort when urinating, but this shouldn’t be a cause for concern. You may see ‘spotting’ which is blood from the incisions – a small amount of spotting immediately afterwards is fine, but excessive or continual bleeding isn’t and you should get in touch with the clinic immediately.

Our advice at Clarence Clinic is to rest well during those first two to three days and minimise walking.

Labiaplasty recovery: one to two weeks after surgery

Most patients find that they no longer require pain medication now and although there may still be some swelling and bruising, you should be able to resume normal physical activity and can return to work if you don’t have a particularly strenuous job.

The area may feel itchy as the incisions heal but it is essential that you don’t rub or scratch the area and you may want to use a cold compress to ease any discomfort, although don’t apply ice directly to your skin. We also advise you to wear clothes and underwear that is loose fitting for the first few weeks.

Labiaplasty recovery: up to a month after surgery

Our plastic surgeon uses dissolvable stitches and these should have all dissolved. You’ll have been seen by our plastic surgeon for a check-up to ensure all is healing well and he can advise you on when you can resume more active exercise.

Labiaplasty recovery: six weeks after surgery and onwards

You should be almost fully healed at this point and you can resume sexual intercourse and use tampons safely. By four to six months, all swelling and bruising will have completely disappeared and you can see the final results. Any scarring is usually well hidden in the naturally-occurring folds and creases.

If you have any further questions about the labiaplasty procedure, please call us on 020 7118 6887 to arrange a consultation.

RealSelf release 2018 aesthetics trend including most researched cosmetic surgery ops

most researched cosmetic surgery procedures

Leading cosmetic surgery review site RealSelf has released its round-up of the most researched procedures, both surgical and non-surgical, in 2018 and also made some predictions for upcoming trends. Non-surgical aesthetic treatments are continuing to grow in popularity but interest in cosmetic surgery remains high.

Here, we take a look at the most researched cosmetic surgery ops last year:

#1 Breast Augmentation

As always, breast augmentation with implants remains the most popular cosmetic surgery procedure both in the UK and worldwide. It appeals to a wide range of women – from younger women who have always been dissatisfied with their breast size to older women that have seen a loss of volume after pregnancy, breastfeeding or weight fluctuations.

#2 Tummy Tuck

The tummy tuck or abdominoplasty remains a highly popular procedure because, despite the surge in interest in non-surgical fat reduction treatments, only a surgical procedure can remove sagging, excess skin or tighten abdominal muscles that have become lax because of weight gain or pregnancy.

#3 Brazilian Butt Lift

It’s probably no surprise that the Brazilian Butt Lift, a relatively ‘new’ procedure, is so high on the list of most researched cosmetic surgery ops. On the one hand, we have Instagram and reality stars flaunting a body shape only achievable through surgery and, on the other, 2018 saw a number of stories of women dying after undergoing a Brazilian Butt Lift at a plastic surgery clinic abroad. Our advice is to consult a properly trained, qualified and experienced plastic surgeon as they will be able to advise you on whether this is an appropriate procedure for you as well as perform the procedure safely.

#4 Rhinoplasty

A rhinoplasty procedure can reshape or resize your nose so it is more in balance with your other facial features. Non-surgical nose reshaping using dermal fillers is becoming very popular although many patients decide afterwards that they’d like to undergo rhinoplasty surgery to produce a permanent enhancement. A surgical procedure can also improve nasal function which a non-surgical procedure can’t.

#5 Liposuction

Despite the growth in ‘minimally invasive’ fat reduction procedure such as cryolipolysis, liposuction still remains popular. Non-surgical alternatives to liposuction work by destroying the fat cells and then relying on the body’s natural elimination processes, whereas during liposuction, the fat is removed through a suction device. There are more potential risks associated with liposuction, but it can remove more fat in one session. The potential benefits and risks of liposuction will be discussed in full during your consultation. 

#6 Eyelid Surgery

Known as a blepharoplasty, an eyelid lift can remove sagging, excess skin on either the upper or lower lid as well as address bulges of fatty tissue below the eye. The eyes are often the first area of the face to show the signs of ageing and a blepharoplasty remains a fantastically effective facial rejuvenation procedure.

#7 Breast Reduction

For women suffering from overly large breasts for their frame, a breast reduction can have a hugely positive impact on quality of life. During the procedure, excess breast tissue will be removed and the breasts will be reshaped and repositioned. The nipples can also be repositioned on the breasts and made smaller if required. 

#8 Mommy Makeover

A Mommy Makeover is a term popularised by the media to cover cosmetic surgery procedures to improve the appearance of the body after pregnancy and breastfeeding. Typically, it involves a breast lift and a tummy tuck and our plastic surgeon can advise you on whether this is the appropriate combination of procedures to achieve the improvement you’re hoping for.

#9 Facelift

For men and women with mild to moderate facial ageing, non-surgical aesthetic treatments, such as injectables or laser skin rejuvenation, can be a fantastic way to target lines and wrinkles and restore volume loss. However, for patients that have more advanced ageing concerns, a facelift will often be the best option.

#10 Breast Lift

The last procedure on the list is another cosmetic breast surgery procedure. The breast lift or mastopexy addresses sagging or ptosis of the breasts and your surgeon will reshape and reposition the breasts to produce a more youthful and pert appearance.

If you’d like to learn more about any of these cosmetic surgery procedures, call us on 020 7118 6887 to arrange a consultation.

Nearly 1,000 complaints about botched aesthetic procedures lodged last year

facial fillers

According to a new report published by HuffPost UK, in the past year alone there have been over one thousand complaints made in the UK as a result of Botox and filler treatments that have caused problems for patients who have opted for these procedures.

The results have been complied by an organisation called Save Face, which is the largest register of accredited non-surgical practitioners in the UK. Their findings suggest that the most common problem patients have been left with is infections, but patients have also reported unexpected lumps and bumps where a smooth finish was expected, and also bruising and swelling that was far in excess of what was expected.

This worrying trend is reflective of the fact that in the midst of growing popularity for non-surgical procedures such as Botox, chemical peels and facial fillers, this industry has been plagued with non-regulated practitioners, unethical advertising and recovery claims that are simply not backed by science.

Jackie Doyle-Price, who is a Conservative Party Health Minister, shared her thoughts on this growing issue: “Too often people are duped by cowboys who are providing dodgy cosmetic procedures, with false promises about results and recovery times. The truth is, if not undertaken in a reputable place, by a trained professional, these procedures can be dangerous and potentially cause life-threatening complications.”

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is

There is a great deal of spurious advertising of non-surgical procedures, some which offer very quick ‘lunchbreak’ offers, others that promise to have you looking like the stars following a startling quick recovery period. The advice is to be wary of these claims, and spend time researching a reputable practitioner for even the least invasive of procedures.

If a procedure is not carried out by a regulated professional, then you have no assurance that the products or machines they are using are of a good quality, nor do you know if they have undergone the appropriate training to be able to properly carry out the procedures they offer.

An example of this is facial filler injections. These are really popular at the moment, with consumers flooded with opportunities of where to obtain these from, and a seemingly endless line of celebrities who are benefitting from the results. The market for facial fillers is currently unregulated, which means that any high street ‘clinic’ can offer these, and the dangers to consumers are widespread. UK law firm Pennington Manches explains that “incorrect placement of facial fillers can cause swelling, pain, hard lumps beneath the skin and, when injected into the retinal artery, can even cause blindness and strokes. If fillers are injected into blood vessels or too much filler is injected around blood vessels, it can cause compression which stops the blood flow to surrounding tissue and causes the cells to die.”

In light of the growth of non-surgical cosmetic offers, it is important that consumers are not swayed by offers, promotions and promises that can lead them to make decisions that could leave them at risk. When researching where to choose for non-surgical procedures, the amount of care and attention given to a practitioner’s credentials, training, experience and skill needs to be aligned with the care you would take if you were opting for a surgical procedure.

Latest global cosmetic surgery statistics released

cosmetic surgery statistics

We are seeing a year on year upwards trend in the number of consumers who are opting for cosmetic surgery procedures, and this year is no exception. New figures that have been published by the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ISAPS) show that there has been another global increase in uptake of cosmetic surgery.

The results have been compiled from a survey distributed to around 35,000 plastic surgeons held within the ISAPS’ database and is the only global study of its kind currently undertaken.

Cosmetic surgery procedures maintaining popularity

Interestingly, the procedures that top the ranks in terms of overall uptake remain consistent, with breast augmentation retaining the top spot, liposuction in second place and eyelid surgery coming in third. Reflecting the growing interest in non-surgical procedures, facial injectables such as Botox remain the most sought-after temporary procedure.

Growing in popularity

Vaginal procedures continue to see a marked increase in interest, with the report indicating that, “in 2017, Vaginal Rejuvenation (including Labiaplasty) showed the largest increase in the number of procedures from 2016, with a 23% increase.”

This is also a trend seen here in the UK, with surgeons reporting a continued interest in labiaplasty procedures each year. This is a relatively newer cosmetic surgery procedure, one that is designed to change the size, shape and aesthetics of the labia. this could mean that it improves the overall symmetry of the labia, reduces it in size or removes darker coloured skin from the area. This was previously recommended if the labia were causing women discomfort, but increasingly is being sought for cosmetic reasons.

Who is driving these cosmetic surgery trends?

The countries with the greatest share of the cosmetic surgery industry are, in order:

  1. USA
  2. Brazil
  3. Japan
  4. Mexico
  5. Italy

Across these five countries, they account for a whopping 38.4% of the total market share. Interestingly, women still account for over three-quarters of the global demand for cosmetic surgery but the uptake from men is continuing to grow each year. Men are typically seeking different types of procedures, compared with women, in fact, the top three procedures requested by men, according to the ISAPS survey data, are eyelid surgery, male breast reduction and nose jobs.

Millennials driving interest in cosmetic surgery, according to new poll

interest in cosmetic surgery

Results from a new online survey conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of RealSelf, have identified that two-fifths of UK adults are considering some form of cosmetic treatment over the next year or so. The poll, which was undertaken amongst a sample of over 1000 adults aged 18 and above, was conducted in July 2018 and focused on the likelihood of wanting cosmetic or non-cosmetic treatments over the course of the next 12 months.

Interestingly, it is millennials (those born after 1980 and before the end of the twentieth century) who are driving this trend, with 62% of survey respondents aged 18 to 34 considering a non-surgical cosmetic procedure in the next 12 months and just under half (44%) considering a surgical operation.

These findings support a growing trend amongst this age group, who have grown up with access to emerging technologies at their fingertips, new ways of approaching cosmetic surgery and greater expectations about what can be done to improve the way they look and feel thanks to what they see in the multitude of media outlets they are engaging with.

Drivers of this level of interest in cosmetic surgery

The key reasons cited for wanting to invest in surgical or non-surgical cosmetic procedures is to help improve self-confidence and improve self-esteem. Others suggest they are very keen to ensure they look as good as they feel or to help shift stubborn or unwanted pockets of fat they are struggling to remove via diet and exercise. Underpinning this enthusiasm are concerns that the results may not deliver against expectations or worse still, may not be what they are hoping for. The cost associated with some types of procedures is also prohibitive for some.

What are the cosmetic surgery trends suggesting?

In terms of non-surgical procedures, the areas of interest identified by this poll are as follows:

  1. Cosmetic dentistry (such as straightening, veneers, whitening)
  2. Laser hair removal
  3. Facial aesthetic treatments

Fillers also continue to be high on the wish list, and Wrinkle Relaxing Injections retain its popularity.

For those wishing to take more permanent steps to achieve the look they are seeking, the top three are:

  1. Tummy tuck
  2. Facelift
  3. Liposuction

Work on the facial region is high on the agenda, with neck and facelifts featuring highly and breast augmentation also creeping into the top five desired procedures.

All of these procedures are available at the Clarence Clinic so if these survey results have further piqued your interest then arrange a consultation to discuss which treatments, if any, are suitable for you and your expectations. It is important to talk in depth to an expert about what you’re expecting and any concerns, fears or challenges you have so that the best treatment for your circumstances can be recommended.