Protect your investment: how to look after your facelift

facelift results
With anything you purchase, the better you look after it, the longer it will last and the principle is true for cosmetic surgery. There are some simple steps that can be taken when you have undergone procedures such as a facelift that will ensure that the work you have had done will last for as long as possible. This handy checklist gives a few easy hints and tips for how to ensure your facelift will last as long as possible.

Adopt a good skincare regime

Finding a good moisturiser is a great idea and getting a little bit of help from the experts is well worth it. The skincare market is a multi-billion pound industry worldwide, so this means that your choices are extensive. Getting the right balance of retinoids (components that contain vitamin A which helps encourage skin rejuvenation), peptides (these contain amino acids which help construct protein and collagen – the latter helps keep skin looking young and fresh) and antioxidants (certain antioxidants have skin firming credentials) to suit your skin type can make a real difference to the effectiveness of your moisturiser.

Limit sun exposure and take necessary steps to protect your skin from UV

The sun’s rays are one of the main factors that can accelerate the ageing process and make subtle changes to your skin over time. Ensuring that you wear sun cream regularly will help prevent the harmful UV rays getting through. Many foundations and daily moisturisers also contain sun cream these days so can help easily weave this into your morning routine.

Eat a healthy, balanced diet

Making sure that you look after the inside of your body as well as the outside can have a big effect on how well conditioned your skin is. Ensuring that your diet is rich with vitamins and minerals is important for ensuring your skin has all the nutrients it needs to stay nourished and supple, which will help keep it looking firm and youthful for longer. Getting at least five portions of fruit and vegetables per day will keep your vitamin intake high and also look for foods that are rich in antioxidants.

It’s not just what you should eat but also what you shouldn’t be consuming. In recent years, there have been more and more studies that have linked sugar and accelerated ageing. In a process known as glycation, sugar bonds with the proteins in your body, hardening collagen and elastin and slowing down further production. All of this means your skin becomes less elastic and wrinkles start to appear.

Avoid negative lifestyle choices

Your life choices can also impact on the overall condition of your skin and there are some big culprits that can affect the longevity of a procedure like a facelift. Gaining weight (and then losing it again) affects your skin’s natural elasticity and can affect the work done by a facelift – it can essentially undo the good work done by the surgeon. Poor sleep patterns and stress also have an impact on skin quality

However, the biggest enemy to preserving youth when it comes to facial ageing is smoking. Nicotine in cigarettes causes the blood vessels in the upper layers of your skin to constrict, slowing down blood flow and reducing the amounts of oxygen and nutrients that are being delivered to the dermis. The chemicals in cigarettes damage collagen and elastin which provide skin elasticity and, furthermore, repeatedly pursing your lips when inhaling gives you those awful wrinkles around your mouth. So if you’re a smoker, consider cutting down or quitting.

When you undergo a facelift with Mr Paul Tulley at the Clarence Clinic, giving up smoking before and in the post-surgery healing period is essential, so why don’t you take the opportunity to quit the habit for good.

Half of all women want to ‘turn back the clock’ and male cosmetic surgery on the rise

male cosmetic surgery growth

Market research is pivotal across all industries to ensure that they keep up with the expectations, needs and wants of the current and prospective customers. The world of cosmetic surgery is no different, and research is constantly helping the industry ensure it is keeping up to date with the latest trends and requirements.

Women not keen to simply accept the ageing process

A recent survey asked 2,000 people what their motivations were for undergoing cosmetic surgery and found that half of the women who took part in the survey claimed they wished to ‘turn back the clock’ to their youth – with many citing their 20s as the golden era that they wished to be able to return to, or replicate, in terms of their appearance.

Women reportedly found that in their mid-late forties they felt that their appearance was letting them down, and they didn’t receive the same interest or attention from the opposite sex as they once had.

Male cosmetic surgery growth

Whereas women were traditionally more likely to take the bull by the horns and do something about this (according to the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, 91% of plastic surgery procedures UK in 2017 were for women), men are starting to dabble in this industry more and more, and there has been a marked increase in the amount of interest men have shown in different cosmetic surgery in recent years with figures for male cosmetic surgery procedures going up in the UK.

In the US, this growth is even more marked particularly in the field of body contouring procedures. Statistics show that liposuction for men was up 23%, tummy tucks up 12% and male breast reductions have increased by 30% over the previous year.

With so many people not prepared to ‘age gracefully’, it is clear to see why the cosmetic surgery industry is booming. Not only that, there really is something for everyone. Procedures can start from something extremely simple, for example, some of the non-surgical, temporary fixes can be done in a less than an hour, whereas there is a whole range of cosmetic surgery that can have life-altering benefits for a patient’s self-confidence.

How to minimise the risk in cosmetic surgery

minimising cosmetic surgery risk

The vast majority of cosmetic surgery procedures are elective – people have chosen to have them rather than require them due a genuine medical need. They are growing in popularity and have been for many years and so many of these procedures are now regarded as commonplace. It can sometimes be easy to forget that there are serious risks associated with any surgical procedure, cosmetic or not.

Any form of medical or surgical intervention carries risks. Depending on the nature of the procedure, these can be small, or they can be significant, but whatever the risks are, it is important that patients fully understand them before making the decision to go ahead. But, is it possible to minimise these risks?

Minimising cosmetic surgery risk: cosmetic surgeon choice

Who you choose to carry out your surgery is the most significant way you can mitigate potential risks.

There are a number of ways that you can be reassured by the calibre of the plastic surgeon you are thinking of choosing:

  1. Trust recommendations. Do you know someone else who has undergone a similar operation with the same surgeon? Can you access independent, up-to-date reviews of other patients’ experiences? Listening to the experience of others is really important to ensure you are choosing the right practitioner for you.
  2. Check the surgeon’s credentials. In the UK, cosmetic surgery (like any field of medical practice) is heavily regulated, and this information is publicly available. The General Medical Council (GMC) holds a database of registered plastic surgeons, so check that your surgeon is listed on this register. They should also be a member of one of the leading professional associations for plastic/cosmetic surgeons in the UK, such as the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) or the British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery (BAPRAS).
  3. Check on their level of experience. It is also worth asking how many times they have performed this particular operation before. There is no golden rule for how many previous examples is ‘sufficient’, but this type of information helps build a picture of the surgeon’s experience and skill set.

Minimising cosmetic surgery risk: the consultation

The consultation stage is an incredibly important part of the patient journey and key to minimising any possible risks. As well as a comprehensive medical assessment to ensure you are fit for surgery, your cosmetic surgeon will also discuss your motivations for having surgery. If you have unrealistic expectations, then however ‘successful’ the procedure is in the eyes of others, you risk being dissatisfied with the outcome.

They will also give you advice on how best to prepare for surgery; the most important advice will be to give up smoking as this is one of the biggest factors in increased surgical risk during the procedure and in terms of how you heal afterwards.

Minimising cosmetic surgery risk: the recovery period

Finally, the last thing that can be done to help minimise risks sits back with the patient again – and that is to properly follow the aftercare plan. The aftercare is recommended based on the official medical guidance for each procedure, and it will also be customised based on your personal well-being and overall health. Ensure you are fully understand everything you are being asked to undertake and contact your cosmetic surgeon and their team if you have any concerns or questions.

Communication and care are important factors alongside results in positive cosmetic surgery reviews

positive cosmetic surgery reviews

We are all very accustomed to reading, and providing, reviews when we have experienced any form of service. Trip Advisor was one of the first companies to really elevate the importance of showcasing what others thought of the experiences they had paid for and giving others the chance to read firsthand about the pros and cons.

Since then, the prevalence of customer reviews has grown exponentially, and consumers now expect to be able to read reviews from other customers, and regard these as an integral part of the research process when choosing a service provider.

New research study into cosmetic surgery reviews

A new study undertaken ASPS Member Surgeon Dr John Kim of Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and colleagues has taken an original approach toward evaluating cosmetic surgery reviews and the value of online feedback given to cosmetic surgery practices. The study was a ‘content analysis’ exercise which looked at which areas of the cosmetic surgery process featured in the most positive and most negative customer reviews. The results were very interesting and suggest that the outcome of the surgery itself, albeit important, is not the only factor that can leave patient feeling positively or negatively with their experience.

Good customer service is an absolute must

According to analysis undertake by Dr Kim, the dealings that patients (and even prospective patients) have with their surgeons has a huge role to play: “We found that that patients will write negative reviews without ever having had the surgery. It’s not just the aesthetic outcome but also the patient’s interactions with surgeon and staff that provide the impetus for positive or negative reviews.”

Another interesting finding was that those who left the most negative reviews tended to leave much longer reviews. The detail that they included in their review was far more extensive and, subsequently, the overall word count spiralled. This said, good news for the cosmetic surgery industry as a whole, there were significantly more positive reviews (these rating 4 or 5 out of 5 stars) compared with those who were really unhappy (those rating 1 or 2 stars out of 5).

In the most positive reviews, features that were mentioned include (in descending order from most frequently mentioned):

  • cosmetic results
  • good bedside manner
  • friendly/helpful office staff
  • surgeon’s expertise
  • listening to the patient

It’s interesting food for thought that the outcome of the cosmetic procedure, although clearly important, is only one element in a whole host of important factors when people are considering leaving a positive or negative review.

The many uses of anti-wrinkle injections

uses of anti-wrinkle injections

Anti-wrinkle injections have become synonymous with eradicating wrinkles and continues to be the most requested anti-ageing treatment around the world.

Anti-wrinkle injections use a neurotoxic protein that prevents the release of neurotransmitters that cause the muscles to relax and contract. Put simply, when injected it results in temporary paralysis of the muscles below the surface, which then gives a firmer, smoother effect to the appearance of the skin.

Although it is widely used within the cosmetic industry as it is effective and low risk for patients, there are many other uses for anti-wrinkle injections, some of which might surprise you…

Anti-wrinkle injections can help scars to heal

This is an interesting one, as when formed scars can be challenging to treat and can greatly affect people’s self-confidence. The body is very good at healing itself, but as a scar forms, it is often put under pressure from the body’s natural movements, particularly in areas such as the face. Anti-wrinkle injections have the ability to cause temporary paralysis of the target area makes it ideal for helping scars to heal. By creating a paralysed area around the area of trauma, anti-wrinkle injections give the tissue some uninterrupted time to heal, which can speed up the healing process and result in a ‘better’ scar.

New research published in the March issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery evaluated the effectiveness of this use of anti-wrinkle injections. In a clinical trial carried out at a Shanghai University, use of anti-wrinkle injections during the healing of a facial scar was compared to a placebo and the treated scars were lower and narrower than the placebo ones.

Anti-wrinkle injections can help treat hyperhidrosis – overactive sweat glands

Over time, surgeons noticed that patients who were having facial anti-wrinkle injections as an anti-wrinkle treatment were noticing a welcome side effect, they were no longer sweating as much in the areas where the anti-wrinkle injections were administered. The short-term paralysis was affecting the sweat glands as well, which prompted a wave of medical testing to see just how effective anti-wrinkle injections could be as a treatment for hyperhidrosis. Tests provided effective and safe for patients, so anti-wrinkle injections are now used as a treatment for problem areas such as under the arms, on the palms of hands and soles of feet.

It can help prevent teeth grinding

This last one is still in its infancy in terms of research and a clear understanding of how anti-wrinkle injections really help here, but a recent study has shown that injecting this product into the jaws of patients who suffer from the involuntary grinding of their teeth, can reduce the problem.

Teeth grinding often happens overnight and patients regularly don’t realise that they are doing it until a partner becomes aware of the sound or they experience the side effects of nightly grinding. It can be really painful – headaches, jaw ache and damaged teeth can all result from grinding our teeth in our sleep, and the causes of it are usually psychological – often caused by underlying stress.

The ability of anti-wrinkle injections to smooth away lines and wrinkles was originally discovered as a side effect to its initial application to treat muscle spasms and it seems that the applications for this product continue to evolve.

What is the ribbon zone and why should it be the focus of anti-ageing treatment?

facial ageing concerns

Most of us may not have heard of the ‘ribbon zone’ as it is a term that’s been recently created by a Korean skincare brand to denote the area of the face under the eyes, around the cheeks and down the sides of the mouth. This is the area they believe is where most of the signs of facial ageing are located – and, therefore, it is now the focus of different treatments that can help make the effects of ageing less visible.

As we age we lose volume in the midface area and this is the cause of accelerated ageing – flattened cheeks, hollows under the eyes, folds forming between nose and mouth, a downward turn to the mouth and loss of definition on the jawline. This is because over time, fat and collagen cells deplete in number, leaving the skin covering shallower areas. According to researchers, the ribbon zone ‘loses elasticity and plumpness quicker than any other part of the face’ which is why it is prone to showing wrinkles and defects more so than other facial areas.

Anti-ageing creams and regimes may feel like something that many of us will happily embrace as we get much older, however, this new research suggests that the ribbon zone can begin to lose its elasticity from as young as age 30.

How can we best look after the ribbon zone?

There are many creams and moisturisers that can help skin retain moisture, which is a key component for helping preserve your skin’s elasticity and natural buoyancy. Applying creams regularly can help, and there are different creams that can help during the day compared with those that are designed to be applied before bed. Using a day cream that has a sun protection faction (SPF) within it is also advised, as this can help protect against harmful UV rays from the sun which accelerate loss of collagen.

Considering cosmetic surgery alternatives

If you’ve exhausted your creams, lotions and potions and feel that more technical intervention is required to help the appearance of the ribbon zone, there are a variety of options available that are specifically designed to help tackle problems in the ribbon zone.

Facelift – this popular operation focuses on the midface, and it helps reposition tissue, replaces lost volume and produces a more youthful look. The facelift procedure is designed to leave you with the most natural-looking results possible, and the treatment can remove wrinkles, fine lines and spare skin, as well as helping reduce the impact of any lost volume in the cheeks and wider ribbon zone.

Dermal fillers – temporary dermal fillers can restore lost volume as well as fill nasolabial folds (often referred to colloquially as smile or laughter lines) or fill tear troughs.

Muscle relaxing injections – as well as treating dynamic wrinkles in the upper third of the face, muscle relaxing injections can be used to correct a drooping mouth or restore definition in the jawline. Also administered by injection, muscle relaxing injections causes temporary paralysis of the areas under the skin, which can mask the appearance of wrinkles and last for up to four months.

For more information on treatments that can target ageing in the ribbon zone, call us on 020 7118 6887 to arrange a consultation.

The importance of trust in cosmetic surgery

trust in cosmetic surgery

Earlier this month, we saw the 16th Aesthetic & Anti-Aging Medicine World Congress (AMWC) in Monte Carlo, Monaco, which showcases the latest developments in the aesthetic world. Leading aesthetic brand Allergan announced the findings of its global survey into the tricky topic of trust in medical aesthetics.

The survey was completed by 18,360 respondents – comprising 18,000 consumers and 360 medical aesthetics professionals. The survey participants came from 12 different countries, so a variety of perspectives is reflected in this research.

Three-quarters of those interviewed suggest that trust is important when considering having an ‘injectable toxin’ and 61% of practitioners believe that using ‘trustworthy’ products allows them to achieve the best results. However, although the majority of people interviewed wanted to look good, only 14% actually spent time researching products.

The survey reiterates what we have seen a lot of in terms of the decision-making process for cosmetic surgery – the practitioner themselves is the driving force for how trust is gained and maintained. Following that, there is an element of trusting the brands of products that they work with.

We know that it is vital to choose the right cosmetic surgeon for you – so just how can you ensure you get it right?

Run a check on publicly available databases

The General Medical Council (GMC) holds a list of all registered Specialist Plastic Surgeons. These are surgeons who have undertaken specific training in the field of Plastic Surgery. As well as this, there are a number of professional bodies who authorise and regulate medical professionals working in this field, such as the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS).

Practitioners who are registered with these bodies are allowed to display their logo on their website – and if you are in any doubt you can also contact them to double check whether or not your preferred surgeon is bona fide.

Trust those who have experienced them first hand

Recommendations from other patients are important to read and will give you valuable insights about what to expect from the surgeon, the procedure and the aftercare. A number of reviews will no doubt be available on the surgeon’s website, and also on more public forums. You could even ask a surgeon if you can be put in touch with former patients, who might be willing to talk to you privately (assuming they are comfortable to be contacted).

Make sure you’re being given the full picture – if it sounds too good to be true, this could set alarm bells ringing

One of the most important aspects of the doctor/patient relationship is integrity. It is the surgeon’s responsibility to ensure you know all the pros and cons, and risks and rewards, of the surgery you’re considering. If you’re hearing all the good things, and none of the risks, then you may not be in the best position to make a fully informed decision, and it is a sign of a good surgeon if they are giving you the full picture before you progress with any treatment/operation.

More than just aesthetic? Why a tummy tuck can have health benefits you’re not aware of

tummy tuck benefits

It’s no surprise that the tummy tuck remains one of the most popular cosmetic surgery procedures in the UK as a new study has just revealed that its benefits for women extend far the tummy tuck.

In 2016, the cosmetic surgery industry saw a slight dip in the UK, as reported by the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS), yet the tummy tuck was one of the few procedures for women that held strong with a 1% increase on the previous year.

Yo-yo dieting, rapid weight gain and loss and pregnancy can all take their toll on the ability of the stomach muscles and skin to bounce back. Eventually, their natural elasticity will wane, and both the muscles and skin will sag. Diet and exercise can help to a point, but for some, surgery is often the only feasible operation.

What does a tummy tuck entail?

A tummy tuck is a cosmetic surgery procedure that tightens the muscles and removes loose skin and fat from the abdomen so that it appears flat and toned. It has been growing in popularity over recent years and has received a lot of interest due to the marketing of so-called ‘mummy makeovers’, designed to help women look better and feel more confident following childbirth.

 

Mr Paul Tulley will make an incision from hip to hip, low on the abdomen and access the muscle wall that extends up the abdomen. During pregnancy, these muscles separate to accommodate the growing baby and often they do not return to their normal position and women find it impossible to tone their abdomen up post pregnancy. After the stomach muscles have been tightened up, any excess skin can be removed and the belly button moved to a natural position on the reshaped abdomen.

A tummy tuck is a significant operation and full recovery can take a couple of months, but patients are typically highly satisfied with their results and receive a huge boost to their self-confidence.

There may be even more benefits to the tummy tuck

A recent study of over 200 women in Australia has found that as well as improving the visual appearance of the women’s abdominal area, it also brings a number of medical benefits as well. The study looked at women who had opted for a tummy tuck, combined with stomach muscle repair.

Interestingly, as well as reporting improvements in how patients regarded the look and feel of their tummy, they also reported less back pain following the surgery. Not only that, women have suggested that improved posture, greater abdominal tone/contouring and reduced ‘stress urinary incontinence’ – bladder weakness caused by strained muscles – have all been welcome side effects of going under the knife for this procedure.

To arrange a tummy tuck consultation at the Clarence Clinic in central London, call us on 020 7183 1559.

Understanding the psychological impact of cosmetic surgery

psychological impact of cosmetic surgery

There has been a lot of talk in medical circles in recent years about ‘joined up services’ and multidisciplinary approaches to tackling patient care. The theory behind the concept is that with greater collaborative working of the service providers needed at the different stages of medical processes, all contributors can work together more effectively, creating better overall care for the patient. Data protection legislation, staffing and budgetary restraints have, at times, made these processes less than easy to embed effectively, but the benefits of this way of working are clear to see.

According to an article published recently by the British Psychological Society, there needs to be a greater focus of embedding psychologists into the pre- and post-operative care for those undergoing cosmetic surgery. “Psychology is to plastic surgery what physiotherapy is to orthopaedics – you wouldn’t give someone a joint replacement without being clear you had physiotherapy lined up and someone engaged in their aftercare.”

That’s absolutely right and managing patient’s expectations, before, during and after a cosmetic surgery procedure is an extremely important part of the process. Media coverage of the cosmetic surgery industry has meant that we all know a lot more about what is available, and the highs and lows will always make the best stories to report. It’s the day-to-day expectations of the healing process and how you will feel once everything is completed, that is much more of an unknown: “The media tends to sensationalise cosmetic procedures… you hear about the success stories and also the botch jobs, but we know very little about what happens in the middle.”

How to get your mind and body prepared for the changes ahead

Supporting the need for other medical contributors such as psychologists, to help patients on their cosmetic surgery journey, is the need for greater information for patients about what to expect during their recovery. At the moment, the focus can often lean towards the physical elements, whereas the emotional elements are also extremely important.

The effects of anaesthetic are not always very well-known by patients and can have detrimental side effects during recovery. Patients are not always aware that the residual anaesthetic in the body can cause negative thoughts/feelings and also can make patients feel that they have little or no energy. Some pain relief medications can also leave patients with similar depressed feelings. Understanding the reasons for these feelings makes them much easier to rationalise, and much easier for patients to feel suitably optimistic about how the will be feeling once the side effects of the surgery have worn off and they are fully healed.

There is a real shift of perspectives now, and we’re seeing more and more that cosmetic surgeons are able to collaborate with different health professionals and are in a position to choose the right patient for the right procedure. This approach ensures greater chance of patient satisfaction as the surgeons are able to look out for the warning signs of patients who might be opting for cosmetic surgery in a hurry or who are motivated by factors which may not lead to the desired outcomes. Working cooperatively with other health professionals and ensuring open dialogue between the patient and the surgeon throughout, has a much greater likelihood for a satisfactory outcome on both sides.

Social media selfies driving facial cosmetic surgery

facial cosmetic surgery in selfies

Social media is all around us; from our phone and tablets, to computers and laptops, from articles in newspapers and reports in the news, we are constantly interacting with images and posts from social media.

Most of us also choose to actively engage with at least one social media platform such as Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and, for some of us, it is the first thing we do when we wake up in the morning and the last thing we look at before bed. Love it or hate it, there’s very little chance you can escape it.

Social media gives us access like never before to friends, peers and celebrities, showing off what they regard to be their best assets. Throw in some flattering camera angles and a filter or two, and you have the perfect storm of trying to create the perfect look.

Continued growth in procedures inspired by the selfie

Cosmetic surgeons are really noticing the difference. They are seeing many more patients citing the desire to look better in ‘selfies’ (the popular arm’s length photos typically taken with your smartphone).

Interestingly, according to a report published recently by the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS), this has grown exponentially, with 55% of facial plastic surgeons reporting patients in 2017 wanting to look better in selfies. This is a trend that has been growing year on year, and all indications suggest that this is likely to continue.

This craze is really appealing to the younger market too. Previously, facial surgery tended to be favoured by older people who were keen to try and mitigate the ageing process. Nowadays, if people desire a certain look they are keen to get it – and cosmetic surgery can be the solution.

Designing the perfect look – but maintaining a ‘natural’ appearance overall

So which procedures are people looking for in their pursuit for looks that they feel are more desirable? From fuller lips, to a smoother forehead, more defined cheeks to less visible wrinkles, the younger generation is keen to achieve the perfect ‘selfie’ look, but interestingly, they still wish the end result to look natural.

The report by AAFPRS suggests that “no matter the treatment, a natural-looking outcome is paramount for patients, with 33 percent stating a fear of looking unnatural as their top concern”.