As an Orange County Plastic Surgeon, I am always surprised to find out many patients are unaware of certain terms or misunderstand certain plastic surgery terms. I have listed a “quick and dirty” list of the most common cosmetic terms used in our field.
RHYTIDECTOMY-The medical term for face lift.
BLEPHAROPLASTY-The medical term for cosmetic eye lid surgery.
TRANSCONJUNCTIVAL BLEPHAROPLASTY-In this procedure, the cut is made inside the lower eye lid, thus avoiding any scars on the lower eye lid skin. This procedure is used if there is bulging lower eye lid fat without any excess skin.
BROW PTOSIS-The excess skin of the upper eye lid can be due to two causes: either excess eye lid skin (dermatochalasia) or actual drop of the eye brow, resulting in hanging skin over the upper eye lid. Of course, a combination of the two is possible. It is critical to correct the ptosis first, before removing excess eye lid skin.
EYE LID PTOSIS-In this condition there is actual lowering of the eye lid margin and the amount of visible iris (the colored portion of the eye) is less than the unaffected side.
MID FACE LIFT-This procedure primarily involves correction of aging of the cheek area by elevating the soft tissue in the cheek region.
PLATYSMAPLASTY- In this procedure, the platysma muscle (the thin muscle in the neck which shows when we bring the lower lip down). With aging, the platysma muscle forms bands. If there is no excess skin, the bands can be improved with platysmaplasty.
NECK LIFT-the removal of excess skin from the neck area. As mentioned above, a platysmaplasty is almost always required.
OTOPLASTY-The medical term for ear pinning or ear set-back.
RHINOPLASTY-The medical term for cosmetic nose surgery.
RECONSTRUCTIVE RHINOPLASTY-In this case, the surgery is to reconstruct missing or deformed portions of the nose.
SEPTOPLASTY-The medical term for correction or removal of deviated portion of the nasal septum. The septum is a large piece of cartilage which sits in the middle of the nose. It is the septum and the nasal bone which give projection to the majority of the nose.
INFERIOR TURBINECTOMY-The inferior turbinate are bony structures covered by nasal mucosa. They lie on either side of the septum. Their function is to humidify the air. In some patients, these turbinates are too large, resulting in breathing difficulty. Even if the patient does not have breathing difficulty, the inferior turbinates are typically reduced after cosmetic surgery, in order to minimize chance of obstruction due to narrowing of the nose.
OPEN RHINOPLASTY-In open rhinoplasty, an extra incision is made at the base of the columella (the bridge of skin and cartilage which attaches the nose to the groove above the upper lip. This allows the skin to be peeled back, thus allowing the entire nose to be seen. This technique is typically used in difficult rhinoplasty cases or in cases which require nasal tip refinement.
OSTEOTOMIES-In rhinoplasty, osteotomies (breaking the nasal bone) is used to narrow a wide nose.
AUGMENTATION MAMMAPLASTY-The medical term for breast augmentation
BREAST AUGMENTATION-A procedure performed to enhance the breast size by using an implant.
SALINE BREAST IMPLANT-The implant is empty and is filled with saline (salt water) to the desired size.
SILICONE BREAST IMPLANT-The implant is pre-filled with silicone gel and the size cannot be altered.
CAPSULAR CONTRACTURE-The breast implant is always covered by a capsule, which is formed by the body to “ignore” the implant. Sometimes the capsule becomes thick and may deform the breast shape.
BREAST CAPSULOTOMY-In this procedure, cuts are made in the breast capsule to “expand” the capsule.
BREAST CAPSULECTOMY-In this procedure, portions or the entire breast capsule is removed
MASTOPEXY-The medical term for breast lift.
BREAST LIFT-A procedure where the nipple is elevated and the loose breast skin is removed. A breast implant may or may not be used, depending on the patient’s anatomy and desires. This procedure is usually required in patients who have breast fed, or have had significant weight loss.
REDUCTION MAMMAPLASTY-The medical term for breast reduction.
BREAST REDUCTION-A procedure which involves removing breast tissue and skin. This procedure is typically used in patients with extremely large breasts who have symptoms due to the size of their breasts. As part of the reduction, a breast lift is also performed.
ABDOMINOPLASTY-The medical term for tummy tuck.
TUMMY TUCK-A procedure where the excess skin and stretch marks are removed from the abdomen. Typically, the abdominal muscles are also tightened, thus enhancing the flatness of the stomach area. This procedure is frequently performed in women after child birth or in patients (both men and women) after significant weight loss.
MINI TUMMY TUCK-In patients who only have loose skin and stretch marks below the belly button, a mini tummy tuck may be used. The scar may be as large as or larger than a C-section scar, but always less than a standard tummy tuck.
EXTENDED ABDOMINOPLASTY-In some patients, the loose skin extends all the way to the love handle area or even to the back. In these cases, the incision has to be extended in order to remove the loose skin.
UMBILICUS-The medical term for belly button.
FLANKS-The medical term for the love handle area.
LIPOSUCTION-A procedure which involves removal of excess fat from under the skin using specialized suction equipment.
LIPOSCULPTURE-A fancy term for liposuction.
TUMESCENT LIPOSUCTION-During liposuction surgery, a fluid is infiltrated in the area to be liposuctioned, consisting of lidocaine (a numbing medication) and epinephrine (a medication which causes the blood vessels to shrink, leading to less bleeding). In this day and age, the use of this fluid is standard of care and is used by all surgeons.
LASER ASSISTED LIPOSUCTION-Prior to liposuction, a very thin laser probe is placed in the area to be liposuctioned. As the laser probe is passed back and forth, the laser heats the skin, potentially leading to better skin retraction. It also may lead to less bruising, as the laser probe coagulates the small blood vessels in its path.
GYNECOMASTIA-The medical term for enlargement of breast tissue in men. The treatment can be liposuction and or removal of excess breast tissue (subcutaneous mastectomy).
MASTECTOMY-The medical term for removal of breast tissue. It is frequently performed for breast cancer but can be used for gynecomastia as well.
BRACHIOPLASTY-The medical term for arm lift.
ARM LIFT-In this procedure, the excess fat and skin of the arm area is removed.
THIGHPLASTY-The medical term for a thigh lift.
THIGH LIFT-In this procedure, the excess fat and skin of the inner thighs are removed.
BUTTOCK AUGMENTATION-In this procedure, the size of the buttock (butt) area is increased either by injecting the area with the patient’s own fat, or by placing a solid block of silicone under the gluteus muscle (the “butt muscle”).
Michael A. Jazayeri, M.D. is a board certified plastic surgeon with over 10 years of experience. His office is located in Orange County, California. To schedule a complimentary consultation, please call 714-834-0101.