Mr T Sankar | 22/06/2016
Age Guide to Cosmetic Surgery
What is the right age for breast surgery? Can you have procedures before you’ve had children or is it best to wait until afterwards? What about reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, could you go under the needle too young or wait and miss the ideal time?
Mr Sankar, a distinguished Consultant Plastic Surgeon from Ramsay Healthcare UK is asked these questions all the time and felt that it would be useful for people to have an age guide for these procedures.
Mr Sankar commented: “We’ve had girls as young as 15 approach us wanting breast surgery which we just wouldn’t do. Bodies need to stop growing before you start changing them. We’ve also had very mature people in their 90s coming to us for face lifts or eye lid reductions. These are best performed when patients have enough elasticity left in the skin to bounce back.Although saying that, there is no upper age limit but surgical procedures are invasive and they do carry risks which need to need to be taken into consideration, particularly in older patients.”
Here the Surgeon shares the best ages for the most common procedures.
Breast Surgery - Age 18+
Breast surgery is one of the most common cosmetic surgery procedures, including breast augmentation, uplift and reduction. The use of implants for breast augmentation is likely to remain popular although, lipomodelling or fat transfer is becoming a popular alternative to implants for breast augmentation. In uplift procedures the use of artificial material to be used as an internal bra to hold the breasts in the ideal position is likely to increase in the future.
Breast implants - 18+ For women who feel they have small or underdeveloped breasts - 30+ When there is loss of volume after pregnancy and completing family
Recovery time: 2-3 weeks
Breast uplift - 30+ Usually after completing family or after significant weight loss
Recovery time: 2-3 weeks
Breast reduction - 18+ When the breasts are very large the heaviness can be reduced with liposuction
30+ After completing family and breast feeding
Recovery time: 2-3 weeks
Rhinoplasty - Age 18+
Rhinoplasty or ‘nose job’is a surgical procedure that reshapes or resizes the nose. This procedure is suitable for anyone from 18+ once adult growth has completed. Sometimes a rhinoplasty is performed to improve how you breathe through your nose.
Recovery time: 2 weeks
Liposuction - Age 18+
A lipo suction procedure can help people of all ages (dependent on skin condition) to overcome the embarrassment caused by localised areas of excess fat. It is most suitable for the reduction or removal of stubborn areas of fat that have previously proved resistant to normal diet and exercise regimes, and is especially suitable for areas that remain out of proportion to the rest of the body shape, irrespective of a person’s weight loss.
Liposuction is used more and more for reshaping rather than reducing weight and bulk. The procedure must be part of a lifestyle change combined with exercise and a healthy diet.
Recovery time: 1-2 weeks
Tummy tuck - Age 30+
An abdominoplasty or ‘tummy tuck’ should only be considered from 30+ and also for men or women after significant weight loss. Women should only consider abdominoplasty once their family is completed as the abdomen will stretch again during pregnancy.
Abdominoplasty improves the appearance of your abdomen by removing excess skin and fat and tightening the abdominal muscles. As a growing number of people manage to lose weight, the demand for post-weight loss aesthetic surgery is likely to increase.
Recovery time: 2-4 weeks
Injectibles (similar to Botox) - 18+ In a few cases to help those with migraines or excessive sweating - 40+ To refresh and reduce wrinkles from muscle over-activity
Botox is injected into muscles and will temporarily paralyse the muscle and improve the appearance of moderate laughter lines and frown lines between the eyebrows.
Recovery time: None, small risk of bruising
Lip enhancement - Age 25+
For lip enhancement, dermal filler can be used at any age but is most commonly used from 45+to soften the fine lines that can develop at the edge of the lip. Also enhances the volume of the lip and lip definition. You can have temporary lip augmentation using temporary or permanent filler materials.
Recovery time: None, just slight swelling and bruising
Facelift - Age 45+
As you get older, gravity pulls down on the skin and soft tissues of your face. You are most likely to benefit from a facelift if you can see an improvement by pinching the skin in front o f the ear lobes and pulling the skin upwards and backwards towards the ears or if your cheeks have begun to sag or you have a double chin.
The surgical facelift has moved more towards less invasive surgery and less down time.During the last two years, newer facelift techniques have become very popular along with non-surgical facial rejuvenation procedures. These include thread lift, short scar facelift, one stick facelift and fat grafting. Some of these procedures will give similar benefits to a surgical facelift with less swelling and bruising it also minimises the scars and other complications.
Recovery time: 2-4 weeks
Eyelid and eye bag reduction - Age 45+
A blepharoplasty procedure can help men and women of all ages to overcome the inevitable signs of skin ageing above, below and around the eyes.
This procedure to remove or relocate fat and smooth the loose, lined, crêpey skin is typically performed to produce a fresher and more youthful eye appearance.Aesthetic surgery is becoming more popular in men and there are more men looking for surgery for the eyelids.
Recovery time: 2 weeks patients are asked to avoid direct sunbathing on the eye area for at least 12 months following surgery due to sensitivity to sunlight.
Labiaplasty - Age 18+
The labia minora (the inner lips surrounding the entrance to the vagina) grow during puberty and vary enormously in size and thickness. They are rarely symmetrical and if they are particularly enlarged women find them uncomfortable and embarrassing. They are prone to irritation when wearing tight clothing and sports women and horse riders experience particular discomfort. Many women find the size and appearance of their labia minora embarrassing with a sexual partner.
Tears and stretching of the labia minora can also occur during childbirth. Labioplasty is a surgical procedure which reduces the size of the labia minora so that they are less obtrusive and equal on both sides.
Recovery time: 2-4 weeks and sexual intercourse after 4-6 weeks recovery
Soprano laser hair removal
Dark hairs are more easily treated due to the large concentration of dark melanin in these which gives maximum absorption and conversion of light energy to heat.
Very fair hair has less melanin and consequently less heat is produced making it slightly less certain of permanent reduction of the hair follicles. Grey (white) hair has almost no melanin and cannot be efficiently treated.
The upper skin layer of the epidermis, also contains melanin and the concentration increases when the skin is exposed to UV light. We are therefore unable to treat sun tanned individuals.
The facial treatment can take as little as 10 minutes whereas both legs and/or an entire back take approximately 1½ to 2 hours.
Recovery time: Immediately after the treatment the skin is particularly sensitive to UV light and strong sunlight should be avoided for 4-5 days.
Ear reshaping (Otoplasty)
An otoplasty procedure can help men, women and children of all ages to overcome the embarrassment and distress caused by irregular shaped or protruding ears.
It is now widely accepted that it can be psychologically harmful for children and adolescents to leave protruding and irregular shaped ears to become a point of undue attention throughout the developing years. Consequently, otoplasty surgery is one of the most commonly performed cosmetic procedures provided to children.
The ultimate objective is for the surgeon to create a natural, proportionate and symmetrical (even) looking appearance, leaving no visible sign that surgery has taken place.
An otoplasty procedure can involve the surgical refining of the size, the shape and the position of the ear, or a combination of all three.
Recovery time: 7 - 14 days for initial swelling and bruising to settle to an acceptable appearance. After initial swelling has settled down, subtle improvements to the contour of the newly shaped ear will take place for up to six months following surgery.
This cosmetic surgical procedure is very useful in massive weight loss patients. This procedure may include removal of skin and fat at strategic locations and will leave some scars. Sometimes a buttock lift can be achieved by inserting buttock silicone implants or by having enhancement using a patient’s own fat. Proper pre-operative assessment is very important
Recovery time: 2-4 weeks if skin removal is carried out.
Sclerotherapy for leg thread veins
A number of factors contribute to the development of spider veins, including heredity factors, pregnancy and other events that cause hormonal shifts and/or weight gain. Occupations or activities that require prolonged exposure to environmental elements or prolonged sitting and standing can also exacerbate the problem.
The number of treatments required to achieve a successful result will depend on the severity and long standing nature of the problem area. If more than one treatment is required (which is typical), treated spider veins will appear lighter after each treatment. Patients should be aware that the procedure treats only those veins that are currently visible; it does nothing to permanently alter the venous system or prevent new veins from surfacing in the future.
Sclerotherapy of spider/thread veins is a relatively simple procedure and does not require any anaesthesia. This treatment is performed in an out-patient setting. The needle used to administer the sclerotherapy solution is so thin and the sclerosing solution is so mild, that any pain is usually very minimal. However, patients typically report that a mild burning sensation is experienced during and just after each treatment session. Multiple treatment sessions are required.
Recovery time: 2-3 hours
This procedure is usually performed under local anaesthesia when it is felt that an existing scar can be improved because of particular circumstances or complications of healing in the first instance, or because the procedure is likely to be carried out in a better manner.
Post-operative pain is usually minimal. Sutures (stitches) are usually removed in four to six days from the face and seven to ten days from other parts of the body. However, dissolving sutures are frequently used on the trunk and limbs to avoid post-operative stitch marks.
Stitch marks are much less likely to appear on the face as stitches are removed early. All new scars will initially be red.
Recovery time: 1-2 weeks. Scars will take about 9 -12 months to mature and settle down.
About Mr Sankar
Mr T K Sankar is a Consultant plastic and cosmetic surgeon at the Woodland Hospital specialising in cosmetic breast surgeries, body contouring, liposuction and sculpting, gender breast surgery, nose reshaping, face lift, hand surgery, skin lumps & cancer removal. He also performs non-surgical treatments including anti-wrinkle treatments (Botox) and dermal fillers. He is the lead plastic surgeon at Kettering General Hospital NHS Trust, as well as the Regional Medical Director for SK:N Laser Clinics in Leicester and Midlands. Mr Sankar is a member of The British Association of Plastic and the Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons.
Read more about Mr Sankar's qualifications, background and clinical interests.
About Ramsay Health Care Cosmetic Services
Ramsay is a leading provider of cosmetic surgery and non-surgical treatments in the UK. Ramsay offers a wide range of cosmetic surgery procedures including breast augmentation, breast reduction, breast uplift, eyelid reshaping, tummy tuck, apronectomy (mini tummy tuck), gynaecomastia surgery, nose reshaping, prominent ear correction and liposuction.
Also available are a number of cosmetic enhancing procedures that do not involve any incisions, surgery or general anaesthetics and include acne treatment, dermal fillers, skin resurfacing and laser hair removal.