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Under the knife: what’s new?

Statistics show that cosmetic surgery is more popular than ever. Here’s our guide to the latest treatments…
The face of the UK cosmetic-surgery industry is changing – not only are procedures now more affordable and accessible than ever before, but the development of less invasive treatments has meant that more and more women are choosing to go under the knife.

Or, rather, under the laser or needle, since a study by the Harvey Medical Group has reported a 68% rise in the number of women opting for dermal fillers, Botox and skin peels in the last year.

Statistics from the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) show that 36,482 cosmetic procedures were carried out in the UK in 2009 – an increase of 6.7% on the previous year. That’s a great number of people seeking help to improve their looks. But with so many treatments available and ever-evolving techniques emerging, it’s crucial you do your homework before considering surgery. So here’s our up-to-the-minute guide to the very latest procedures.

To make lip-plumping procedures more patient-friendly and decrease the dreaded ‘trout pout’ effect, surgeons have turned from artificial fillers such as silicone to more natural techniques. These include fat transfer, where fat is harvested through liposuction or excision from a patient’s unwanted fat stores – such as on the bottom – and then injected into their lips. Where a synthetic filler is preferred, Restylane – a non-animal clear gel – is often used because it is close in composition to the hyaluronic acid naturally found in the body. Restylane injections will wear off in around six months.

Surgery to correct drooping upper lids and puffy fat bags below the eyes (known as blepharoplasty, this is the most popular treatment in the UK at the moment – even Lord Sugar admits to having had it done!) works by removing excess fat and skin and tightening loosened muscle. Typically, incisions will be made in the crease of the upper eyelid and below the lash line. In some cases, fat bags may be removed from an incision inside the lower lid, so there is no visible scar. Laser resurfacing and peels may also be carried out to reduce fine lines and discolouration of the lower-eye area.

Lines and wrinkles   
Line and wrinkle treatments are commonly used to treat fine lines and deep wrinkles in the upper part of the face. By far the most popular areas to treat are frown lines between the eyes, forehead lines and the dreaded ‘crow’s feet’. These lines and wrinkles can be minimised using a purified protein produced by clostridium botulinum bacteria, commonly known as Botox, which causes long-term relaxation of contracted muscles. Botox was originally marketed to treat eye spasms and central-nervous system disorders. The procedure can now, incidentally, also be used to treat those who suffer from excessive sweating.

Looking for face value
Diane Hartland, 54, from Stourbridge in the West Midlands, had a new and quick procedure called the One-stitch Facelift ‘As soon as I heard about this new procedure I was intrigued. The minimally invasive nature of it as well as the short amount of time it took really appealed to me,’ explains Diane. ‘I’ve always taken care of my appearance but as I’ve got older, my skin has lost its firmness. I wanted a procedure that could tighten and firm the skin on my face without making me look “overdone”. I didn’t want to look like a 30-year-old, just naturally fresher and rejuvenated.

‘The results of the One-stitch were instant. I looked so much healthier and the sagging skin that hung around my jaw and chin was much tauter. My skin felt tighter, but not uncomfortably so, and I didn’t have a shiny look like some people do when they have an extreme facelift.

‘I didn’t need any pain relief after the procedure and there was no major bruising, so I wasn’t embarrassed about going out in public – it was brilliant!

I could just carry on as normal. ‘I’m chuffed with the results and feel fantastic. When I look in the mirror I’m so much happier with what I see – tighter and firmer skin, no ugly loose stuff around the neck – just a healthier, glowing complexion.’ For further information and prices on the One-stitch Facelift, visit or call 0845 762 6727.

Fast fixes
Not only is cosmetic surgery cheaper than ever before, but it’s also quicker than it’s ever been. So-called ‘lunch-hour surgery’ is now commonplace. Patients simply take 45 minutes out of their hectic schedules for super-speedy treatments such as laser lipolysis to eliminate unwanted fat, the G-spot injection to enhance sexual stimulation, boob-boosting Macrolane breast injections, non-surgical nose jobs and Botox fillers to iron out wrinkles. Recent advancements in anaesthesia now allow surgeons to operate on half-asleep patients, which means you could even undergo a facelift with your eyes open, but feel no pain.

Traditional rhinoplasty, or a nose job, involves reshaping the nose by reducing a hump on the bridge, changing the shape of the tip or profile, narrowing the nostrils, or altering the angle between the nose and upper lip. But there is a more modern alternative – non-surgical nose reshaping. The treatment originated in Brazil, where cosmetic surgeons were getting requests for subtle changes to nose shape rather than the more dramatic changes produced by surgery. Their response was to apply dermal fillers such as Restylane, which was already being used to fill out other areas of the face. The method reached the UK only in the last few years, and was initially used to reshape the nose after sporting injuries. The injections themselves take only a minute or so to complete and anaesthetic gel is applied to the nose 15 to 20 minutes before treatment. There is minimal bruising and sensation normally returns to the nose area around an hour after the procedure.

The most common procedure in this area is the breast enlargement, where small breasts or breasts that have decreased in size following childbirth, are increased in size through the insertion of an implant behind the natural breast tissue. Also popular is the breast reduction, which involves reducing the amount of breast tissue while also uplifting the breast. This may involve repositioning of the nipple and areola to give the breasts a more natural appearance. Breast uplift, or mastoplexy, involves loose skin being removed and the breast lifted, while at the same time the nipple is repositioned centrally on the new, now firmer breast. If only a small amount of breast tissue is present, implants can be inserted during the surgery to improve size at the same time. Macrolane, which arrived in the UK in 2008, is a gel filler which is injected into the breast with a long, blunt needle. It is said to increase the bust by one cup size, lasts approximately a year and costs around £2,000.

The tummy tuck (which is also known as abdominal reduction or abdominoplasty) is surgery that flattens the stomach by removing excess fat and skin, and tightening the muscles of the abdominal wall. Typically, incisions are made around the bellybutton and across the pelvic area in a U or V shape. If only a little skin is to be removed, the scar may be placed just above the pubic area. Liposuction is a method of fat removal that involves the insertion of hollow tubes called cannula into small incisions in the skin through which fat is sucked out of the body. LaserLipo is a newer, non-invasive and pain-free technique. It works by disrupting the cell wall with a low-level laser (the Strawberry) so that the fatty acids are released into the lymph and will leave the body naturally via the venous system.

The future
Cosmetic surgery is big business and anti-ageing procedures are topping polls as the most popular treatments around. This raises inevitable questions about the future of cosmetic procedures. ‘Treatments have become less risky, easier and in many cases more affordable and accessible to everyone,’ says Wendy Lewis, a beauty consultant who works in the UK and US. ‘People are looking to start early, have smaller things done in bundles, and ease into the ageing process without necessarily looking like they have had work done.’ So there is a definite shift from old-fashioned ‘obvious’ surgery to more subtle treatments, while the actual number of procedures being performed on a patient may well increase.

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