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Types of cosmetic surgery

Before opting for a cosmetic procedure, weigh up all the options. Often a less invasive or more isolated procedure will do just as well as a more involved operation. In some cases, your surgeon may recommend one of a number of skin care products or non-surgical cosmetic procedures to treat your problem.

At your first appointment with a cosmetic surgeon, he or she will carry out a physical examination, want details of your medical history and talk to you in depth about the areas of your body you are concerned about. You may be photographed and computer imaging may be performed so that you and your doctor have a clear picture of the planned changes.

Make sure you have a full discussion with your surgeon about the risks and complications before you have any cosmetic surgery or procedure.

Some newer cosmetic surgery techniques require smaller cuts and result in less bruising by using endoscopic or keyhole cosmetic surgery tools.

Below is a summary of some of the options available.


Many cosmetic procedures focus on the breasts. A person may feel they are too big too, small or may be unhappy with the shape. Breast procedures include:

  • Breast augmentation or enlargement. This may involve breast implants under the breast tissue or behind the muscle behind the breast.
  • Breast uplift ( mastopexy) to change the drooping appearance of a breast and enhance firmness.
  • Breast reduction ( mammoplasty) to change appearance or if larger breasts are causing problems, such as back pain.
  • Fat transfer to breast as an alternative to artificial breast implants. This technique has resulted in cases or fat dying, leaving cysts in the breast or calcification, which can affect mammogram results.
  • Male breast reduction as a treatment for the condition gynaecomastia, in which a man's breasts become enlarged.


The face is an area where the signs of ageing or other issues with the appearance may prompt a person to seek cosmetic surgery:

  • Rhinoplasty or 'nose job' to reshape, reduce or increase the size of the nose.
  • Eyelid reduction (blepharoplasty) to remove any surplus skin and fat to remove 'bags under the eyes' and other appearance issues.
  • Reshaping chins or cheeks to alter the overall proportions of the face.
  • Facelifts to counter a lack of elasticity or tightness in the face skin.
  • Pinnaplasty or otoplasty to set back prominent ears by adjusting the shape of the cartilage, often carried out in young children to prevent teasing.
  • Hair transplant surgery to move hairs from one part of the body to be implanted in another area.



  • Abdominal reduction, also known as abdominoplasty or tummy tuck. Excess skin and fat is removed.
  • Scars and keloids, which exist already may be able to be reduced, although any surgical procedure carries the risk of leaving some scarring behind.
  • Liposuction, also called liposculpture or suction assisted lipectomy, uses a special vacuum suction technique to remove unwanted fatty deposits from beneath the skin.
  • Aesthetic genital surgery - sometimes called 'designer vagina' surgery - are procedures to improve the appearance of the female genitalia. This includes labial reduction ( labiaplasty) and vaginal tightening (vaginaplasty).
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WebMD Medical Reference

Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks on March 01, 2017

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