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Cosmetic Plastic Surgery Overview

What is cosmetic plastic surgery?

Cosmetic plastic surgery is performed in order to change one's appearance. For some, it may mean redesigning the body's contour and shape, the elimination of wrinkles, or eliminating balding areas. Others may choose varicose vein treatment or breast augmentation. There are a number of cosmetic surgery procedures that men and women can choose from in order to create an image that makes them feel more confident and comfortable with their appearance.

Although health insurance rarely covers the cost of cosmetic procedures, the number of individuals deciding to undergo cosmetic plastic surgery continues to grow. The top five cosmetic surgeries for 2000 included liposuction, breast augmentation, eyelid surgery, nose reshaping and facelift. More than one million women had one or more of these surgeries in 2000. 

Further, it is not just women who are opting to enhance their appearance through surgery. Statistics show that the number of men having liposuction - the removal of fatty tissue - has tripled since 1992. In addition, the number of men having facelifts has almost doubled.

What are the most common plastic surgery procedures?

The most common cosmetic procedures are listed here by their common or descriptive names. The medical term for the procedure is enclosed in parentheses.

  • breast augmentation or enlargement (augmentation mammaplasty)
  • chemical peel
  • chin, cheek, or jaw reshaping (facial implants or soft tissue augmentation)
  • dermabrasion
  • eyelid lift (blepharoplasty)
  • ear pinning (otoplasty)
  • facelift (rhytidectomy)
  • forehead lift
  • hair replacement/transplantation
  • liposuction (lipoplasty)
  • nose reshaping (rhinoplasty)
  • tummy tuck (abdominoplasty)
  • spider and varicose vein treatment (sclerotherapy)
  • breast reduction (mastopexy or reduction mammaplasty)
  • plumping/collagen or fat injections (facial rejuvenation)

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