Making the cut

Forget about painful incisions. Advances in plastic surgery are set to revolutionise the art of looking good—needlelessly.

Anumeha Chaturvedi        Print Edition: June 27, 2010

For looks that kill, going under the knife is mandatory masochism. Notwithstanding an economy more comatose than a long weekend hangover, 1.1 million men in the US looked into their mirrors in 2008 and decided to face going under the ether for cosmetic procedures, according to The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS).

Botox and chemical peels for the face topped the wishlist initially, but—with time and money—ambitious neo-narcissi made no pain, no gain their beauty mojo and plunged into more complex, innovative procedures. A survey by ASPS reveals that while tummy tucks and breast augmentation remain a women's prerogative, 29 per cent of the men surveyed, aged between 35 and 44, are prey to the Adipose Complex and seek succour in liposuction, the fat removal procedure. The survey also reveals that minimally invasive procedures are up by 99 per cent since 2000.

If ‘instant gratification' and ‘too little time' are the most popular phrases of Gen-Twitter, Flank Liposuction and Chin Tucks are the new must-haves for the must-lookgood-at-all-cost. The former targets the stubborn fatty deposits in the male flanks, also known as love handles.

These are located just above the crest of the hip bone and do not respond to traditional weight loss methods. The localised accumulation of fat in this area tends to bulge over the belt-line in the most unflattering fashion and is further accentuated by the slim-fit pants and tight belts that are much favoured by fashion-forward gents.

Non-invasive SmartLipo works particularly well for such localised pockets of fat. Unlike traditional liposuction, which involves a manual breakage of fat cells with a firm back and forth motion of the cannula, SmartLipo makes use of a single laser fibre for removing excess body fat and firming up loose skin, explains Dr Rashmi Taneja, consultant, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at Gurgaon's Artemis Health Institute.

In other words, non-invasive SmartLipo is the new jedi of plastic surgery— a laser aimed at the fatty tissue trapped beneath the skin breaks it up into execrable goo. It is double magic; the energy zapped at the area beneath the skin surface also encourages a collagen boost, which tones the skin and makes it tighter than a miser's budget. The use of the laser also minimises the chances of bruising and swelling. They aren't totally eliminated, but are definitely reduced.

If it's a double chin that you're embarrassed by, chin tucks or Mentoplasty could be the answer. This minimally invasive process is known to stimulate lymph nodes and improve facial appearance apart from reshaping the chin. A skillful hairline incision in existing creases is all that's needed to remove the extra skin hanging beneath the chin. The creases are then gently pulled out and smoothened. No more hiding behind cravats and high collars!

Those involved in brow-furrowing work can also embrace autologus implants. "These implants work well to minimise the appearance of wrinkles," says Dr Anil Tibrewala, a plastic surgeon and Attending Consultant at Breach Candy Hospital, Mumbai. "The risks of rejection here are low, as the implants fill out the areas of the face using the patient's own fat deposits and the chances of allergic reactions that usually occur with other injectable implants such as collagen are fairly slim."

While minimally invasive innovations are all very well, the old favourite Rhinoplasty still figures pretty high on the male scalpel wishlist. Stories of nose jobs gone horribly awry have done little to dampen spirits. Apart from being an aesthetic procedure, the procedure can also help patients with bone and cartilage defects and deformities. "Rhinoplasty is immensely popular among men. I keep getting patients who drop in for breathing troubles and nasal infections but end up undergoing Rhinoplasty along with Sentoplasty, a surgery designed to correct functional problems," says Dr Tibrewala.

Even if no one appears to care, vanity comes at a price. While Flank Liposuction and Mentoplasty cost between Rs 50,000 and Rs 60,000, a Rhinoplasty can set you back by Rs 1.1 lakh.

But—and this is a hefty but—the techniques are still fairly new and require significant expertise on the part of the doctor. So research extensively, select the right surgeon, double-check his qualifications, ask for pictures of surgeries performed and understand all the pre- and post-operative care required before you opt for the kindest cut of them all.

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