Home > Surgery & Treatments > Factsheet: Top 5 Cosmetic Surgery Procedures

Factsheet: Top 5 Cosmetic Surgery Procedures

By: Hsin-Yi Cohen BSc, MA, MSt - Updated: 19 Jan 2013 | comments*Discuss
Cosmetic Surgery Ageing Facelift Brow

Cosmetic surgery procedures are becoming increasingly popular nowadays in the fight against ageing but are you clued up on the details and the pros and cons of each one?

Here is a rundown of the top 5 cosmetic surgery procedures used to combat the signs of ageing.

Breast Lift

Why: breasts are only made up of fat, ligaments and connective tissue so the loss of collagen and elasticity due to gravity and the natural ageing process causes breasts to sag and lose their shape as we get older. No muscle in breast tissue means that exercise cannot help to tone and 'lift' the breasts.

How: Incisions are made around the areola or also vertically down to the breast crease or with a third incision horizontally along the breast crease. Next, breasts are reshaped by lifting the underlying breast tissue and removing any excess skin, to compensate for the loss of elasticity. The areola and nipple are also usually repositioned to achieve a more youthful, natural appearance and any enlarged areolas reduced. Finally, incisions are closed using sutures layered deep into the breast tissue to help support the newly reshaped breasts.

Who: women who do not smoke, maintain a stable weight and are in good physical health. Best candidates are women who have pendulous breasts, elongated breasts with nipples falling below the breast crease when unsupported or enlarged areolas and stretched skin.


  • Poor healing of incisions and scarring
  • Bleeding and the formation of haematomas
  • Infection
  • Skin discolouration, such as swelling, bruising and permanent pigmentation changes
  • Loss of or change in nipple or breast sensation, which may be permanent
  • Fat necrosis
  • Asymmetry or irregularity to breast contour and shape
  • Blood clots and deep vein thrombosis.

Eyelid Surgery (Blepharoplasty)

Why: loss of elasticity in the skin and general tissue tone in the face leads to loose skin around the eyes, sagging eyelids, puffy eye bags and unsightly fatty deposits in the eye area.

How: incisions are made at different points, usually within the natural creases of the eyelids, and fat deposits repositioned, muscles and tissues tightened and excess skin removed, to give a more alert, youthful appearance.

Who: people who are non-smokers, with healthy facial muscles and tissues, and no medical conditions or serious eye conditions which can impair healing. Also, a person must not have any eye conditions, such as a detached retina, dry eye or glaucoma, or thyroid disorders and cardiovascular disease, diabetes, high blood pressure or other circulatory disorders.


  • Scarring
  • Difficulty closing your eyes
  • Ectropion, rolling of the eyelid outwards
  • Dry eyes
  • Skin discolouration and swelling
  • Bleeding (hematoma) and/or blood clots
  • Infection
  • Fluid accumulation
  • Numbness and other changes in skin sensation
  • Anaesthesia risks
  • Deep vein thrombosis, cardiac and pulmonary complications
  • Loss of eyesight.

Liposuction (Lipoplasty)

Why: ageing and slowing metabolism (coupled with lack of sufficient exercise) can lead to sagging skin and stubborn pockets of fat which are difficult to get rid of through toning exercise alone.

How: small, inconspicuous incisions are made and then a sterile liquid solution is infused into the area to reduce trauma and bleeding. Next, a canula (thin, hollow tube) is inserted through the incisions to loosen the excess fat and then the dislodged fat is sucked out of the body using a surgical vacuum or syringe attached to the canula.

Who: non-smoking adult individuals within 30% of their ideal weight, with firm, elastic skin and good muscle tone – and no medical conditions which may impair healing.


  • Uneven contours, Rippling or loose skin
  • Skin or nerve damage
  • Irregular pigmentation
  • Infection
  • Fat clots & Blood clots
  • Damage to deeper structures such as nerves, blood vessels, muscles, lungs, and abdominal organs
  • Excessive fluid loss or fluid accumulation
  • Unfavourable scarring
  • Bleeding (hematoma)
  • Change in skin sensation
  • Skin discolouration or swelling
  • Asymmetry
  • Pain, which may persist
  • Anaesthesia risks
  • Poor wound healing
  • Deep vein thrombosis, cardiac and pulmonary complications
  • Persistent swelling in the legs

Brow Lift (Forehead Lift)

Why: ageing and loss of tissue elasticity causes frown lines to deepen and brows to sag, creating hooded upper eyelids.

How: either by a ‘classic lift’ when one continuous incision is made from ear to ear, following the hairline or by an ‘endoscopic lift’ when several small incisions are made in the scalp and then a surgical device inserted to make alterations to the tissues.

Who: someone in good health who does not smoke; candidate should also avoid alcohol and certain medications (e.g. aspirin) prior to surgery.


  • Swelling
  • Scarring
  • Pain and Itching
  • Tingling and numbness (usually temporary)
  • Bleeding
  • Loss of sensation
  • Complications with eyebrow movement
  • Infection.

Facelift (Rhytidectomy)

Why: loss of facial muscle tone and skin elasticity leads to sagging skin, which creates deep folds and creases between the nose and mouth, as well as loose skin under the chin and jaws (leading to unsightly ‘jowls’)

How: incisions are made above the hairline at the temples and extend downwards following the natural creases of the skin, behind the ear and along the earlobe, down to the lower scalp. The top layers of skin and muscles are separated from the deeper facial tissues and excess skin and fat is removed. Sometimes, skin and muscle tissue is reshaped as well, before the skins is re-draped and stitched back into place.

Who: someone in good health who does not smoke, with a realistic outlook (facelift surgery won’t change your fundamental appearance nor stop ageing)


  • Facial nerve injury with weakness
  • Unfavourable scarring and poor wound healing
  • Infection and fluid accumulation
  • Skin discolouration, sensitivity or swelling
  • Anaesthesia risks
  • Facial asymmetry
  • Skin loss
  • Numbness or changes in skin sensation
  • Deep vein thrombosis, cardiac and pulmonary complications
  • Fat necrosis
  • Pain, which may persist
  • Skin contour irregularities
  • Bleeding (hematoma) and blood clots

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
Enter word: