Those Annoying Sags, Bags & Wrinkles!!

Sags, bags, wrinkles, drooping eyelids, hanging chins, varicose veins, balding head, facial hair. The normal aging process can play havoc with our self-esteem. When we look the best we can, we feel better. There are ways to minimize the effects of aging, some more permanent — and more drastic — than others.

Cosmetic surgery is one avenue to correct, or enhance the appearance. While there is no way to stop the aging process, some surgeries will improve the appearance for a significant amount of time. Take a look at Phyllis Diller!

Phyllis spent a lot of money and much time under the surgeon’s scalpel to achieve her glamorous new appearance. That much expense and surgery is not for everyone.

Cosmetic surgery is not for everyone. Cosmetic surgery is not the magical cure for a life of loneliness. Cosmetic surgery cannot change the way you feel about yourself although it might give you the confidence you are lacking because of some physical flaw that the cosmetic surgery might be able to correct. If you approach cosmetic surgery realistically, understanding the limitations, you’ll have a much better result.

Know too that cosmetic surgery can only change or enhance for a while — the aging process will continue.


As we age, the skin loses its elasticity and it begins to sag. This is a normal part of the aging process and it occurs at different rates for different people. Too much exposure to the sun and fluctuations in weight are influences as well as is heredity.

The traditional facelift surgery involves putting a “tuck” in the skin to make it fit tighter. This tightening process can make a world of difference to the appearance of the face and neck, but there are limitations.

A facelift will not give a person better skin than they had before the facelift – age spots, scars, lines and creases will soon return. And a facelift does not last forever.

Facelift surgery takes an average of two to three hours depending upon the complexity, and is performed using either a local or general anesthetic. The procedure can be done in the hospital or in an office surgical setting.

The process itself involves the surgeon making an incision beginning usually in the hair near the temple, continuing inf ront of the ear, around the ear lobe, behind the ear and into the hair. Excess skin is removed, muscles and sagging tissue are tightened, and the remaining skin is repositioned.

At this time, additional procedures such as eyelid surgery, submental lipectomy to improve a double chin, and forehead lifting may also be done depending upon the desired results.

Minimal facelifts, relatively quick to perform and posing minimal risk to the patient, also achieve less in the way of results. While more extensive procedures may give better results, the cost is higher, involving more risk, longer operating time, slower recovery, and a longer period before swelling subsides.

Side effects, complications and risks involved with facelifts are the same as with any other surgery. Bleeding, bruising and swelling may occur as in any surgery. Infection as a result of the surgery is possible but is uncommon due to sterile operating techniques. Reducing the chance of infection after surgery is dependent upon excellent hygiene habits by the patient.

A facelift will not stop you from aging. It will improve your appearance for a time but it is not possible to know how long the facelift will last before you might want to consider a second facelift.

A facelift will enhance your appearance, it will not make you more beautiful or more handsome than you used to be.


Liposuction is a technique used to remove fat deposits that don’t respond to exercise and dieting. Liposuction is not a diet alternative, although the results achieved can cause it to be a diet incentive. The procedure is also referred to as liposculpture, suction lipectomy, lipoplasty, body contouring or body sculpting.

Liposuction may be used on various areas of the body to remove excess fat. You may have a “pot belly” or double chins that no amount of dieting or exercise seem to affect. Liposuction may be the answer. The fat cells are removed permanently. If you gain weight, the fat cells that remain get bigger but the liposuctioned areas will not become as fat as they once did, in relation to the rest of your body.

In liposuction, a very small skin incision is made then a thin, hollow tube, called a cannula, is inserted. The cannula is connected to a vacuum source that sucks out the fat while leaving skin, muscle, nerves and blood vessels intact. The surgeon will move the cannula under the skin to remove the unwanted fat; the amount of fat to be removed will be determined by the surgeon as the surgery progresses. The actual procedure, depending upon the area, will involve several small incisions of approximately one half inch or less.

During the procedure, depending upon the type of anesthesia used, you may feel pressure, movement, or an occasional stinging sensation. For small procedures, a local anesthetic plus light sedation may be adequate. In even smaller procedures local anesthesia alone may be enough. For larger areas, you may want, or your doctor may recommend, general anesthesia.

You will have a recovery period that will be dependent upon your specific medical history and the amount of surgery involved. Your surgeon will advise you on the schedule to maintain. In average cases, the surgeon will want the patient to resume normal activity as soon as possible but you may be advised to wait a few weeks before resuming strenuous activity. You may be required to wear a compression garment, for the first few weeks, to hold the loose skin against the muscle. You also may have some visible bruising.

If you have had neck liposuction, for example, you may try to disguise the compression garment and the bruising that may occur from the procedure. This would not be the best time to step up your social life.

Scars are generally not too noticeable due to the small size of the incision required to insert the cannula and the placement of the incisions in skin creases, behind the ear lobes, or under the chin, depending upon where the liposuction is performed.

The benefit of liposuction surgery is that the fat that is removed is gone forever. This can give a psychological boost as well as give the needed incentive to diet and exercise to continue to improve the overall physical appearance.

Liposuction is not a weight loss program. The fat that is removed will not come back and the recontouring of the body from the fat removal will help you look as if you have lost weight. It will then be up to you to continue with proper diet and an exercise program to reach and maintain your desired weight.

Results from the lipo-suction surgery will begin to be visible in two or three weeks but it may take six months to a year to see the total benefits.

No surgery is without risks. In liposuction surgery there is the risk of a complication from the use of anesthesia. There is a slight risk of scarring. There is a risk of infection both during and after the surgery.

Complications of the procedure include uneven skin surface, bleeding, infection, discoloration, numbness, scarring, and fluid accumulation beneath the skin. In extremely rare cases, infection and excessive loss of fluid can lead to serious illness or death.

Endoscopic Surgery

The endoscope is a small camera which can be inserted through a tiny cut in the skin. An image of the underlying tissues is then transmitted to a TV screen. While the endoscope has been used for years by orthopedic surgeons, plastic surgeons are now performing face lifts through the endoscope. Where the complaint is of mid face and jowl sag, the endoscope is used to perform a face lift through small incisions in the scalp and lower eyelids. The best results will be achieved by patients in their 30s and 40s with good skin tone. Recovery time is generally longer than in traditional facelifts due to the swelling that may linger for several weeks.

The endoscope has changed the way plastic surgeons may now perform brow lifts – using several tiny incisions in the scalp in place of an “ear to ear” incision.


Lasers are used by some plastic surgeons in skin resurfacing instead of dermabrasion. The surgeon uses a carbon dioxide laser, pulsed at very high frequencies, to reduce fine wrinkles around the mouth and eyelids with reportedly less tissue damage than seen in traditional dermabrasion techniques.

Lasers are also used to remove tattoos, to treat vascular lesions such as port wine stains, and to reduce age spots on hands and other locations on the body.

Eyelift Surgery

Blepharoplasty or “eyelift” surgery can correct problems associated with the aging eye. Fat deposits or “bags,” and loose skin of the upper and lower eyelids can be removed through this procedure. The procedure can be performed on the upper or lower eyelids both at the same time or separately. The procedure is commonly combined with a facelife or forehead lift as part of a complete facial rejuvenation.

The procedure can be performed on an out-patient basis in the hospital or in an ambulatory surgical suite using either general or local anesthesia.

The incision for the upper eyelid is made in the natural skin fold; the incision for the lower eyelid may be made under the eyelash line or on the inside of the lower lid. Excess skin and fatty tissue is removed and the incisions are closed.

Swelling from the surgery will usually begin to fade within several days. Bruising may take several weeks to completely subside. The risks are the same as with any surgical procedure.

© Pat Gaudette