Understanding facial ageing

facial ageing proceduresAs well as hopefully bestowing wisdom, the ageing process affects your body, your mind and even how you look. And it is this visible facial ageing that many men and women find hardest to take.

The triangle of youth

As we get older, a distinct facial shape change gradually occurs. Typically, a youthful face has high rounded cheeks and a defined jawline, forming a triangle shape. As we get older, our face shape becomes an inverted triangle, causing by volume loss and skin and muscle laxity.

There is usually a shortening of what is termed the ‘vertical dimension’, which means a low, heavier forehead. Our mid-face area becomes deflated, with sunken cheeks, and the lower half of the face becomes broader as the jawline becomes fuller and less taut and a double chin appears.

More than skin deep

When I perform an assessment of facial ageing during a consultation at my Leamington cosmetic surgery clinic, I also assess all the structural layers of the face. Although it is easy to fixate on a wrinkle here or line there, the external ageing changes are often only an indication of what’s going on beneath the surface.

So, wrinkles and age spots are an outward representation of damage and loss of collagen in the dermis. The amount of collagen in the dermis is a key factor in how we are ageing; this naturally-occurring protein forms the connective tissue in your dermis, providing support and elasticity to your skin. Women are particularly affected; after the age of 25 changes in the levels of the hormone oestrogen accelerates the loss of collagen.

It is estimated that by the time a woman reaches the age of 40 she will have lost up to 20% of her collagen, a process that is further compounded by the menopause. This appears as loss of elasticity, wrinkles and changes in texture and colour of the skin.

Volume – or fat – also plays a significant role in facial ageing. A youthful face has a more even distribution of fatty tissue that produces that soft, rounded look we all covet. The forehead, temples, cheeks and around the eyes and the mouth are all plumped up, but as the years progress, this fatty tissue is lost from some areas and then appears where it is not wanted. Our temples hollow, cheeks flatten and our chin, jaw and neck becomes thicker.

The patient’s goals are paramount

The patient’s aesthetic goals are key to the advice I give them. Addressing fine wrinkles or other superficial ageing changes only can be achieved with non-surgical treatments such as botulinum toxin, dermal fillers or chemical peels.

However, targeting the different structural layers of the face requires a surgical approach. Facial cosmetic surgery procedures, such as the brow lift, facelift or neck lift, can target particular areas of the face or can be planned as an all-over facial rejuvenation.

To find out more about how I assess facial ageing, call 01926 436 341 to book a consultation.

Why reviews are important

The opinions of strangers have become increasingly important in guiding our decision-making process; if we are planning a holiday, we turn to TripAdvisor and before we download a book on Amazon, we quickly turn to the reviews from fellow readers.

Plastic surgery is no different; often patients are not keen on sharing what they’ve had done with their nearest and dearest, but are still keen to share their experience, whether on Google or a consumer cosmetic surgery site such as RealSelf.

Patient reviews are helpful for those that are contemplating cosmetic surgery and may be just starting their research. They are also extremely valuable for us in terms of improving our patient experience.

We have set up a page on the site for anyone keen to leave us feedback on their experience – click here to find out more.

Why the new breast implant registry is a good idea

Breast implant registryLast month, the government launched a national breast implant registry, following on from Recommendation 21 made in Sir Bruce Keogh’s Regulation of Cosmetic Interventions, published in April 2013 in the aftermath of the PIP breast implant scandal.

Following the discovery a few years previously that French company Poly Implant Prothese (PIP) were using industrial rather than medical grade silicone in their implants which had a higher than average rupture rate, British women who’d previously undergone a breast augmentation were understandably highly concerned that their implants were faulty and a potential health problem. It’s estimated that almost 50,000 women in the UK were affected, although poor record keeping in some clinics and hospital chains made it even more difficult for women to find the assurance or otherwise that they wanted.

In light of the scandal, the British government asked Sir Bruce to carry out an investigation into the cosmetic surgery industry in the UK and his report listed a number of recommendations, including the establishment of a breast implant registry.

The registry aims to capture all information about breast implant surgery, whether carried out by the NHS or in private practice. The registry has a two-fold purpose. The first is a preventative measure; by capturing this data it is possible to identify trends or potential complications and act on them accordingly.

However, the main reason is to prevent the confusion and upset that ensued after the PIP problem. In event of a safety concern, cosmetic surgeons or clinics will be provided with the most up-to-date information on affected patients who they can contact for any necessary follow-up.

Breast Implant Registry FAQs

Here’s some questions prospective breast augmentation patients may have about this new development.

  1. Do I have a choice about whether I’m included on the breast implant registry?
    During your consultation at my Leamington breast augmentation clinic, I will explain what the breast implant registry entails and provide you with a patient information leaflet and a consent form. The form allows you to choose whether you are registered or not.
  2. Do I have to pay extra for the breast implant registry?
    No. Currently, the registry is being paid for by the Department of Health, so no cosmetic surgery provider should be adding anything ‘extra’ to their bill.
  3. How will my data be used?
    If there was a problem with a particular type of implant, then the Department of Health would be able to use the information it has collected to contact the relevant patients. Also reports may be compiled that can be used to evaluate the different types of implants and their use and outcome, but no individual patient will be identifiable in these reports.
  4. Can my data be added if I’ve already had a breast implant?
    If you wish to have your details registered, then your cosmetic surgeon or clinic would have to be able to provide all the details of the implant used to the registry.
  5. What happens if there is a problem with my breast implant?
    If it is deemed necessary to contact patients, then NHS records are used to find their most current address. Then the Department of Health will contact the clinic, hospital or individual surgeon who carried out the breast implant surgery, so they can get in touch with their patients and take whatever steps are deemed necessary to ensure their safety.

Sir Bruce’s review actually called for a breast implant registry to be established within 12 months of publication of the report so you can see how slow the wheels of government move. However, we must take the view that its better late than never in terms of improving patient safety.

If you have any further questions about the breast implant registry or about the breast implant surgery itself, then call 01926-436341 to book a consultation at my Leamington cosmetic surgery clinic.