When a person considers having cosmetic surgery in order to improve their appearance, a healthy attitude about one's self  is very important. Although cosmetic facial surgery can produce dramatic changes in appearance, patients must understand the limitations of cosmetic surgery and have realistic expectations with regards to what cosmetic facial surgery can achieve for them.

Confusion abounds on which doctors are qualified to perform cosmetic facial surgery. The list of doctors who perform cosmetic facial surgery includes Plastic and Reconstructive, Oral and Maxillofacial, and Ear Nose and Throat surgeons as well as Ophthalmologists and Dermatologists. When choosing a surgeon to perform your cosmetic facial surgery consider the following:

1. Training and experience: Ask your surgeon if his residency or fellowship training included formal training for the specific procedure(s) that you are considering. If not, how did the surgeon gain his experience and training? Many week-end or week-long courses are available to teach doctors techniques in cosmetic surgery. Often these courses will offer "certification" once the course has been completed. However, consumer beware, these courses may not provide the adequate training necessary to perform cosmetic surgery safely and effectively. Furthermore, this type of "certification" does not necessarily mean that the doctor is qualified to perform cosmetic surgery on patients. Certification of this type usually means that the doctor completed the course successfully.

2. Area of specialization: Does your doctor's area of specialization coincide with the type of surgery that you are considering? 

3. Board certification: Is your surgeon certified by the official board of his or her specialization? This means that your surgeon has voluntarily completed an extensive examination process after formal residency/fellowship training. The actual educational process for a doctor is often confusing to the public. Please refer to the links in the table below for further clarification:

Certification
Medical or Dental License

Required to Practice?
Yes

Governing Body
State Medical or Dental Board

Certification
Specialty Board Certification

Required to Practice?
Not Necessarily

Governing Body
National specialty board recognized either by the American Board of Medical Specialties, the American Medical Association or the American Dental Association.

4. Disciplinary Actions: Has your doctor ever been disciplined for unprofessional or unethical conduct? This information is readily available through your state Medical or Dental Board. In California these are the Medical Board of California or the Dental Board of California.

Remember, cosmetic surgery, no matter how minor, is as serious as any other type of surgery. Just because cosmetic surgery is considered elective and is performed more out of personal desire rather than out of necessity does not make it less difficult. In fact, cosmetic facial surgery demands a high level of skill and proficiency.

Techniques in Cosmetic Facial Surgery

Eyelid Surgery (Blepharoplasty): Excess skin and sometimes underlying fat is removed from the eyelids to remove bags and sagging skin around the eyes.

Liposuction of Face and Neck (Cervico-facial Suction Assisted Lipectomy): Fat from the jawline and neck region is removed through tiny incisions below the chin and/or under the ear.

Before

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After

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Rhtyidectomy (Face and Neck Lift): The skin of the face and neck are separated from the underlying tissue layers using liposuction. The skin is then pulled back and upwards, the excess skin is trimmed, and the skin is sutured.

Before

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After

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Facial Bone Augmentation: The structures of the face can be augmented using a variety of techniques. This is performed to increase the definition of certain structures of the face including the cheek bones, jawline, and chin. Facial augmentation can also be used to correct facial asymmetries and facial defects.

Rhinoplasty (Corrective surgery of the nose): The structure of the human nose is comprised of bone, cartilage, inner mucosa, and overlying skin and soft tissue. The shape of the nose is determined by the underlying bony and cartilaginous components. Surgery of the nose can range from simple correction of a minor deformity to complex total nasal reconstruction.