Answers to common questions plastic surgeons are asked

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As you might imagine, plastic surgeons get lots of questions on a wide variety of topics. Here are some of the more common questions we've heard in our practice.

Q. Why does my nose droop more than when I was young?

A. Cartilage, such as in your ears, nose and ribs, continues to grow with aging, so the tip of a nose, which is composed of cartilage gets larger. Also, the maxilla (the bone surrounding bone) loses size and volume, making the nose droop. These problems can be corrected with nose surgery or fillers.

Q. Why are my earlobes larger?

A. Ears and earlobes progressively grow through the years. Plus, heavy earrings add to the enlargement of the earlobes. Whatever the reason, this is correctable with surgery under local anesthesia.

Q. Can a torn earlobe be repaired?

A. Yes. But it requires the scar from the healed injury to be excised and then sutured up. New earrings can be re-inserted in six weeks.

Q. Do I need a brow lift or an upper eyelid lift?

A. It's very common for either or both the brow and upper eyelids to sag. An assessment of each individual patient must be made by an experienced surgeon to determine what the problem is.

However, a sagging brow can also make the upper eyelid sag and have excess skin. If the problem is the brow, a simple solution is a brow lift, through two small incisions in the hairline on each side of the forehead. Excess skin is measured, excised and sutured closed, lifting the brow.

If the problem is the eyelid, then the excess skin and, if indicated, fat is removed. Often both a brow lift and upper lid surgery are done simultaneously. These procedures can be done under local anesthesia.

Q. Why is my upper lip, wrinkled, longer and thinner now?

A. The underlying bone (maxilla) loses volume as does the upper lip itself. Notice with advancing age the upper lip lengthens, covering the upper teeth, and turns inward.

Also, the skin of the upper lip becomes thinner, which makes it more apt to wrinkle. The treatment is a lip lift with an incision hidden just under the nose. Fillers, if needed, can be added in the skin-colored part of the lip and-or the vermillion (the red part of the lip).

Q. How do I know if I need a liposuction or tummy tuck?

A. Liposuction only removes fat. It might tighten the skin slightly. If there is moderate excess skin, the skin must be removed with a tummy tuck.

However, mild excesses in skin can be reduced non-surgically with the ThermiTight RF (radio frequency). Liposuction can be simultaneously done, if necessary, along with liposuction of the back and sides. With a tummy tuck, the rectus muscles can be sutured to further flatten the abdomen if needed.

As with all plastic surgery procedures, a personal consultation is advised to answer any of your questions.

E. Ronald Finger, MD, FACS is a board certified plastic surgeon with offices in Savannah and Bluffton. fingerandassociates.com

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