Here is an overview of some of the more popular kinds. Where costs are given, note that they are a generalization and will vary with the individual patient and surgeon. As well, descriptions of healing times, etc., are only basic guidelines and should be discussed with the surgeon.

Blepharoplasty is the removal of excess folds from the eyelids or bags from under the eyes. It is an approximately one-to-two-hour procedure and is often performed under a local anesthetic. It usually causes redness, bruising and discoloration lasting for a few days. The incision is made to blend with the skin’s natural creases and the stitches are removed in 48 hours. It usually takes about two to three months for the healing process to be completed although one may resume normal activities long before that. The approximate cost is $2,874.

Rhinoplasty refers to either cosmetic or corrective alteration of the nose. The procedure takes approximately one hour and often results in temporary swelling, soreness, possible bruising around the eye and some numbness. The swelling will likely subside after two weeks and full recovery can take approximately four to six months at which time the final shape of the nose will be apparent. This can cost from $3000 and $15000.

Double Chin removal is sometimes carried out along with the full facelift but can also be performed as a separate surgery. On its own, it will take about one hour and the dressing will remain in place for 48 hours. Stitches are removed in five to 10 days and the swelling should go down within three to five weeks.

Rhytidectomy refers to facelift surgery. The length of time needed for the procedure varies widely with the extent of surgery but is generally two hours or more. The temporary side effects include redness, swelling and bruising which usually disappear in two to three weeks. Some people also experience a sense of numbness or tightness. Complete healing time varies widely but most people can resume their normal activities after three weeks.

Mammoplasty refers to breast surgery, either for reduction or augmentation. The operation takes up to three hours and costs about $5,000-$10,000. Soreness and bruising will be present for a couple of weeks and there may also be some numbing around the nipple. Some degree of firmness may result weeks or months following surgery. Two to three months are needed for full recovery and normal daily activities may be resumed in three weeks.

All surgery, no matter how simple, involves some degree of risk. Surgical complications could include infection, poor healing or keloid scar formation (raised scar), injury to nerve or muscle, reaction to anesthesia or other medicines, pigmentary discoloration, etc. Harmful side effects are, however, statistically unlikely and should be discussed thoroughly with the surgeon. The possibility of complications can be reduced if the surgeon’s advice regarding pre-and post-operative care are followed.

During the preliminary interviews, a surgeon will discuss with you your reasons for requesting the surgery and your expectations regarding the results. The main purpose of an operation should be improvement and not perfection. It should also not be viewed as the magic formula to correct a troubled area of your life.

The results of cosmetic surgery often enhance one’s self-esteem so you can feel happier with yourself, but it cannot solve your problems for you. Some people come to the surgeon with great expectations of how they can be physically transformed and these expectations are usually imposssble to meet. A good surgeon will discuss with you what the real possibilities are.

Before surgery, it is suggested that you see your physician for a physical check-up. You must also try to prepare yourself for the temporary after-effects of discomfort, swelling, brusing, etc. and remember that the healing process will be influenced by your age, health, bone and skin structure.

For recommendations for a surgeon, ask your family physician or phone the Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons.

This summer I was a lifeguard at a pool and the combination of the sun and water has dried my hair out. What do you suggest I do for it?

The first thing to do is to get a good haircut to get rid of the split ends that you most likely have. Select a protein shampoo and conditioner to use or have a protein treatment at your hair salon. The protein will help to reconstruct and moisturize the hair shaft. Next summer protect your hair (and head) with a hat and use a shampoo made specially for those who swim in chlorinated pools.