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What Are the Different Types of Cosmetic Surgery?

Cosmetic surgery usually refers to a type of plastic surgery performed for vanity reasons, though cosmetic surgery also is used after other medical procedures to reduce or eliminate signs of the procedure. There are many different types of cosmetic surgery, and they are usually grouped into categories by body part affected, including breast, body, head and skin. There are several procedures in each of those categories.

One of the most popular categories of cosmetic surgery includes procedures for the breasts. Breast implants and lifts are common procedures that are normally used to help the breasts look fuller, firmer and more upright. Breast reduction is often performed on especially large breasts to alleviate back pain while bringing the size of the breasts more in proportion to the rest of the body. Breast revisions help breasts look more symmetrical and are sometimes used to correct odd placement of nipples or oddly shaped nipples. These types of cosmetic surgery are becoming more common among men as well as women, especially those suffering from gynecomastia — a condition in which a male has tissue-filled breasts similar to those of a female.

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Other types of cosmetic surgery are available for the rest of the body. Liposuction, a procedure in which fatty tissue is vacuumed from the body, can re-shape a waistline or thighs. A procedure commonly called a tummy tuck is used to flatten a stomach and reduce the appearance of wrinkles or stretch marks resulting from childbirth or weight loss. More radical procedures, called body contouring, also are becoming more popular.

Types of cosmetic surgery specific to the skin also are readily available. A chemical peel strips the outer layer of skin — normally from the face — to help reduce the appearance of wrinkles and make the skin to look younger. Laser hair removal is one of the types of cosmetic surgery geared toward reducing or eliminating body hair. Spider veins, a condition in which a pattern of veins becomes visible just under the surface of the skin, also can be treated with cosmetic surgery.

There are many types of cosmetic surgery performed for the face and head. One of the most common is nose re-shaping, in which the size or shape of the nose is altered surgically. Other types of cosmetic surgery for re-shaping are performed on the eyelids, chin and cheeks. A procedure designed to affect the entire face is termed a "face lift” and is performed by pulling up skin that has lost elasticity and eliminating the folds of skin caused by the lift.

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