Facial Contouring or Facial Sculpting

What is Facial Contouring?

Facial contouring or facial sculpting, is a selective cosmetic surgical procedure that enhances the general appearance of the face. It is an emerging trend in some countries and its aim is to enhance the proportion of the face and overall facial features, as well as to make the face generally smaller. It can make an individual’s facial features look more balanced as well as improve facial outline.

Who can opt for this procedure?

Anyone who desires to improve the outline or contour of certain areas of their face can take advantage of this Facial contouring surgery. Among women patients, the common goal of the procedure is to make the contours of the face much softer and more feminine. Meanwhile, male patients usually want to achieve a more chiselled look and a more masculine appearance. For this reason, the procedure is commonly a part of gender reassignment procedures. It is also beneficial for those who suffer from sagging facial skin, mostly due to ageing, that causes a person’s face to lose its original contour.

Individuals with the following features could also take advantage of this procedure:

  • Square jaw
  • Receding chin
  • Protruding cheeks
  • Protruding mouth
  • Protruding chin
  • Asymmetrical mouth

A facial contouring surgery is ideally performed while the patient is under general anaesthesia. Prior to the surgery, the patient undergoes CT imaging scans to obtain images of the bones and soft tissues of the face. This serves as the surgeon’s guide while he performs the surgery.

A facial contouring surgery generally takes time, as it usually requires several changes to achieve the right proportionate look. In majority of the cases, the procedure normally revolves around the nose, cheekbones, forehead, cheeks, or the lips. Due to this, there is no standard technique in facial contouring. Rather, each procedure is kind of customised to fit the needs of the each individual and may involve a combination of different cosmetic surgical techniques, such as:

  • Facial implants
  • Graft and tissue transfers
  • Fat removal
  • Bone trimming
  • Chin implants or jaw line contouring
  • Reduction malarplasty
  • Mandibular angleplasty
  • Chin advancing surgery
  • Facial liposuction and so on

Most incisions or cuts are made inside the mouth or between the gum and cheek mucosa. This gives the surgeon access to most parts of the face, such as the jawbone, while hiding or masking the resulting scar.

The surgery could last anywhere between 2.5 hours and 5 hours, depending on how much work that must be done. The patient would also be required to be hospitalized for a few days to closely monitor him/her. If non-absorbable sutures are used, patients must return after two weeks for the removal of the sutures.

Most patients fully recover from the procedure within a time frame of 3 months and with most of the swelling gone after a month. However, it may take up to 12 months before the full effect of this procedure can be seen.

Possible Risks and Complications

The majority of facial contouring surgeries have incisions or cuts, which places the patient at a risk of scarring (including keloid scarring and scar tissue growth), bleeding, and infection. Infection tends to be more common among patients that undergo fat removal or implant surgery. Scar tissue, on the other hand, is a more serious risk associated with facial implants. The scar is usually formed due to an abnormal immune system response, which causes it to grow and constrict around the implant. Should this happen, the shape of the implants will change, and this can have a negative effect in the facial contouring procedure

It is also normal for patients to experience slight swelling, bruising, and numbness, which may take some time to reduce

Patients also face the risk of other allergic reactions to the anaesthetics used. These include:

  • Low blood pressure
  • Suppressed breathing
  • Blood clot in the lungs
  • Blood clot in the legs
  • Heart failure
  • Post-operative nausea and vomiting
    • These risks are increased by the fact that the procedure takes a long time to finish. Thus, to rule out any anaesthesia-related complications, surgeons require pre-operative screening to make sure that the patient has no ongoing health issue that may be aggravated by the long anaesthesia use.

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