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Ear Reshaping (Pinnaplasty)

Ear reshaping refers to a range of common cosmetic surgery procedures designed to correct misshapen or prominent ears. The operation corrects differences in the ears either by reshaping or reducing size and prominence, creating a more natural appearance. Many people opt for this corrective surgery to restore confidence and boost self-esteem by achieving a more natural aesthetic appearance to the ears.

What happens prior to surgery?

Your Consultant will carefully discuss your goals and expectations, so that your treatment plan can be tailored accordingly.

The skin over and behind the ears must also be healthy in order to proceed.

Your surgeon will take you through exactly what the procedure entails and will explain any pre-operative preparation required.

The Surgery

Ear correction is carried out under local anaesthetic and is a day case procedure meaning you will be able to return home following your surgery.

The procedure involves your surgeon making a small incision at the back of the ear in the crease where the ear meets the head. The cartilage is reshaped or reduced along with the removal of any excess skin to refine shape and prominence of the ear.

Recovery

Once the surgery is complete, a protective dressing and bandage will be placed around your ears and head. This will remain in place for one week after surgery to reduce any post-surgical swelling and protect the affected area from any accidental knocks or movement of the newly positioned ears. A headband can be worn at night for a number of weeks after surgery for extra protection when sleeping. You will not be able to wash your hair until the head bandage is removed. Any incisions should heal within 1-2 weeks, but some pain and discomfort are to be expected for 3-5 days following your procedure.

Patients are advised that normal activities can be resumed within 1 week following surgery, however strenuous exercise should be avoided for up to 6 weeks.

Scar Revision

Scar revision can be done anywhere on the body to reduce the appearance of obvious or pronounced scarring after a wound has already healed.

Poor healing and infection may contribute to the development of scars which are more noticeable or disfiguring.

This surgery will minimise a scar so that it is less conspicuous and blends in with the surrounding skin tone and texture. Scars can’t be removed completely, but they can be made less visible with surgery.

Types of Scarring

Discolouration or Surface Irregularities are generally subtle and may be improved by topical treatments. These scars do not usually cause physical discomfort or impair function but cosmetically can be an issue for the patient, especially if they are in a visible area of the body. This type of scarring can be the result of acne as well as minor injury or previous surgical incisions or skin grafts.

Hypertrophic Scar is a type of scarring which is the result of an abnormal response to injury. In certain people, body cells called myofibroblasts produce an excess of collagen during healing. This overproduction of collagen is more likely to occur when a wound has been infected or inflamed is under tension or is left to heal without stitches. These scars are similar in form to keloid but tend to be milder and more confined to the area of the original wound.

Keloid Scarring– Following any injury, fibrous scar tissue forms over the wound to protect the injury and aid healing. In some cases, this scar tissue grows excessively forming protruding hard growths called keloids. Keloids tend to have a high rate of recurrence despite treatment. The main difference between keloid and hypertrophic scarring is as follows

Keloid Hypertrophic
Usually raised over 4mm from skins surface Rarely raised over 4mm from skins surface
Pink/ Purple in colour Red/ pink in colour
Grow beyond boundaries of original wound Remain in area of original wound
Form on earlobes, shoulder, cheeks and chest Can develop anywhere on the body

 

Scar Contracture is a severe form of scarring and is most commonly caused by burns or surgery.

The skin can feel so tight that functional ability is compromised, and the area becomes painful and visibly constricted.

Scar Revision Surgery

Not all scars may be suitable for surgical revision but your surgeon will discuss possible treatment options.

This surgery will be performed by a Plastic Surgeon with the aim of minimising the scar so that it blends with the surrounding skin tone and texture. The scar is revised under local anaesthetic to reduce any discomfort. Your surgeon will take you through the risks and benefits of the surgery so that you can have an informed understanding and realistic expectation of the potential outcome.

How long is recovery?

Mild discomfort is expected for several days following scar revision surgery and can be managed using paracetamol. As with most surgery, normal activity may be resumed after 1 week but strenuous exercise should be avoided for 6 weeks following surgery.

Split Earlobe Repair

Split earlobes can occur as a result of wearing earrings that are too heavy or due to trauma to the lobe in which an earring may have got caught or been pulled causing a tear to appear.

Corrective surgery for this repair is carried out under local anaesthetic. This means you will be able to walk out of surgery and resume usual activities on the same day.

Your surgeon will firstly numb the area around the earlobe to ensure no pain is felt during the procedure. The repair first involves tidying the edges of the torn lobe by removing small amounts of skin. Then, using fine sutures, the earlobe is carefully repaired to reconstruct a normal, rounded earlobe that matches your natural ear shape

Varicose Veins

Varicose veins are gnarled, enlarged veins. Any vein may become varicose, but the veins most commonly affected are those in your legs and feet. That’s because standing and walking upright increases the pressure in the veins of your lower body.

For many people, varicose veins and spider veins — a common, mild variation of varicose veins — are simply a cosmetic concern. For other people, varicose veins can cause aching pain and discomfort. Sometimes varicose veins lead to more-serious problems.

Varicose veins may also signal a higher risk of other circulatory problems. Treatment may involve self-care measures or procedures by your dermatologist to close or remove veins.

Symptoms

Varicose veins may not cause any pain. Signs you may have with varicose veins include:

  • Veins that are dark purple or blue in color
  • Veins that appear twisted and bulging; often like cords on your legs

When painful signs and symptoms occur, they may include:

  • An achy or heavy feeling in your legs
  • Burning, throbbing, muscle cramping and swelling in your lower legs
  • Worsened pain after sitting or standing for a long time
  • Itching around one or more of your veins
  • Bleeding from varicose veins
  • A painful cord in the vein with red discoloration of the skin
  • Colour changes, hardening of the vein, inflammation of the skin or skin ulcers near your ankle, which can mean you have a serious form of vascular disease that requires medical attention

Spider veins are similar to varicose veins, but they’re smaller. Spider veins are found closer to the skin’s surface and are often red or blue.

They occur on the legs, but can also be found on the face. Spider veins vary in size and often look like a spider’s web.

When to see a dermatologist

Self-care — such as exercise, elevating your legs or wearing compression stockings — can help you ease the pain of varicose veins and may prevent them from getting worse. But if you’re concerned about how your veins look and feel and self-care measures haven’t stopped your condition from getting worse, see your doctor.

Causes

Arteries carry blood from your heart to the rest of your tissues. Veins return blood from the rest of your body to your heart, so the blood can be recirculated. To return blood to your heart, the veins in your legs must work against gravity.

Muscle contractions in your lower legs act as pumps, and elastic vein walls help blood return to your heart. Tiny valves in your veins open as blood flows toward your heart then close to stop blood from flowing backward.

Causes of varicose veins can include:

  • As you get older, your veins can lose elasticity, causing them to stretch. The valves in your veins may become weak, allowing blood that should be moving toward your heart to flow backward. Blood pools in your veins, and your veins enlarge and become varicose. The veins appear blue because they contain deoxygenated blood, which is in the process of being recirculated through the lungs.
  • Some pregnant women develop varicose veins. Pregnancy increases the volume of blood in your body, but decreases the flow of blood from your legs to your pelvis. This circulatory change is designed to support the growing foetus, but it can produce an unfortunate side effect — enlarged veins in your legs. Varicose veins may surface for the first time or may worsen during late pregnancy, when your uterus exerts greater pressure on the veins in your legs. Changes in your hormones during pregnancy also may play a role. Varicose veins that develop during pregnancy generally improve without medical treatment three to 12 months after delivery.

Risk factors

These factors increase your risk of developing varicose veins:

  • The risk of varicose veins increases with age. Aging causes wear and tear on the valves in your veins that help regulate blood flow. Eventually, that wear causes the valves to allow some blood to flow back into your veins where it collects instead of flowing up to your heart.
  • Women are more likely to develop the condition. Hormonal changes during pregnancy, pre-menstruation or menopause may be a factor because female hormones tend to relax vein walls. Taking hormone replacement therapy or birth control pills may increase your risk of varicose veins.
  • Family history. If other family members had varicose veins, there’s a greater chance you will too.
  • Being overweight puts added pressure on your veins.
  • Standing or sitting for long periods of time. Your blood doesn’t flow as well if you’re in the same position for long periods.

Complications

Complications of varicose veins, although rare, can include:

  • Extremely painful ulcers may form on the skin near varicose veins, particularly near the ankles. Ulcers are caused by long-term fluid buildup in these tissues, caused by increased pressure of blood within affected veins.A discolored spot on the skin usually begins before an ulcer forms. See your doctor immediately if you suspect you’ve developed an ulcer.
  • Blood clots. Occasionally, veins deep within the legs become enlarged. In such cases, the affected leg may swell considerably. Any sudden leg swelling warrants urgent medical attention because it may indicate a blood clot — a condition known medically as thrombophlebitis.
  • Occasionally, veins very close to the skin may burst. This usually causes only minor bleeding. But, any bleeding warrants medical attention because there’s a high risk it can happen again.

Diagnosis

To diagnose varicose veins, your dermatologist will do a physical exam, including looking at your legs while you’re standing to check for swelling. Your doctor may also ask you to describe any pain and aching in your legs.

You also may need an ultrasound test to see if the valves in your veins are functioning normally or if there’s any evidence of a blood clot. In this non-invasive test, a technician runs a small hand-held device (transducer), about the size of a bar of soap, against your skin over the area of your body being examined. The transducer transmits images of the veins in your legs to a monitor, so a technician and your dermatologist can see them.

Treatment

Fortunately, treatment usually doesn’t mean a hospital stay or a long, uncomfortable recovery. Thanks to less invasive procedures, varicose veins can generally be treated on an outpatient basis.

Vein Treatment

Thread veins are very small blood vessels, which appear as thin bluish or red lines in the skin.

Thread veins occur primarily on the face and legs, and they do not cause any symptoms. People suffering from thread veins may dislike their appearance and feel self-conscious about them.

With ageing, the skin gradually loses its collagen, becomes thinner and the appearance of thread veins worsens. Aside from ageing, there are a number of factors, which can also contribute to the problem. Among them are excessive sun exposure, rosacea, smoking, alcohol consumption and standing for prolonged periods of time.

Before undergoing thread veins treatment, patients are encouraged to make an appointment with one of our consultants to discuss their individual case in detail. After a thorough evaluation, our consultants will be able to suggest the most effective treatment and will address all questions or concerns.

Treatment options?

At Belfast Skin Clinic we treat thread veins with Microsclerotherapy or IPL laser. A combination of these may be used to achieve the optimum result.

IPL Laser for thread vein removal is a non-invasive procedure using light and heat technology to treat the problem area, improving the appearance of smaller blood vessels without affecting the skin surface.

Microsclerotherapy is a safe treatment for thread veins on the legs, while IPL laser would more commonly be used to treat small facial thread veins.

IPL Thread Vein Removal

Our advanced laser technology is able to provide a highly effective treatment which yields quick and permanent results for the treatment of thread veins.

This IPL process uses broad spectrum light to target the problem area, penetrating the walls of the blood vessel with heat, causing them to collapse and disappear. Eventually, these veins will be reabsorbed by the body and fade away after several weeks.

In general, IPL affects the lower layers of the skin, rather than the top. This allows it to reach deeper structures, like thread veins, without burning the surface of the skin.

The procedure itself involves the application of laser gel, applied directly to the skin to aid absorption of the light and keep the skin cool throughout your treatment. Your laser technician will be able to advise you at consultation how many sessions are recommended to achieve optimum results from your treatment.

Patients are advised that no treatment will be administered on skin that is tanned, or where fake tan is present, as this increases the risk of side effects and discomfort.

Microsclerotherapy

?This procedure involves injecting sclerosant through a tiny needle, very superficially into the veins, causing the lining of the vein to swell and clot. This clot formation stops the onward flow of blood through the vessel. There is usually minimal discomfort with the treatment due to the needle being so small. 

Microslerotherapy is a relatively quick procedure and most people can resume normal activities, including driving, on the same day.

Over the course of several weeks following your treatment, you may feel the veins are more pronounced and injection sites may feel slightly itchy. This is quite common and will fade over time. It is also possible you may need to schedule further treatments as some patients will require 2 to 6 treatments over 4-8 week intervals.

Upper Eyelid Reduction- Blepharoplasty

Over time, our eyelids stretch, and the muscles supporting them weaken. Our upper eyelids can also begin to droop with age. This can give the eyes an older, tired look and a hooded or bulging appearance. Besides making you look older, severely sagging skin around your eyes can reduce your side vision (peripheral vision), especially the upper and outer parts of your field of vision.

Blepharoplasty is a type of surgery that removes excess skin, muscle and fat. Blepharoplasty can reduce or eliminate these vision problems and make your eyes appear younger and more alert.

What happens at consultation?

Initially you will meet your surgeon to discuss expectations for the outcome of the procedure, to ensure your goals are realistic and achievable.

Your surgeon will discuss all potential post-operative complications at length in your consultation. We advise our patients to fully research your procedure, so that you can ask any relevant questions at your consultation and have a realistic expectation of the outcome.

The Surgery

The procedure is undertaken under local anaesthetic which involves an injection into the skin to numb the area.

This procedure involves a small incision in the natural crease of your eyelid, where a small crescent-shaped piece of excess skin will be removed, leaving enough slack for the eye to remain comfortable to close following the recovery period. Your surgeon may also feel it is necessary to remove any excess fat or muscle from the area to help improve the overall result.

Recovery

As this procedure is carried out under local anaesthetic, you will be discharged from the clinic on the same day.

You will be given post-surgical advice on taking care of your wound and changing dressings. Paracetamol should be adequate pain relief over the following 24-48 hours and any exercise should be avoided immediately following your procedure.

Swelling and bruising may take several weeks to dissipate. Avoid stooping and sleep propped up.

It may take several months for scars to fully heal and for the final results to appear.

Results

Many people express satisfaction with the results of blepharoplasty, such as a more youthful appearance and more self-confidence. For some people, results of surgery may last a lifetime. For others, droopy eyelids may recur.

Bruising and swelling generally subside in 10 to 14 days, which may be when you feel comfortable going out in public again. Scars from the surgical cuts may take months to fade. Take care to protect your delicate eyelid skin from too much sun exposure.