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April 20, 2007

Cosmetic Surgery Lowdown

Cosmetic Surgery Low Down

Photo Credit: Edwin Ho

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With celeb rags documenting lip and nose jobs and plastic-surgery dramas playing in prime time, nips and tucks have gained a new, "everyone's doing it" vibe. (Why, even the occasional pop singer has been known to give her nose a tweak — shortly after claiming she loved her body in the pages of a national magazine, no less!) But if you're gonna do it, you have to know what you're getting into — and what the alternatives are. (Just leave the hypocrisy out of it, thanks.)

As your skin loses volume with age, your eyelids can droop and under-eye bags can reveal themselves. The old way to do upper-and lower-eyelid-lifts often took away too much fat, says Haideh Hirmand, M.D., of Cornell Medical College. "It created the hollowed-out look we're trying to avoid." Now, docs don't just remove fat, they reposition it.
People with dark circles and hollows may be able to avoid the knife altogether with the help of injectable fillers and a daring new form of sclerotherapy, in which superficial under-eye veins are eliminated with saline injections. Even better: Start using eye products now that help prevent future damage.

TREATMENT: Eyelid-lift surgery (blepharoplasty) with new, more natural-looking results.
DESIGNED FOR: "People who naturally have a small eyeshadow space," saysDr. Hirmand. Surgery is an option when your skin in that area starts to hang over your lid.
HOW IT WORKS: Drooping skin is removed through an incision along the crease of the upper lid. A small amount of fat is repositioned or removed, and the whole area is lifted and tightened.
DOWNTIME: About a week of swelling and bruising.
PROS: Scarring is minimal and usually well hidden.
CONS: If too much skin or fat is removed, you could get that "deer in the headlights" look. And, in rare cases, you may not be able to fully close your eyes. "Blepharoplasty can change the appearance of your eyes," warns Dr. Hirmand. "Have your doctor simulate the result first by lifting and tucking your lid with a Q-tip."
COST: About $2500 to $3500; results last at least a decade, maybe two.
STAVE OFF SURGERY WITH: A treatment product with antioxidants, such as Avon Anew Clinical Eye Lift, $28.

TREATMENT: Lower-lid blepharoplasty.
DESIGNED FOR: Severe bags due to heredity or aging-or people who look more tired than they actually are.
HOW IT WORKS: Doctors make an incision in the lower lashline and reposition the fat, tighten the muscle, and remove extra skin. If puffiness bothers you, consider a partial lift (transconjunctival blepharoplasty): One incision is made on the inside of the lower lid.
DOWNTIME: About 10 days of swelling and bruising.
PROS: If no skin is removed, the scar is entirely hidden.
CONS: Incisions in the lower lashline can take up to a year to fade. (You can cover it with concealer — but do you want to have to?) And the procedure can alter the shape of your eyes, particularly at the inner corners, if it is not done properly.
COST: $2500 to $4500, depending on the extent of the procedure.
STAVE OFF SURGERY WITH: A product that tightens and depuffs: Try Kinerase Under Eye Rescue, $75, or Bliss Baggage Handler, $26.

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