Browse Categories
Glossary of Common Plastic Surgery Terms

AAFPRS: American Academy of Facial Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery. View the AAFPRS website.

ABFPRS: American Board of Facial Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery. View the ABFPRS website.

Abdominoplasty: Also known as a Tummy Tuck, this is a procedure used to surgically remove excess fat or skin from the lower or middle abdominal wall. This surgery can make your abdomen significantly smaller and flatter.

Arm Procedures: Also known as Brachioplasty or arm tightening this surgery can eliminate loose or hanging skin from the upper arms. Aging or severe weight loss can make the skin less elastic.

Arnica: Also known as Leopard's Bane, this plant has yellow, daisy-like flowering heads from which this homeopathic medicine is made. The active components in arnica are known to reduce inflammation and decrease pain. Arnica Gel and Arnica Montana work by stimulating the white blood cells that help perform digestion of congested blood. Clears out bumped or bruised skin that has fluid in it which reduces swelling and inflammation which naturally speeds the healing process. Available topically or orally-the gel is not recommended for use on open skin.

ASAPS: The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) is the leading organization of board-certified plastic surgeons specializing in cosmetic plastic surgery. ASAPS Active-Member plastic surgeons are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery or the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.

ASPS: The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) is the largest plastic surgery specialty organization in the world. Founded in l93l, the society is composed of board-certified plastic surgeons that perform cosmetic and reconstructive surgery.

Bariatric Gastric Bypass Surgery: A surgery used for the morbidly obese only (100 lbs or more). The surgery can be done laproscopically (using multiple tiny incisions) or the open technique (1 large incision). There are many different types of Weight Loss Surgeries (WLS) available depending on your body type and weight loss goals.

Bat's Wing: A slang term used to describe the excess skin under the arms as result of extreme weight loss.

Blepharoplasty: Also known as Eyelid Surgery, it is used to remove fat or excess skin from above and below the eyes. It can correct drooping from around eyes but does not correct crows feet or other wrinkles.

Board Certified: A physician who has successfully completed an ACGME-approved residency program or its equivalent in an American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS)-recognized specialty and has been certified by an ABMS member board.

Body Lift: This procedure is called "Belt Lipectomy", and is a radical procedure generally used after extreme weight loss to tighten and remove excess skin. This procedure is circumferential (circular) in nature and involves the belly, hips, back, buttocks, and outer thighs. Other names for this procedure include torsoplasty, circumferential torsoplasty, body lift, central body lift, lower body lift, circumferential panniculectomy, and circumferential lipectomy.

Botox® Injections: A popular injection made from botulinum toxin, temporarily reduces wrinkles from age. The injection temporarily paralyzes the muscles by blocking the nerve impulses. Studies have shown that it can be effective relieving excessive sweating, muscle spasms in the neck or eyes, and migraine headaches.

Brachioplasty: An arm procedure also known as an arm lift, or arm tightening this surgery can eliminate loose or hanging skin from the upper arms. Aging or extreme weight loss can make the skin less elastic.

Breast Augmentation: Also known as mammoplasty, a surgery to enhance shape and size of a woman's breast because of a few different reasons; to enhance the body contour, to correct reduction in the breast after pregnancy, to create symmetry in the two breasts, or as a reconstructive procedure following breast surgery. Inserting an implant behind each breast allows the surgeon to increase a woman's breast by one or more cup sizes.

Breast Implants: By inserting a saline or silicone implant behind each breast, surgeons are able to increase a woman's bustline by one or more bra cup sizes.

Breast Lift: A procedure to reverse breast sagging due to age, pregnancy or extreme weight loss.

Bromelain:Homeopathic derivative of the pineapple, this natural enzyme is an anti inflammatory which helps to dramatically reduce postoperative swelling. As always, consult with your physician before use.

Brow Lift: Also known as a Forehead Lift, this is a surgical procedure that makes a more youthful refreshed look to the area above the eyes by surgically stretching the skin upward. It corrects drooping brows and improves horizontal lines and crevices that can make a person appear to have a permanent emotion on their face.

Buttocks Lift/Augmentation: Surgery that changes the appearance, size, or height of the buttocks.

Cheek Implants: Implants inserted surgically into cheek area to make it more pronounced

Chemical Peels: Also known as dermapeeling or chemexfoliation, these procedures are performed by applying acid to the skin which causes swelling and erythema then peeling and crusting. The new skin is usually smoother and less wrinkled.

Chin Implants: Silicone or plastic surgically placed in chin area to change its appearance.

Compression Garments: Useful as an aid in reducing swelling and to promote the even healing of your skin. Seams are generally on the outside to avoid creases in your skin however you should also move the zippers and seams to avoid indentations in your skin. Wearing compression garments and following your physicians recommendations can increase blood circulation, help your skin fit to its new form, while clearing the body of harmful fluids, speed up the healing process, and get you back to your daily routine faster.

Contour Deformity: Due to aging or extreme weight loss, your body loses its symmetry.

Contouring Procedures: Surgeries that correct the loss of symmetry or shape of your body.

Cosmetic Surgery: Medical procedure that is used to improve physical appearance.

Corrective Surgery: Medical procedure used to correct deformities or genetic mutations to the body.

Dermabrasion: Surgical removal of skin blemishes or imperfections (as scars or tattoos) by abrasion.

Eyelid Surgery: also known as Blepharoplasty, it is used to remove fat or excess skin from above and below the eyes. It can correct drooping from around eyes but does not correct crows feet or other wrinkles.

Excess Skin Removal: A surgical procedure to remove skin from many different areas such as: Neck, Arms, Breasts, Abdomen, Hips, or Thighs. Often necessary after Weight Loss Surgeries such as Gastric Bypass.

Facelift: Also known as Rhytidectomy, this surgical procedure won't stop the aging process but it will help "set back the clock" by improving the visible signs of aging. It does this by removing excess fat, and tightening muscles and skin.

Facelift Preparation: Your Doctor will give you instructions on how to prepare for your surgery, what to eat, drink, whether or not to smoke, and what vitamins and medications to take or avoid. If you smoke, you may want to stop at least a week or two before and after surgery; smoking inhibits blood flow to the skin, and can interfere with the healing of your incision areas. Carefully following your physicians instructions will help your surgery go more smoothly. If your hair is very short, you might want to let it grow out before surgery, so that it's long enough to hide the scars while they heal. Whether your facelift is being done on an outpatient or inpatient basis, you should arrange for someone to drive you home after your surgery, and to help you out for a day or two if needed.

Fat Injections: Fat cells harvested from one fatty area of the body, then washed and injected in the area that needs plumping. About 30% improvement is possible each time, so it may take several injection surgeries for a permanent effect to be noticed.

First Stage Compression Garments: Stage one compression garments are designed with eye hooks and zippers to minimize friction and ease pulling against tender skin and incisions. Most physicians recommend that you wear them 24 hours a day. Keep at least two on hand so you always have a clean garment.

Forehead Lifts: Also known as a Brow Lift, this is a surgical procedure that makes a more youthful refreshed look to the area above the eyes by surgically stretching the skin upward. There are different techniques one is with the incision hidden just behind the hairline, the other is with the use of an endoscope, a viewing instrument. It can correct drooping brows and improves horizontal lines and crevices that can make a person appear to have a permanent emotion on their face.

Gastric Bypass Surgery:A surgery used for the morbidly obese only (100 lbs or more). The surgery can be done laproscopically (using multiple tiny incisions) or the open technique (1 large incision). There are many different types of Weight Loss Surgeries (WLS) available depending on your body type and weight loss goals.

Jaw Implants: Plastic or silicone pieces surgically placed into the jaw to change looks or improve appearance

Laser Skin Resurfacing: Also known as a "Laser Peel". A carbon dioxide (CO2) laser is used to remove the damaged or wrinkled skin, layer by layer. The procedure is used to minimize the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and scars.

Liposuction: Also known as Lipoplasty or Suction Lipectomy, this is a surgical procedure used to help sculpt the body by removing fat from a certain area. These areas include: abdomen, hips, buttocks, thighs, knees, upper arms, chin, cheeks, or neck. Liposuction also aids in reduction of areas that are harder to slim down with just exercise or diet.

Lumpectomy: Also known as a wide excision biopsy, this is a surgery that removes a tumor or cancerous lump from the breast and is an alternative to having the complete breast removed.

Mastectomy: Partial or complete removal of the breast.

Mastopexy: (or Breast Lift) Surgical procedure to raise and reshape sagging breasts. Many women also have this surgery after an implant is removed and not replaced.

Microdermabrasion: A skin-freshening technique that helps repair facial skin that takes a beating from the sun and the effects of aging. The plastic surgeon uses a device like a fine sandblaster to spray tiny micro aluminum oxide crystals across the face, mixing gentle abrasion with suction to remove the dead, outer layer of skin. As with other skin rejuvenation techniques, more than one treatment may be needed to reduce or remove fine wrinkles and unwanted pigmentation. Also available in at home treatments.

Nose Surgery: Also known as a Rhinoplasty, it can reduce or increase the size or shape of the nose, bridge, tip, or nostrils. It can also help to correct genetic mutations, birth defects and accident or burn injuries. Rhinoplasty can also help relieve some breathing problems.

Neck Lift: Surgery designed to reduce the loose sagging skin in the neck area and under the jaw line.

Panniculectomy: Surgery that removes the abdominal pannus ("apron") which is the flap that can hang from the stomach and sometimes over the genital areas. Sometimes necessary after severe weight loss.

Pannus: Stomach area that can flap over like an apron caused by morbid obesity or severe weight loss.

Plastic Surgeon: A doctor that specializes in cosmetic reconstruction and/or surgery.

Plastic Surgery: A surgical procedure that changes your physical appearance.

Post-Op: Post operative or after surgery.

Pre-Op: Pre operative or before surgery.

Rhinoplasty: Also known as a Nose Job, it can reduce or increase the size or shape of the nose, bridge, tip, or nostrils. It can also help to correct genetic mutations, birth defects and accident or burn injuries. Rhinoplasty can also help relieve some breathing problems.

Rhytidectomy: More commonly known as a Face Lift, it won't stop the aging process but it will help "set back the clock" by improving the visible signs of aging. It does this by removing excess fat, and tightening muscles and skin.

Roux-en-y: In this type of weight loss surgery (WLS), the stomach is stapled off into a small pouch. The patient cannot eat as much due to the smallness of the stomach therefore losing weight. Also because most of the stomach and the intestines are bypassed, they don't absorb as many nutrients and calories from food. This surgery is recommended for people who are over 100 lbs overweight.

Second Stage Compression Garments: Sized smaller to allow for reduction from swelling and for added compression. Many second stage compression garments are pull-on. Your physician will determine when you are ready to move into second stage garments.

Thighplasty: Also known as a Thigh Lift, this is a surgery that removes excess skin or fat from the inner or outer thigh. The scars are usually easy to hide and are located in bikini line areas.

Thigh Lift: Also known as a Thighplasty, it is a surgery that removes excess skin or fat from the inner or outer thigh. The scars are usually easy to hide and are located in bikini line areas.

Tummy Tuck: This is a procedure used to surgically remove excess fat or skin from lower or middle abdominal wall. This surgery can make your abdomen significantly smaller and skin tighter.

Upper Arm Lift: Brachioplasty, or "arm tightening" this Arm Procedure can eliminate loose or hanging skin from the upper arms. Aging or Severe weight loss can make the skin less elastic.