Understanding the Anatomy of The Face For Plastic Surgery Patients interesting in facial surgery
When someone looks at you, the first thing they notice is your face. It’s your most distinctive feature. It gives you identity. It conveys emotions. It lets you communicate with others and let them know how you feel. If you’re happy, it shows on your face. If you’re sad, it shows on your face. If you’re excited, it also shows on your face.
This is why nearly everybody cares about how their face looks. Many people want to get rid of signs of ageing, like wrinkles, droopy eyelids, saggy cheeks, and blemishes. Others are just not satisfied with how certain parts of their face look and would like fuller cheeks, a wider chin, or a better-looking nose. Whatever it might be, you can improve any feature that you don’t like in your face. Our surgeons offer a wide variety of procedures, such as lifting procedures and dermal injections to enhance your facial aesthetics and help you look the way you want to look.
When you come in for a consultation, you must know a little bit about the anatomy of the face. This will help you better understand what your surgeon says and you’ll be able to know what can and can’t be done to improve your look. Keep reading to learn more about the face anatomy, common cosmetic conditions, and common related procedures.
Anatomy of the face
The face is made of skin, muscles, fat, and bones, from most superficial to most deep. In between these layers run a network of vessels that supply your tissue with blood, and nerves that provide sensation and control your facial muscles. The face can be divided into three main parts – upper, middle, and lower:
This is the region of your face extending from your hairline to your lower eyelids. Here are the different parts of the upper face:
- Forehead: Your forehead is made of skin, fat, and a deep layer of important muscles. The muscles of the forehead (like the occipitofrontalis and depressor supercilii muscles). These muscles move your eyebrows, elevating or depressing them, and hence play an important role in facial expression. Forehead wrinkles are a common problem that can be addressed by a forehead lift. Patients who have hollow temples can also benefit from dermal fillers, fat grafting, or forehead implants to augment the size of their forehead and improve its contour.
- Eyes: We’ve already talked extensively about the anatomy of eyelids in another article which you can check out. Your eyelids are made of skin and fat pads that cover the muscles that open and close your eyes – the levator palpebrae and the orbicularis oculi respectively. Blepharoptosis (droopy eyelids) and dermatochalasis (baggy eyelids) are two common conditions treated with blepharoplasty (eyelid lift surgery).
The middle face extends from your lower eyelids to just above your upper lip. It includes your cheeks, ears, and most of your nose:
- Nose: We’ve talked a lot about nose anatomy in another article. The nose is made up of bones and cartilage. Cartilage is a firm yet compressible tissue – it’s the soft part of your nose that makes the tip and sides. Your nose can be classified into 5 parts: The radix (the part between your eyes), the dorsum (also called the bridge, and it runs from your radix to your tip), the alae (the sides of your nostrils), the columnella (the straight column between your two nostrils), and the tip. The skin ridge right under your nose is called the philtrum, and its prominent sides are called the philtrum columns.
- Cheeks: Your cheeks are a very important feature of your face. Underneath the skin, the cheeks contain many fat pads that give them their volume and contour. These fat pads and skin form the nasolabial folds. These are your most prominent facial skin folds seen on either side of your nose. They are the folds that extend from the corners of our nose to the angle of the mouth. With ageing, many men and women develop droopy cheeks, which is to say that their nasolabial folds become saggy. This is usually treated with face lifting. In some people, the nasolabial folds are very flat, and fillers are injected to make their cheeks fuller. Cheek implants are also available for those who want bigger and perkier cheeks.
Several muscles are located under the cheek fat pads, such as the levator labii, zygomaticus minor, zygomaticus major, and the masseter muscles, which are responsible for moving your upper lip, flaring your nose, and chewing (mastication).
- Ears: Your ears are made of cartilage and skin, and the outer part is called the pinna or just the outer ear. Cosmetic problems of the ears include small ears, large ears, prominent ears, and ear injuries. These are usually fixed with an otoplasty (cosmetic surgery of the ear) or “ear pinning”.
The lower face is the area of your face extending from your upper lip to your chin at the midline and mandible on the sides. The structures of the lower face include:
- Lips: The lips are the most important part of your lower face. You use them to smile, eat, kiss and show emotions. Your lips are made of a layer of skin covering a large network of blood capillaries, which gives them their pink-red colour. A lot of cosmetic enhancements can be done to improve how your lips and mouth look. Dermal injections and fillers can remove wrinkles surrounding your lips or puff up your lips and make them bigger. Several muscles lie underneath your lips to control their movements, such as the orbicularis oris and the risorius muscles.
- Chin: Another name for the chin is “mental protuberance”. Underneath the tip of the chin, there’s a fat pad that gives it its shape. The chin can be enhanced to look narrower, wider, bigger, sharper, or less pointy with mentoplasty (chin plastic surgery). Chin implants can even be used for chin augmentation (make your chin look bigger). With ageing, the skin fords extending from each side of your mouth to the sides of your chin become more prominent. Doctors call these “marionette lines”, and they can be improved with a facelift.
- Jaw: A well-defined jawline is an essential cosmetic feature of the face. The jaw is made of skin and fat pads that cover your mandible. As you age, your jawline becomes less prominent and your “jowls” become droopy. A facelift can help you get rid of jowls and wrinkles and will contour your jawline.
Cosmetic surgeries of the face
There are a lot of cosmetic surgeries that can be done to improve how your face looks. Even minor changes can cause a huge enhancement in your overall aesthetics and facial proportions. These are some of the cosmetic procedures that we commonly offer to our patients:
- Forehead lift (brow lift): This is a commonly performed procedure for men and women who want to get rid of wrinkles and folds on their forehead. As you age, your skin starts to lose elasticity, and this might show on your temple and foreheads.
- Forehead augmentation: Some men and women have thin non-protruding foreheads or have hollow temples. Forehead augmentation using fat grafting or implants can be done to enhance the size of your temples and give your forehead a better protrusion and contour.
- Blepharoplasty (eyelid lift): Droopy eyelids and baggy eyelids are a very common problem in older men and women. Droopy eyelids can become annoying and interfere with your vision. Blepharoplasty is a simple surgical procedure to remove the excess skin from your eyelids and lift them back into their original place. It can be performed on your upper eyelid, lower eyelid, or both eyelids to give you younger-looking and more alert eyes.
- Cheek augmentation: A lot of women complain that their cheeks are thin and not big enough or that their cheekbones are starting to show. Cheek augmentation adds volume to your cheeks using injectable fillers, fat grafting, or implants to get rid of wrinkles and give you perky firm cheeks.
- Facelift (Rhytidectomy): A facelift is a frequently requested surgery that aims to rejuvenate your face and neck by reversing the signs of aging. During a facelift, your plastic surgeon removes the excess skin and tightens the skin on your cheeks, jaw, chin, and neck. A facelift is perfect for women and men who want to get rid of wrinkles, droopy jowls, saggy neck skin, deep facial skin folds, deep nasolabial folds, and marionette lines, all in one operation.
- Mini-facelift: A mini facelift entails a smaller incision compared to the full facelift, and it’s perfect for women and men who have mild to moderate (but not severe) signs of aging showing on their face.
- Otoplasty: Big and protruding ears can give your face a disproportionate look, and fixing them can do wonders. Otoplasty (ear pinning) is the cosmetic surgery of the ears. Depending on what you need, otoplasty can make your ears smaller, bigger, rounder, or less protruding.
- Mentoplasty: The chin is a prominent feature of our face. Mentoplasty can make your chin bigger, wider, smaller, narrower, or pointier so that it fits your desired look.
- Buccal fat removal: This procedure is done for women and men who want cheek dimples. A small piece of fat is removed from each side of your cheeks to produce a dimple.
- Rhinoplasty: Also known as “nose job”, and it’s probably the most cosmetically beneficial facial procedure. Even the slightest improvement in your nose can change the way your whole face looks. Whether you have a large dorsal hump, over- or under-protruding tip, flaring nostrils, wide nares, or a pointy or wide tip, rhinoplasty can fix all that and make your nose look the way you want it to.
- Dermal fillers: Many types of injectable fillers can be used to contour your face, give you volume, and reduce wrinkles. The results of dermal fillers are usually superb, however, injections must be repeated every few months.
- Laser therapy: Laser therapy can be very effective in reducing blemishes, regenerating skin, stimulating collagen, removing hemangiomas, scars, varicose veins, and redness. This can help your face look much younger and purer.
Your face is probably the most important part of your visual identity. No wonder why so many people strive to keep a healthy and young-looking face. Now that you know more about the anatomy of the face and the different procedures that can be done to enhance your looks, you can discuss your concerns more thoroughly with your plastic surgeon, and describe exactly what you want to achieve.