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March 20, 2024

Top Plastic Surgery Techniques Used for Cosmetic Procedures

Written by: Dr. Dahlia Rice. Posted in: Blog

Plastic Surgery Techniques

Approximately 16 million cosmetic procedures are performed annually by board-certified surgeons in the United States. These cosmetic procedures range from reconstructive plastic surgery procedures to purely elective surgical procedures. Thanks to the experience and skills of these highly qualified plastic surgeons, the results are usually more than satisfactory — which is why many of these procedures are so popular.

If there’s one thing that all successful plastic surgeons have in common, it’s the specific techniques used to perform cosmetic surgery. Understanding how the surgery is performed is an essential part of the consultation for men and women considering plastic surgery.

The Most Common Cosmetic Plastic Surgery Procedures

If you had to guess, you’d probably say that fat removal and breast augmentation are the most popular plastic surgery procedures performed in the US — and you would be right!

Of course, the list is a bit longer:


Several liposuction procedures are available, and they’re all used to eliminate fat from specific areas of the body. The two primary types of fat removal procedures include:

  • Tumescent liposuction: This involves anesthesia, a vasodilator to narrow the vessels, saline to treat the area, and a cannula to suck out the fat.
  • Ultrasonic-assisted liposuction (UAL): This involves a cannula as well but uses ultrasonic energy to break up and melt fat before sucking it out.

Breast AugmentationOperative Techniques In Plastic Surgery

Breast surgery usually involves saline or silicone implants and is typically performed for the following reasons:

  • To enlarge the breasts
  • To make the breasts more symmetrical in size
  • To create breasts that don’t naturally develop during puberty (congenital macromastia)

Several types of procedures fall under the breast procedures umbrella, including:

  • Breast lift: Medically known as mastopexy, these procedures are used to restore and reposition sagging breasts and loss of volume due to weight loss and the effects of pregnancy.
  • Breast reduction: Also known as reduction mammaplasty, a breast reduction is typically performed to alleviate women of very heavy or very large breasts, which cause chronic neck and back pain. It also addresses asymmetrical breasts.
  • Breast reconstruction: One of the most common reconstructive plastic surgery procedures is breast reconstructive plastic surgery. The goal of the surgery is to restore the breasts to their near-natural shape and appearance following a mastectomy, lumpectomy, or other deformity.


Abdominoplasty—commonly referred to as a tummy tuck—is a surgical procedure that removes excess skin from the abdominal area and tightens it. It is most commonly performed on women who have undergone multiple pregnancies and bariatric patients.


Blepharoplasty, or eyelid surgery, refers to two distinct eyelid-reshaping procedures:

  • Upper blepharoplasty: Also known as the eyelid lift, the cosmetic surgery is typically performed to address sagging eyelids that obstruct vision.
  • Lower blepharoplasty: Lower blepharoplasty removes the fat pads beneath the eye that contribute to undereye bags. The overlying skin is also usually tightened to prevent sagging.


Rhinoplasty, also known as the “nose job,” is another popular cosmetic and sometimes reconstructive surgery that aims to reshape the nose to make it more proportionate to the face. Plastic surgeons who specialize in rhinoplasty often take great care to decide whether to reduce the overall size of the nose or specific areas to ensure the most natural and complementary appearance.

Rhinoplasty is also commonly performed with septoplasty, which is the plastic surgery used to treat deviated septums that affect breathing.

The Most Common Plastic Surgery Techniques Used

There are many different operative techniques in plastic surgery used to perform cosmetic and reconstructive procedures.

The most common plastic surgery techniques include:

Endoscopic Surgery

Endoscopic surgery involves the use of a tubular probe known as an endoscope. The endoscope has a bright light and a tiny camera inserted into the incision site. The camera transmits images back to a screen so the surgeon can get an ideal view of the site.

Endoscopic surgery is what allows for minimally invasive procedures and minimal scarring.

Flap Surgery

Flap surgery moves healthy, live tissue from one body area to another. It is often performed on areas where skin, fat, muscle movement, and skeletal support have been lost.

Several types of flap surgery procedures can be used depending on the area of the body that needs repair:

  • Local flap: Local flap surgery is performed next to an existing wound. The skin remains attached during local flap surgery to ensure the blood supply remains in tact.
  • Regional flap: This technique uses a section of the tissue that’s attached by specific blood vessels.
  • Soft tissue/bone flap: This technique is used when bone and its overlying skin are moved to a different area of the body.
  • Musculocutaneous flap (muscle and skin): This technique is typically used during reconstructive plastic surgery, where an area requires more bulk and an increased blood supply.
  • Microvascular free flap: This technique detaches and re-attaches skin and blood vessels from one area of the body to another. It’s usually followed by microsurgery to re-attach the blood vessels as well.

Laser Technology

Laser technology is among the new plastic surgery techniques used, as it minimizes bleeding, bruising, and scarring. Depending on the type of surgery and its location, plastic surgeons will use many types of lasers.

Skin Grafts

A skin graft is designed to cover damaged skin or lost skin. Skin graft procedures involve removing healthy skin from one area of the body (the donor site) to another to restore the appearance and function elsewhere.

There are a few different types of skin grafts that address the size and location of the area in need:

  • Full-Thickness Skin Graft: This procedure is used to treat large wounds and scars in addition to weight-bearing areas. These grafts use all layers of the skin, including the blood vessels.
  • Split-Thickness Skin Grafts: This procedure is used to treat burn wounds and non-i bearing areas of the body. These grafts only use the top layers of the skin rather than extra skin and tissues.
  • Composite Skin Grafts: This procedure is used to provide repaired skin with extra underlying support. It often involves using all layers of skin in addition to excess fat and cartilage from the donor site.

New Plastic Surgery TechniquesTissue Expansion

Tissue expansion involves inserting a balloon-like device (an expander) beneath the skin. The expander is slowly filled with a liquid to help stretch and expand the skin over time.

Tissue expansion encourages the body to grow extra skin to help repair lost or damaged skin, especially in large areas of the body.

Plastic Surgery Technique FAQs

What is the newest cosmetic surgery technique out there?

Many different techniques are considered new, including microsurgery, myocutaneous flaps, and craniofacial surgery.

What kind of technology is used most during surgical procedures?

Laser technology is most commonly used during surgery procedures as it is minimally invasive, involves less bleeding and bruising, and leaves fewer scars.

What are the limitations of aesthetic procedures?

Unrealistic expectations are the greatest limitations of aesthetic procedures. These procedures aim to correct specific issues. They are not meant to make you look like someone else or reach a certain level of perfection.

Book Your Plastic Surgery Consultation Today

If you’re considering an aesthetic procedure to address a deformity, wound, asymmetry, or former surgery, you’ll want to enlist female plastic surgeon Dr. Dahlia Rice’s services.

Contact DMR Aesthetics’s professional and caring medical aesthetics team today to book your consultation and learn more about our cosmetic services.


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