FIRST QUARTER 2007, VOLUME 21, NUMBER 4

Facial Symmetry? Contour and Reshape

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Facial Symmetry? Contour and Reshape

Figure 1. The Golden Proportion states that a well proportioned face is divided into three equal thirds when horizontal lines are drawn through the forehead hairline, the brow, the base of the nose, and the edge of the chin. A proportionate face is divided vertically into fifths with approximately the width of an eye. Aesthetic balance is considered ideal when the facial features fall within these paramters.
Figure 2. An attractive face exhibits a high degree of bilateral symmetry, that is, similarity between one side of the face and the other.

Look in the mirror at your features. Are they symmetrical? Have you seen your profile in a photograph recently and thought it could be better? Facial contouring is about reshaping your features to rejuvenate and refine your appearance. Your facial plastic surgeon may use implants, fillers, liposuction, or reduction to enhance your facial shape.

Younger patients typically request implants if they are trying to bring harmony to their face. For example, a patient may have chin augmentation in order to balance out a perceived larger nose or cheek implants to supplement an underdeveloped cheekbone structure. Older patients also augment their features to bring balance, as well as to fill out a face that appears sunken or tired. As we age, the skin begins to sag and the cheek area appears flattened. This can cause wrinkles around the mouth. A cheek implant restores fullness to the area and is permanent. Implants are typically placed through incisions in the mouth, so scars are not visible. The recovery period can be between one to two weeks, depending on the extent of your procedure.

Injectable fillers can be injected into your skin to plump up lines, creases, and depressed scars. They may also be used to add fullness to the cheek area or the lips. Fillers may include bovine collagen, Radiesse™, Restylane®, or others. There is no downtime associated with this procedure; however, most fillers provide temporary results, lasting between six and 12 months.

Liposuction removes excess fatty tissues to contour under the eyes and the chin and neck areas. This may be combined with other procedures such as blepharoplasty, facelift, or neck lift.

If your facial feature is too prominent, your physician may seek to reduce the structure. For example, if you feel your nose sticks out too far (projection of the nose), your facial plastic surgeon can reduce the overall size of the nose which will allow the tip to drop back toward your face or the tip cartilage may be manipulated upwards or removed to de-project the tip. Another type of reduction is when you have a bump on the nasal bridge (dorsum); this is reduced by using a file-like instrument to shave off and smooth down the excess bone.

If you are interested in revamping and reshaping your face, meet with your facial plastic surgeon to formulate the optimal plan for you. Besides implants, fillers, and liposuction, there are additional procedures and techniques that may meet your unique needs and should be discussed with your surgeon.