Types of Cosmetic Surgery

a doctor examines a woman's eyebrows to prep for cosmetic surgery

Cosmetic surgery, also known as aesthetic surgery, encompasses a wide range of procedures that modify or improve the appearance of a physical feature, irregularity, or defect.

There were 15.1 million total cosmetic procedures performed in 2013, ranging from minimally-invasive to complete reconstruction. If you are considering looking into cosmetic surgery for yourself, here is some information about the most common types of procedures.


Lipoplasty, or liposuction, is a cosmetic surgery that removes stubborn pockets of fat that don’t conform to your ideal body image. These fat pockets, commonly referred to as “saddle bags” or “love handles,” are usually around your torso and are removed using a vacuum through a small incision. Side effects may include swelling, bruising, and possible numbness around the area that was suctioned. Recovery times vary, but depending on how much fat was removed, you may feel well enough to go back to work in just a few days after the surgery. Costs will usually start at around $2,000.


Blepharoplasty is a kind of surgery that reshapes your eyelids. The purpose is to remove bagginess and tighten loose skin around your eyelids, but it will not remove the fine wrinkle lines. Swelling and bruising are common after the operation, but these will usually subside in a week to two weeks. Other side effects may include blurry vision, tearing up, and dry eyes. Costs will generally fall between $2,000 and $4,000.

Breast Augmentation

Breast augmentation surgery is when saline-filled bags or gel implants are placed between your breast tissue and chest muscle or between your chest muscles and your chest wall. The recovery process for this surgery varies from person to person, but you should be able to return to work anywhere from a few days to a week after surgery. However, you should abstain from any vigorous exercise for at least two to three weeks. Costs are typically around $3,000.


Rhinoplasty is a surgery performed to enhance the appearance of your nose and is commonly called a “nose job.” The surgeon can reshape your nose any way you like by removing skin and altering the structure of your nose using bone and cartilage. After this surgery, bruising and swelling will be worst in the first three days, but swelling might not go completely down for several weeks. After three weeks, you should be back to normal. Costs will usually fall around $4,000.


Rhytidectomy is the technical name for a facelift. This surgery is to remove excess face and neck skin by stretching the skin up towards the scalp, which tightens and smoothes it. Again, after the operation, there will be swelling and bruising that will last for at least two weeks. Another side effect you might experience is numbness in your face that can last for several weeks. It is important to stay out of the sun when recovering from this surgery. The cost of rhytidectomy will start at $5,000 but could be more.

Botulinum Toxin Injections

More commonly referred to as “botox,” injections of botulinum toxin are usually used to smooth frown lines and wrinkles around the eyes. The toxin paralyzes the muscles in the forehead so you will have decreased movement in this area. Usually there are no side effects or recovery time for this procedure, but sometimes you might experience swelling, bruising, or numbness. Unlike the other surgeries, the results are not permanent. To keep the appearance, injections must be repeated every three to four months. Each injection typically ranges from $300 to $400.

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