Abdominoplasty: Also known as a “tummy tuck”, this is a surgical procedure done under General anaesthetic to flatten your abdomen by removing extra fat and skin, and tightening your abdominal muscles if necessary.
Acne: A skin condition characterized by the excess production of oil from glands in the skin leading to plugging and abscess formation, ulitmately resulting in scarring in some cases.
Acne scar: Scars due to severe acne. They can range from superficial blemishes to deep pitting. Can be treated with LASER or other skin resurfacing and scar management techniques.
Age spots: Small flat pigmented (brown) spots that are most often seen on areas of the body that have been exposed to the sun over a period of years, especially the hands, forearms and face after the age of 40. They can be treated with LASER, IPL and other skin resurfacing techniques.
Albinism: An inherited disorder in which there is no pigmentation in skin, hair or eyes, due to the absence of melanin, the substance that gives skin its color. Patients skin is not naturally protected against UV irradiation and is prone to develop skin cancers.
Alopecia: The complete or partial loss of scalp hair due to trauma or some disease processes, chemotherapy / radiotherapy or occasionally extreme stress.
Areola: The pigmented area around the nipple
Axilla / Axillae: (pl): - the armpit(s)
Bariatric surgery: Surgery to assist weight loss or address the complications of massive weight loss such as loose skin folds.
Basal cell carcinoma: The most common form of skin cancer and the least serious. It is caused by the uncontrolled growth of basal cells of the skin often due to damage by exposure to ultraviolet light. Usually treated by excision.
Benign: A term used to describe non cancerous lesions
Blepharoplasty: A cosmetic surgical procedure that reduces bagginess and tired appearance of the eyelids. The procedure involves the removal of excess skin, muscle and underlying fatty tissue as required and can be done on either upper or lower eyelids or both. Often done in combination with a full facelift.
Biopsy: Sampling of body tissue such as skin in order to get a diagnosis of the condition. Incisional biopsies take a small piece of the lesion only whereas excisional biopsies aim to remove the lesion completely at the same time.
Brachioplasty: Surgery on the upper arm to remove excess skin and fat usually following weight loss.
Breast augmentation: A surgical procedure done to increase breast size. Usually done by inseting silicone implants under general anaesthetic.
Botox: The tradename for one form of botulinum toxin. A substance derived from bacteria but commercially produced. It is used to partially or completely paralyse small muscles in the face in order to reduce facial lines and wrinkling. It is also used to treat some forms of muscle spasm.
Brow lift: A surgical procedure in which the skin of the forehead and eyebrows is elevated to return the brow to a more youthful position and reduced forehead lines and wrinkles. It can be performed through minimal access incisions (endoscopic brow lift) in most patients.
Buttock Lift: Excess fat and loose skin in the buttock area can be reduced by performing a buttock lift in combination with liposuction.
Capsular contracture: One of the possible complications following breast augmentation with implants. The naturally formed scar tissue capsule around the implants becomes thickened and distorts the implant. This will often necessitate implant exchange and division or excision of the capsule.
Chemical peel: A process in which a chemical solution such as TCA or Phenol is applied to the skin to remove superficial dead skin cells and stimulate the production of new skin cells. This process is improves skin texture and may treat irregular pigmentation.
Cholasma: See "melasma"
Collagen: The major structural proteins in the skin that give the skin its strength and resilience. A major component of wound healing and scar tissue.
Columella: The column of skin at the base of the nose separating the nostrils.
Crows Feet: The fine lines found around the eyes in the temple area. They are often caused by age and sun exposure and exacerbated by smoking. They can be treated with botox.
Cryotherapy: Freezing of the skin in order to treat some lesions such as warts and superficial skin cancers
Currettage: Scraping a lesion off the skin. Some lesions are easily removed in this way and may get less scarring.
Debriding: The process of removing dead or devitalized tissue prior to reconstructive or cosmetic surgery.
Depilation: The removal of hair.
Dermabrasion: A surgical procedure in which a patient's upper layers of skin are removed with a fine powered sander. Often LASER is used preferentailly these days.
Dermatitis: An inflammation of the skin caused by an allergic reaction or contact with an irritant. Typical symptoms of dermatitis include redness and itching.
Dermis: The deeper layer of the skin which contains collagen, elastin, blood vessels, hair follicles, and sebaceous (oil) glands.
Deviated septum: A condition in which the nasal septum which divides the internal nose into two halves is not located exactly in the middle of the nose where it should be causing partial or complete airway obstruction and curvature of the nose. The condition is treated with a septoplasty or septorhinoplasty procedure.
Dysplasia: Abnormal tissue appearance when seen under the microscope.
Ectropion: An abnormal out turning of the lower eyelid which can occur with age or following lower eyelid surgery.
Elastin: A protein found with collagen in the dermis that is responsible for giving structure and elasticity to your skin.
Epidermis: The outer layer of the skin is also the thinnest layer, responsible for protecting you from the external environment and harmful sunlight. It is constantly being regenerated from the deeper layers.
Exfoliate: To remove the top layer of skin. Can be done by Chemical peels and LASER or dermabrasion.
Eye lift: A cosmetic surgical procedure that reduces bagginess and tired appearance of the eyelids. The procedure involves the removal of excess skin, muscle and underlying fatty tissue as required and can be done on either upper or lower eyelids or both. Often done in combination with a full facelift.
Facelift: Also known as a rhytidectomy (wrinkle removal). This is done by a variety of surgical techniques to reduce the sagging, drooping, and wrinkled skin of the face and neck.
Fat injections: Also known as ‘Coleman fat transfer’, this is a plastic surgery technique whereby fat is harvested from one area of your body by liposuction and transferred by injection to another area. It is used to correct deep facial folds or depressions in the skin contour anywhere in the body.
Freckle: Also known as ‘ephelides’, these are light or moderately brown spot that appears on the skin as a result of exposure to sunlight. Freckles are most common in people with fair complexions.
General Anaesthetic (GA): Being put to sleep for the duration of the procedure
Grafting: A procedure in which healthy skin is moved from one area of the body to another for reconstructive purposes such as closing a large wound. Grafts by definition, do not have a blood supply of their own and must pick one up from the surrounding area. This occurs in the first few days.
Gynaecomastia: Enlargement of the male breast tissue. This usually occurs at times when the male is having hormonal changes, such as during infancy, adolescence, and old age. Sometimes though, it can just be due to weight gain. It can be treated with liposuction but may need to be formally excised.
Haemangioma: A type of birthmark characterized by a collection of small blood vessels. They commonly referred to as strawberry marks or naevi. Commonly appearing a week or two after birth, the majority will dissappear over time but some require treatment.
Haematoma: Blood that collects under the skin usually as a complication of surgery, particularly in patients with a bleeding disorder or those who take blood thinning medications such as Aspirin, Warfarin and Clopidogrel. Treatment usually necessitates a return to the operating theatre to drain the blood and seal the leaking blood vessel.
Hyperhidrosis: Profuse sweating which can be treated with botox or sweat gland aspiration
Hyperpigmentation: A skin condition in which there is excessive pigmentation, often seen as dark areas on the skin.
Hypertrophic scar: An overgrown raised and red scar, similar in appearance to a keloid scar, but with diiferent causes and behaviour. By definition, a hypertrophic scar stays within the boundaries of the initial injury whereas a keloid does not. Hypertrophic scars may eventually settle spontaneously but can be encouraged to do so with regular massage, silicone dressings, pressure dressings and occasionally steroid injection. Scar revision may be required.
Hypopigmentation: A skin condition in which there is a lack of pigmentation leaving light areas.
Inflammation: Redness, warmth, swelling, and pain as a result of irritation, injury or infection. Also part of the normal wound healing response.
Jowl: Lax skin and fat that hangs below the lower edge of the jaw in old age. Treated with facelifting procedures.
Keloid scar: An overgrown scar that continues to grow beyond the boundaries of the initial injury. The tendency to develop keloid scars is inherited. Some areas of the body are prone to keloid scarring especially around the breast bone, shoulders and ears. Darker skinned races are also more prone as are red headed individuals and younger children. Such scars can be difficult to treat and a variety of techniques including, steroid injection, pressure and silicone dressings are employed.
LASER: Acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. Used to resurface skin; remove unwanted veins, hair, blemishes, and tattoos.
Lentigines: Or solar lentigines are small flat pigmented (brown) spots that are most often seen on areas of the body that have been exposed to the sun over a period of years, especially the hands, forearms and face after the age of 40. They can be treated with LASER, IPL and other skin resurfacing techniques.
Lesion: Any abnormal growth. Amny growths are referred to as ‘lesions’ until a definite diagnosis has been made.
Lip Augmentation: A procedure done to improve the deflated, drooping or sagging lips that occurs with age. It can also correct asymmetry and reduce fine lines and wrinkles. This is often done through injections or implants.
Lipoplasty: See "liposuction"
Liposuction: Also known as lipoplasty or liposculpture. A surgical procedure in which fat deposits are removed from beneath the skin using a suction device connected to a sterile cannula (metal tube) that is iserted beneath the skin through a series of very short incisions. It is not a suitable treatment for obesity.
Local Anaesthetic (LA): Use of injectable anaesthetic drugs to numb up the area to be operated on whilst the patient remians awake.
Macular stain: A small birthmark that is often nothing more than a small, mild, red blemish on the skin. Cab be treated with LASER.
Mammoplasty: Any reconstructive or cosmetic surgical procedure that alters the size or shape of the breast for example a reduction mammaplasty reduces breast size whereas an augmentation mammaplasty increases it.
Marionette lines: Vertical skin creases that extend from the corners of the mouth to the jaw
Mastectomy: The surgical removal of the breast usually for cancer tratment or prevention as well as for severly symptomatic benign beast disease.
Malignant: A term used to describe cancerous lesions that may be liable to spread and recurrence.
Mastopexy: Also known as a breast lift, this surgical procedure removes excess skin in order to lift up sagging or droopy breasts without affecting the overall breast volume. It may however be combined with a volume reduction or augmentation is desired.
Melanocytes: A skin cell in the epidermis responsible for producing the brown pigment melanin which gives the skin its colour as well as provising protection agains UV light. It also gives colour to the hair.
Melanoma: The most dangerous form of skin cancer which is derived from melanocytes. It is on the increse worldwide and can spread rapidly. Treatment usually inolves surgical excision and monitoring though some patients may require some form of chemo- or radiotherapy.
Melasma: A condition in which pigmentation of the cheeks of the face darkens into tan or brown patches. This condition occurs in half of all women during pregnancy.
Naevus / Naevi (pl): A benign growth on the skin that is usually but not always pigmented; also called a mole.
Nasolabial fold: The skin fold that extends from the side of the nostril to the corner of the mouth also known as smile or laughter lines.
Necrosis: Death of the tissues such as skin as a result of inadequate blood supply or injury.
Neoplasm: A tumour. Can be being or malignant (cancerous).
Otoplasty: Also known as a prominent ear correction or pinnaplasty, this is a surgical procedure done to correct misshapen or protruding ears.
Photo-aging: The changes that occur to the skin due to exposure to the sun. This includes wrinkles and age spots.
Port-wine stain: A type of haemangioma characterized by a red mark on the skin. Port-wine stains are caused by an abnormal concentration of capillaries. They are often flat to start with but may become lumpy in later years. They can be treated with LASER.
Ptosis: Drooping of a body part, commonly used when referring to the eyelids or the breasts.
Rhinophyma: A condition characterized by gradually enlargement and discolouration of the nose with enlarged pores. It is the result of skin and sebaceous gland overgrowth and proliferation of blood vessels. Usually treated with surgery.
Rhinoplasty: A cosmetic procedure used to enhance or change the appearance of the nose. Rhinoplasty is commonly referred to as a ‘nose job’. It is sometimes combined with surgery on the nasal septum (septo-rhinoplasty).
Rhytidectomy: Commonly called a facelift, this involves by a variety of surgical techniques to reduce the sagging, drooping, and wrinkled skin of the face and neck.
Scar Contracture: Scarring, usually over a joint, which results in a permanent tightening of skin and limits joint mobility. This often results from a burn or large wounds that take a long time to heal or become infected. This type of scar can be released with various surgical techniques.
Sebaceous glands: The glands of the skin that produce oils to moisten and protect the skin.
Seborrhoeic keratosis: A light tan to dark brown wart-like growth that characteristically appears "stuck on" to the surface of the skin. It is benign and can be removed by curettage.
Septoplasty: A surgical procedure done to improve the flow of air to your nose by repairing the malpositioned cartilage and bone of the nasal septum. The procedure is often performed along with a rhinoplasty (septorhinoplasty).
Sclerotherapy: A medical procedure used to treat thread veins and spider naevi. During the procedure, an injection of salt solution is placed directly into the vein.
Spider naevi: A samll vascular blemish on the skin with a central red spot and tiny branches radiating from it. It usually blanches with pressue and can be removed with LASER.
Squamous cell carcinoma: The second most common type of skin cancer. It is malignant and requires treatment usually by excision. They are more common in smokers and those with a history of excessive sun exposure.
Subcutaneous: A term referring to below the skin. This is usually the location of cysts and fatty lumps called lipomas.
SPF (Sun protection factor): Commonly seen on suntan lotion labels. This number approximates to the relative amount of time in the sun to equate to the same exposure to UV irradiation without the lotion applied. The higher the SPF, the greater the protection.
Suture: Also know as stitches, these are used to close wounds. They may be buried or exposed, dissolving or non-dissolving.
Umbilicus: The belly button or navel.
Xanthelasma: Yellowish cholesterol deposits in the skin around the eyelids which may be a sign of increased body cholesterol levels. Can be removed with surgery.
Z-plasty: A surgical technique using a z-shaped incision to lengthen a contracted scar and to re-orientate it in order to improve its appearance and / or release a scar contracture.