Glossary of Surgical terms – liposuction-abdominoplasty-lapband-surgery- tummy tuck

Capsular Contracture – A fibrous capsule that forms around some breast implants. It changes the shape of the implant to a sphere. This can be painful but often presents a change in the shape of the breast. Surgeons’ works on a grading system from 1 to 4 to measure the severity.

Grade I – the breast is normally soft and looks natural.

Grade II – the breast is a little firm however looks normal.

Grade III – the breast is firm and looks abnormal.

Grade IV – the breast is hard, painful and looks abnormal.

The rate of capsular contracture can be reduced with the help of using sub-muscular implants, using textured implants, using antibiotics and by minimal handling of the implants during surgery.

Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) – This is a blood clot which forms in the deep veins of the leg. It is caused by prolonged periods of immobilisation, like surgery and air travel. The clot can block the vein and cause painful leg onto the lungs via the blood stream. This is a dangerous condition called a pulmonary embolus (PE). This can cause severe shortness of breath and even death. The risk of DVT is increased by long surgery, smoking, obesity, oral contraceptive pill, hormone replacement therapy and certain blood disorders. The risk of DVT is reduced by heparin injections, wearing special stockings and using special foot or calf massaging devices.

Drain – This is a small plastic tube which is left in the surgical wound, which allows any residual blood to drain out of the wound after surgery. This prevents a haematoma forming. Drains are usually removed the day after the surgery. This is done on the ward by cutting any retaining suture and pulling gently. It is relatively painless.

Dressing – Dressing is used to cover the wound after surgery. The purpose of dressing is to collect any discharge from the wound, preventing infection entering the wound and to improve the aesthetic appearance of the wound. There are various varieties of dressing available in the market like Cotton gauze, paraffin coated gauze and modern polymer films are very popular.

Endoscope – A small telescope fitted to a camera used to look into body cavities and is often used to brow lift surgery.

Facial Nerve – The nerve which supplies the muscles in the face, it starts from behind the ear and spreads forward over the face. It is at risk of damage during facelift surgery.

FDA – Food and drug administration agency, this agency regulates the use of devices such a breast implants in USA.

General Anaesthesia – this is drug induced state of unconsciousness. An anaesthetist will use a combination of drugs and inhaled gases to put the patient into a state of sleep. When the patient is asleep he controls the breathing, level of consciousness, muscle tone and blood pressure. The anaesthetist also administers analgesic drugs to reduce pain levels and amnesic drugs to reduce the patients’ recollection of the surgical procedure.

Haematoma – A collection of blood that forms within a surgical wound. It is due to blood release from tiny vessels within the wound. It occurs after a small percentage of operations, usually within the first 48 hours of surgery, if the blood collection is not removed it can cause complications such as infection and skin necrosis. The wound is reopened, the blood clot removed and the wound is then re-sutured.

Hypersensitivity – Abnormal sensation which can occur when the nerve to a tissue is damaged. It can occur in skin, ears, breasts and the nipple.

Hypertrophic Scar – A prominent scar. A small percentage of scars will become hypertrophic. They become red, raised and itchy. This often begins a few months after surgery. It commonly occurs in wounds on the chest and shoulders and in wounds under tension. It can be improved with the use of topical silicone, steroid injections, pressure dressings and massage.

Hyperpigmentation – A darker area of skin due to an increase in the level of pigment in the skin.

Hypopigmentation – A reduction in the level of skin pigment causing a pale area of skin.

Keloid Scar – A thickened, lumpy scar occurs in small percentage of patients often with dark skin or a predisposition that runs in the family. It is most common on ears, chest and shoulders. Keloid scar can be treated with steroid injections, silicone and pressure.

Local Anaesthetic – Local anaesthetic is a substance which can be injected into a region of the body to block the nerves. This will eliminate the sensation of pain from this region of the body. The patient is still awake but will not feel any pain when a surgical incision is made.

Mammogram – A breast x-ray to exclude breast cancer.

Mastopexy – The operation to correct the shape of drooping breasts.

MHRA – The medicines and healthcare products regulatory agency. An executive agency of department of health in the UK. It regulates the use of breast implants in the UK.

Seroma – A seroma is collection of lymphatic fluid within the surgical wound. Lymphatic fluid is essentially blood without the red cells. It is a viscous yellow fluid. It appears as a swelling around the wound within first few weeks of surgery. It can often be removed by aspiration with a needle and syringe.

SMAS (Sub Muscular Aponeurotic System) – A layer of tissue in the face which lies directly over the facial nerve. When pulled upwards during a facelift, it will lift the overlaying fat and skin.

Subcutaneous Tissue – The layer of tissue directly beneath the skin which consists of fat.

Textured implants – The surface of most implants is made from solid silicone. Textured implants have a rough surface with many lumps on it. The rough surface is designed to prevent a capsule forming around the implant.

Umbilicus – Another name for Belly button.

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