Many people believe that cosmetic plastic surgery is literally only skin deep, but nothing could actually be further from the truth. In fact, whether it’s quick facial rejuvenation or intricate facial reconstruction, making subtle changes to the architecture of the face requires a detailed understanding of the complex and constantly shifting muscles and supporting tissues that lie deep beneath the skin’s surface. When you understand how the muscles that control facial expression really work, and how their actions can contribute to some of the more common signs of facial aging, it is easier to see exactly what cosmetic plastic surgery procedures might be right for you.
There are forty-three separate muscles in the human face, which together are capable of making more than 10,000 unique and identifiable facial expressions. The majority of these muscles are controlled by the seventh cranial nerve (also known as the facial nerve) which splits into five separate branches: the temporal, zygomatic, buccal, mandibular, and cervical. These branches reach different areas of the face, allowing them to move semi-independently. Unlike all of the other muscles in the body, the muscles of the face are directly attached to the skin. Although this allows for unparalleled freedom of movement, it is also the primary reason why the skin of the face is usually the first place where signs of aging, like lines and wrinkles, start to form.
When the muscles that are attached to the skin contract, the skin is pulled in a specific direction, and over the years, as this happens again and again, lines and creases start to form. These lines and creases are called dynamic facial wrinkles, and although the natural production of collagen and elastin in younger skin counteracts their formation to a degree, that production significantly lessens as we grow older, which is why wrinkles become an increasing problem. One of the most popular methods for counteracting the formation of dynamic facial wrinkles is with Botox® injectable cosmetic treatments. By temporarily relaxing the underlying facial muscles in key locations, Botox® injections effectively halt the process that makes wrinkles form for up to four months with a single ten-minute treatment.
The underlying tissues and muscles of the face can also make the face appear older because they are affected by gravity. Like all muscles in the body, facial muscles gradually grow weaker and less resilient over time. This means that they can slowly slide downward, potentially causing a hooded brow or sagging jowls. These issues can be specifically addressed with a forehead lift or a face lift, respectively. Both procedures work by gently lifting the underlying muscles back to their original position, reversing the effects of gravity and giving the entire face a more youthful appearance.
Every part of the body is interconnected, so even a relatively minor adjustment to a key area can often make a world of difference. If you are interested in learning more about any of the procedures that we perform at Atlanta Plastic Surgery and what they might be able to do for you, please contact Atlanta Plastic Surgery, P.C. at our Atlanta, Alpharetta or Cumming office to schedule an appointment for a consultation. Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for the latest plastic surgery news.