Endoscopy is a surgical technique that involves the use of an endoscope, a viewing instrument that allows a surgeon to see images of the body’s internal structures through very small incisions.
While endoscopic surgery has been used for decades in a number of different procedures, including gallbladder removal, tubal ligation, and knee surgery, it is relatively new to plastic surgery techniques.
Advantages of Endoscopy
All surgery involves risks and every incision leaves a scar. However, with endoscopic surgery, scars are more likely to be hidden, much smaller and some of the after effects of surgery may be minimized.
In a typical endoscopic procedure, only a few small incisions, each less than one inch long, are needed to insert the endoscope probe and other instruments. For some procedures, such as Breast Augmentation, only two incisions may be necessary. For others, such as a Brow Lift, three or more short incisions may be needed. The tiny eye of the endoscope’s camera allows a surgeon to view the surgical site almost clearly as if the skin were opened from a long incision.
Because the incisions are shorter with endoscopy, the risk of sensory loss from nerve damage is decreased. Also, bleeding, bruising and swelling may be significantly reduced. With the endoscopic approach, you may recover more quickly and return to work earlier than if you had undergone open surgery.
Endoscopic surgery may also allow you to avoid an overnight hospital stay. Many endoscopic procedures can be performed on an outpatient basis under local anesthesia with sedation.
Endoscopy in Cosmetic Surgery
- Abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck) – Endoscopy is sometimes used as an adjunct for selected patients who have lost abdominal muscle tone. Guided by the endoscope, the muscles that run vertically down the length of the abdomen may be tightened through several short incisions. Endoscopy is generally not used in patients who have a significant amount of loose abdominal skin.
- Breast Augmentation – Inserted through a small incision in the underarm, an endoscope assists in positioning breast implants within the chest wall. Endoscopy may also assist in the correction of capsular contracture (scar tissue that sometimes forms around an implant, causing it to feel firm), and in the evaluation of existing implants.
- Brow Lift – Of all the cosmetic procedures that use endoscopy, a Brow Lift is the most common. Instead of the usual ear-to-ear incision, three or more puncture-type incisions are made just at the hairline. The endoscope serves as a guide in removing the muscles that produce frown lines, and repositioning the eyebrows at a higher level.
- Facelift – Although the traditional Facelift procedure is still the best choice for most patients — especially those with a significant amount of excess skin — certain individuals may benefit from an endoscopically assisted procedure. When an endoscope is used, the customary incision along, or in the hairline is usually eliminated. Instead, small incisions may be strategically placed in areas where the most correction is needed. To tighten the loose muscles of the neck, incisions may be concealed beneath the chin and behind the ears. The endoscope may also assist in the positioning of cheek and chin implants.
Is Endoscopy Right For Me?
For decades, endoscopy has been used successfully in orthopedic, urologic, and gynecologic procedures. Improved technology now permits endoscopy to be used by plastic surgeons.
If performed by an experienced, well-trained plastic surgeon, endoscopic procedures may provide the same results as open-method procedures, but with less scarring.
In some cases, endoscopic surgery may require less recovery time than is usually required for open procedures.
Patients who tend to be the best candidates for cosmetic endoscopic procedures are:
- Those who don’t have large amounts of loose hanging skin
- Patients with loose facial or abdominal skin
- Brow Lift
During your initial consultation, our skilled surgeons will discuss your expectations as well as your long-term goals, and determine whether you can benefit from an Endoscopic procedure.
Be sure to ask questions: It’s very important to address any concerns you have with our experienced staff. All successful surgeries begin with open and honest communication between doctor and patient. Are you considering plastic surgery? Contact us to schedule a consultation and let us educate you about your options and the procedures available.