There can be little doubt that the face is extremely important. As the focal point for the majority of our social interactions, it is the part of the body that we most associate with an individual’s personality and sense of identity. However, the social importance of the face is really just the tip of the iceberg. Few people really take the time to think about just how truly complex and fascinating the face can be. In the nearly thirty years that I have been a board certified plastic surgeon specializing in reconstructive and cosmetic facial plastic surgery procedures, I have come across a number of surprising facts about this often overlooked region of the body.
- The face has the largest range of muscle structure in the human body and forty-three of these muscles are directly linked to facial emotions. Facial muscles range in size and strength from the tiny levator muscles, which are responsible for raising the eyelids, to the masseter muscle in the jaw, which is the strongest muscle in the human body and can pull up to eighty times its own weight.
- What we know as the face starts out in two parts, growing from each side of the forming head towards the center between the 8th and 12th weeks of fetal development. The indention in the space between your nose and upper lip, called the philtrum, marks the point where the two halves joined. When the two halves of the face fail to merge completely, a small gap called a cleft lip or palate can be the result.
- Both your nose and your ears continue to grow throughout your life. These facial features, which are predominantly composed of cartilage, tend to lengthen and droop over time, as they gradually succumb to the effects of gravity and as proteins like elastin and collagen start to break down. Many of my older patients opt to undergo rhinoplasty (nose surgery) or otoplasty (ear surgery) to address these issues.
- There are twenty-one distinct mimetic facial muscles responsible for causing approximately 10,000 distinct facial expressions. They are the only muscles in the body that are directly attached to the skin, and their constant movement is largely responsible for facial lines and wrinkles. This is why Botox® injections, which temporarily relax facial muscles, help smooth and prevent wrinkles.
- Fourteen separate bones make up the underlying structure of the face and jaw, and the majority of these bones can be individually shaped and sculpted using a variety of facial contouring techniques. For example, chin surgery, or genioplasty, can subtly alter the projection of the chin so that it better compliments the other facial features.
Understanding the different structures of the face, and particularly how those structures work together, gives me a unique perspective. During a facial plastic surgery consultation, I can examine your face to determine the most subtle and natural-looking way to address your individual areas of concern. If you are interested in learning more about what different facial plastic surgery techniques that I perform may be able to do for you, please feel free to contact me, Dr. Fernando Burstein to schedule an appointment. Don’t forget to connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for the latest facial plastic surgery news.