Facial plastic surgery can accomplish a great deal, subtly sculpting and shifting the muscles and tissues of the face to correct deformities or simply to give the face a more aesthetically pleasing appearance. However it would all be impossible without a thorough understanding of the skull itself. As a board certified plastic surgeon and otolaryngologist (head and neck surgeon) with more than twenty-five years of experience, I think of the skull as the underlying architecture, the foundation that supports all of the facial plastic surgery procedures that I perform. Here are a few interesting facts about this all-important area of the body.
The skull itself is made up of twenty-two distinct bones, joined together by fibrous bands of tissue called cranial sutures. During infancy and childhood, these sutures are flexible, allowing the brain to grow quickly while protecting it from minor impacts to the head. When the sutures fail to fuse correctly, a condition known as craniosynostosis, surgery is often necessary to correct the defects and prevent potential neurological side effects.
Fourteen Bones Make Up the Face Alone
The eight largest of the bones in the skull form the cranium, which serves as a protective case for the brain, while the remaining fourteen make up the structure of the face and jaw. These smaller facial bones can often be subtly shaped and sculpted during any of the various facial contouring procedures. Chin augmentation or reduction, for example, can use various techniques to either increase or reduce the size of the chin so that it better compliments the other facial features.
The Adult Skull Only Has One Moving Part
The jawbone, technically known as the mandible, is the largest and strongest bone in the skull, and technically the only bone in the skull that moves. Disease or traumatic injury to the jaw can affect the jaw’s alignment, causing a condition called malocclusion. Severe cases require treatment with surgical jaw realignment to reposition the jaw bone segments so that the teeth fit together more naturally.
The Nose Is Almost All Cartilage
There is only one bone, called the volmer, that helps provide stability for the structure of the nose. The rest is made up of flexible cartilage that can be easily molded and shaped. Injury or congenital defect can easily alter the structure of the nose, potentially affecting both appearance and functionality. However the flexibility of nasal cartilage makes it possible for a skilled plastic surgeon to alter the size and shape of the nose using rhinoplasty procedures.
Understanding how the various bones, muscles, and tissues that make up the face all work together is the first step towards achieving the most natural looking plastic surgery and facial rejuvenation results. If you are interested in any of the other facial plastic surgery procedures that I perform or would like to schedule a consultation to discuss your particular needs, I would welcome you to contact my office for additional information. Don’t forget to connect with me, Dr. Fernando Burstein, on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for the latest facial plastic surgery news.