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Following is a list in alphabetical order in which we try to give a simple definition to the most frequently used terms in our field:


abdominoplasty – a procedure that minimizes the abdominal area. In abdominoplasty, the surgeon makes a long incision from one side of the hip bone to the other. Excess fat and skin are surgically removed from the middle and lower abdomen and the muscles of the abdomen wall are tightened. Read more.

abscess – a local accumulation of pus in the deeper layers of the skin which tends to drain to the surface.

abrasion (dermoabrasion) – mechanical action which destroys the outer skin layers.

abrasives – small round particles which are added to cosmetic products to eliminate materials on the skin’s surface, to help in the mechanical cleaning of the teeth and improve their shine. A substance’s abrasive capacity is determined by the particles’ hardness, size and shape.

acne – skin disease that results from the blocking of sebaceous secretions and from alterations of inflammatory or infectious nature of the sebaceous glands, which range from a simple functional disorder (acne vulgaris) to acne rosacea, with dilatation of the cutaneous venules.

aesthetic plastic surgery – one type of plastic surgery performed to repair or reshape otherwise normal structures of the body, primarily to improve the patient’s appearance and self-esteem.

alcat (test) – blood test designed to determine food intolerances or sensitivities.

alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) – AHAs are natural components derived from food sources which, since the last few years, have been used very frequently for the cosmetic treatment of wrinkles and photoaging, due to their hydrating capacity. When used in high-concentrations (50-70%) along with a very low pH, they have exfoliating effects and are used as a chemical peeling. AHAs diminish the cohesion between corneocytes at the innermost levels of the stratum corneum, provoking a thinning of the stratum corneoum and so with increasing its flexibility. Therefore, AHAs are used today in cosmetics due to their moisturing, exfoliating and loosening power. Studies made on photo-aged skin have shown a physiological and structural improvement which counteracts the harmful effects caused by the ultraviolet rays.

alopecia – natural or abnormal hair deficiency. It is considered as such when the person suffers over 25% of hair loss.

amastia – congenital absence of breast tissue. It is associated with malformations in the chest wall, upper limbs and other organs.

anesthesia – lack of a normal sensation brought on by an anesthetic drug.

anomaly – a health problem or feature not normally present in a healthy individual; a deviation from the normal.

anotia – refers to the generally unilateral absence of the external ear, the auricle. Read more.

anti-wrinkle – anti-wrinkle products should cause one or more of the following effects:
-. Stimulation of epidermic mitosis and inhibition of keratinisation.
-. Stimulation of the activity of the sebaceous glands.
-. Stimulation of protein synthesis (like collagens, elastine and muscular proteins).
-. Stimulation of hyaluronic acid, responsible for the hydration of the skin.
Anti-wrinkle cosmetic products are designed to reduce and improve the look of wrinkles. Wrinkles cannot disappear, but the important thing is to improve or reduce the unaesthetic effect they cause without eliminating the personality, because in some cases, wrinkles make a face even more attractive.

anticellulites – products with anticellulite effects can be sorted into three groups:
-. Substances that act on the fibres of the conjunctive tissue.
-. Agents which affect the drainage of the fundamental substance of the skin.
-. Agents that facilitate the movement of fats.
Cellulite elimination can also be achieved through aesthetic techniques such as: circulation massages, lymphatic drainage, pressotherapy and hydrotherapy.

anti-aging – the loss of skin firmness and elasticity occurs at different rates and different times in one individual as compared to another. Skin type, aggressive environmental factors, type of diet, etc., are going to be determining factors. Effective anti-aging products are antioxidants, silicone, hyaluronic acid, collagen, elastine and alpha hydroxy acids(AHAs).

Apert syndrome – a craniofacial abnormality characterized by an abnormal head shape, small upper jaw, and fusion of the fingers and toes.

areola – a darker pigmented area surrounding the nipple of the breast.

asymmetry – lacking symmetry; parts of the body are unequal in shape or size.

atelia – absent nipple development.

atrophy – partial or total loss of the qualities of tissue or an organ, including their components.

augmentation mammoplasty – the surgical procedure to increase the size of the breast using a an artificial implant, filled with a saline solution or silicone.

aureola – see areola.

autologous tissue breast reconstruction – the use of the patient’s own tissues to reconstruct a new breast mound. The common technique is the TRAM (transverse rectus abdominous muscle) flap. A TRAM flap involves removing an area of fat, skin and muscle from the abdomen and stitching it in place to the mastectomy wound.


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baggy eyelids (also known as “palpebral bags”) – baggy eyelids are darker skin patches that appear in the lower eyelid. Their origin is not well known, although two possibilities are considered: skin hiperpigmentation that can be due to genetic reasons or an accumulation of blood with small hematomes that are visible through the skin, which is thinner and more transparent in this area.

biopsy – microscopic study to reveal the benign or malign nature of human tissue fragments.

blepharoplasty (also called eyelid lift) – a surgical procedure in which the surgeon removes excess of fat, muscle and skin from both the upper and lower eyelids to redefine the shape of the eye.

Bichat’s fat pad – an encapsuled mass of special body fat in the cheek, with different metabolism in comparison with the rest of normal fat.

botulinum toxin – a neurotoxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. It specifically blocks the release of acetylcholine which causes a temporary muscle paralysis. It is a simple and efficient method for treating expression lines.

breast augmentation (technically known as augmentation mammoplasty) – a surgical procedure to reshape the breast in order to make it larger. This procedure can also be performed to reconstruct the breast following breast surgery.

botox – natural chemical product derived from a bacteria which is injected into the muscles on the forehead to temporarily relax the muscles and erase the wrinkles caused by their contraction.


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Carpenter syndrome – a birth defect that typically includes traits such as abnormally short fingers, webbed toes, extra toes, underdeveloped jaw, highly arched palate, widely spaced eyes, and/or low-set, deformed ears. Half of patients with Carpenter syndrome also have heart defects.

cellulite – fat storage in the adipose cells in the hypodermis. The connective strands, that envelop adipose cells, stiffen, swell and pull down the skin at their attachment points. This gives rise to some sections of skin being held down while others bulge outward (orange peel skin).

cheiloplasty – the plastic surgery procedure to remodel the lips.

chemical peeling – a procedure which uses a chemical solution in order to improve the skin’s appearance. It can reduce or eliminate fine lines under the eyes and around the mouth, correct uneven skin pigmentation, remove pre-cancerous skin growths, and soften acne or treat the scars caused by acne.

Chvostek-Weiss sign – the spasm of the facial muscles elicited by gently tapping the facial nerve in the region of the external orbital angle.

cleft lip – an abnormality in which the lip does not completely form. The degree of the cleft lip can vary greatly, from mild (notching of the lip) to severe (large opening from the lip up through the nose).

cleft palate – this physical anomaly takes place when the roof of the mouth does not completely close, leaving an opening that can extend into the nasal cavity. The cleft may involve either side of the palate. It can extend from the front of the mouth (hard palate) to the throat (soft palate). The cleft may also include the lip.

collagen – collagen is a fibrous protein, structural component of the conjunctive tissue. It accounts for up to 70% of the weight of the skin and 25% of the proteins in mammals. Collagen is responsible for the elasticity, tone and flexibility of the skin. Collagen used in cosmetic products is usually derived from animal tissue. Aging and excessive sun exposure, damage the collagen fibres in the connective tissue and promote wrinkling of the skin and other signs of aging. Cosmetics manufacturers have highlighted collagen as a new important ingredient, although experts agree that it cannot affect the skin’s own collagen.

collagen/fat injectable fillers (also called soft-tissue augmentation) – a plastic surgery technique used to correct wrinkles, depressions in the skin, and/or scarring.

computed tomography scan (also called a CT or CAT scan) – a diagnostic imaging procedure that uses a combination of x-rays and computer technology to produce cross-sectional images (often called slices), both horizontally and vertically, of the body. A CT scan shows detailed images of any part of the body, including the bones, muscles, fat, and organs. CT scans are more detailed than general x-rays.

congenital – present at birth.

contracture – an abnormal condition of a joint caused by a loss of muscle fibers or a loss of the normal flexibility of the skin.

coronal suture – the joining line (suture) between the frontal and parietal bones of the skull that crosses the top of the skull from temple to temple.

capsular contracture – the most common complication of breast reconstruction surgery; occurs if the scar or capsule around the implant begins to tighten.

craniofacial – pertaining to the head (skull) and face.

craniosynostosis – a condition in which the sutures (soft spots) in the skull of an infant close too early, causing problems with normal brain and skull growth. Premature closure of the sutures may also cause the pressure inside of the head to increase and the skull or facial bones to change from a normal, symmetrical appearance.

Crouzon’s syndrome – a birth defect characterized by abnormalities in the skull and facial bones, this syndrome often causes the skull to be short in the front and the back. Flat cheek bones and a flat nose are also typical of this disorder.


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depilation and epilation -the act or result of removing hair from legs, face and armpits. Classical epilation is done with warm wax applied in long strips which are left to cool on the skin and then are pulled off with one quick motion in opposite direction of hair growth. Waxing should not be done on people with varicose veins or poor circulation. Cold wax has evolved and is equally effective and even faster than warm wax. It is very efficient with long hairs, case in which it is necessary to previously warm the strips, by rubbing them in the hands, to facilitate their application. Depilation is the use of a chemical that dissolves part of the hair shaft. This procedure can cause skin irritation. Wash the product immediately off the skin if it produces itching. A very common form of depilation still is shaving, because it’s a fast, easy and effective hair remover. Results last less because the hair is cut and not removed at its root. The procedure must be repeated every two to three days. There are electric epilators currently on the market fitted with spirals. They are fast and easy to use, although the procedure must be repeated approximately every two weeks.

dermabrasion – a procedure that removes fine wrinkles and/or minimizes scars on the skin; it involves the surgeon utilizing a high-speed rotating brush to remove the top layer of skin. The size and depth of the scars, as well as the degree of wrinkling, determine the appropriate level of skin that will be surgically sloughed.

dermaplaning – a plastic surgery technique used to treat deep acne scars with a hand-held instrument called a dermatome.

dermatome – an instrument that resembles an electric razor and has an oscillating blade that moves back and forth to evenly “skim” off the surface layers of skin that surround the craters or other facial defects.

dermolipectomy – the surgical procedure to correct skin and fat excess in any body part: arms, legs, abdomen, buttocks, etc.

dysmorphophoby – also called body dysmorphic disorder or syndrome of body image disparagement. It is a distorted perception and valuation of the body which consists of an exaggerated preoccupation with an imagined body defect or an excessive devaluation of possible physical anomalies, which an apparently normal individual may have.


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ectropion – the outward turning of an edge; it generally refers to a rare condition of the eyelid in which the epithelium or lining of the eyelid is exposed. Read more

elastomer – elastomers are rubber-like substances with natural properties which can be stretched to at least twice or three times its original length and which, upon release of the stress, will immediately return to its original length. Synthetic elastomers have identical properties and are even better than the natural ones.

endermologie – (LPG) or endermology is a deep massage technique that uses a high-tech machine that pulls the skin upward with a suction device where it is kneaded between two mechanical rollers. This kneads the skin and increases blood and lymph circulation to the deepest skin layers.

endoscopy – the procedure in which a lighted viewing instrument (endoscope) is used to look inside a body cavity or organ to diagnose or treat disorders.

endoscope – a small, flexible tube with a light and a lens on the end used to look inside an organ or cavity such as the esophagus, stomach, duodenum, colon, or rectum.

expander – the procedure used to stretch skin so that it can later cover defects (scars, for example) it didn’t reach before. A silicone balloon is inserted underneath the skin and then gradually filled with a saline solution.

expander/implant breast reconstruction – the use of an expander to create a breast mound, followed by the placement of a permanently filled breast implant.

eyebags – one of the major reasons for puffy eyes is water retention. During sleep a poor lymphatic circulation causes a small oedema. Other causes are lack of sleep, tiredness, a poor diet, smoking and excessive alcohol intake. The bags disappear through out the day, because constant blinking stimulates drainage and lymph evacuation. They are a natural result of the aging process due to skin sagging and the only way to correct this, is through aesthetic surgery. A healthy lifestyle, as well as, gently tapping the skin under the eyes in order to increase the drainage and speed the reabsorption of fluids that cause the swelling, will help delay their appearance. Cosmetic treatments in gel form are the best option due to their texture, with the advantage that they can be used during the day. Current cosmetics contain active ingredients (soothing, decongesting, stimulating and firming agents) that jointly fight against crow’s feet, eyebags and dark circles under the eyes.


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facial implant – the cosmetic plastic surgery to change the shape of the chin, check, or jaw. This procedure is typically done to enhance certain facial features, or to bring a certain aspect of the face into proportion with the rest of the facial structures.

firmness – the skin losses its firmness due to aging although it can also disappear prematurely due to other reasons (pregnancy, a sedentary lifestyle). To recover skin firmness, from a mechanical point of view, it is possible to recur to physical exercise or massaging. In the first case, muscle mass is tonified, which in turn tenses other tissues. Whereas with a massage, an increase in blood and lymphatic circulation is also achieved.

flap – a flap is a segment of live skin and subcutaneous tissue which is moved from one location of the body to another with a direct blood supply (pedicule).

flap surgery – one type of surgery that involves transporting healthy, live tissue from one location of the body to another – often to areas that have lost skin, fat, muscle movement, and/or skeletal support. There are several different types of flap surgery methods that may be used, depending upon the location of the flap and the structures that need to be repaired.

forehead lift – the surgical removal of excess fat and skin, as well as a tightening of the muscles in the forehead area. It can correct sagging brows or deep furrows between the eyes. It is often done in conjunction with a facelift in order to create a smoother facial appearance overall.

free radicals – free radicals produced by ultraviolet radiation are a source of pathological alterations. These highly reactive molecules intervene in many metabolic processes. Theories on free radicals hold these molecules responsible for aging, due to their interaction with other molecules.


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growth factors – growth factors are small biologically active protein fragments of the cytokine group. Although GFs are produced and segregated by all cells in the organism as a response to specific stimuli, they can be found in greater proportion in platelets, macrophages and plasmatic proteins. When these substances (cytokines) bind to cytokine receptors in the cell membrane, the cell activates or inhibits its functions.

gynecomastia – a condition in which the male’s breast tissue enlarges. Gynecomastia literally means “woman breast.” This increase in tissue usually occurs at times when the male is having hormonal changes, such as during infancy, adolescence, and old age.


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hematoma – blood that collects under the skin or in an organ.


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incision – the opening made with a scalpel that is done to reach a certain part inside the body.


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keloid – overgrown skin of varied coloring and hard, firm and elastic consistency with a big quantity of fibrous tissue at the base. It can be due to scar hypertrophy.

keloid scar – large shaped scars caused by excess collagen production.


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lifting – term used for different procedures such as the procedure which raises sagging breasts (breast lifting) or the procedure performed on the skin of the face to smoothen it (facial lifting). There are different types of liftings: traditional, subaponeurotic… depending if the aim is to separate or stretch skin, muscle and skin or all the tissue over the bone.

lip fissure – see cleft lip.

liposuction – a procedure that removes excess fat through a suctioning process. Although liposuction is not a substitute for weight loss, it is a way of changing the body’s shape and contour.


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macrodactyly – a congenital problem in which there is an abnormal growth of a finger.

macrotia – big ears.

mastectomy – the surgery to remove a portion of or all of the breast.

mastitis – absceso de la mama. Infección del tejido mamario generalmente por gérmenes que se introducen por grietas o fisuras del pezón.

maxillofacial – pertaining to the jaws and face.

mastopexy – a breast lift that removes excess skin from the breast and relocates the nipple to a higher position, in order to correct breast sagging caused by pregnancy, nursing or the force of gravity.

mentoplasty -the surgery procedure that can strengthen the appearance of a receding chin by increasing its projection with an artificial implant.

mesotherapy – the medical treatment of affections that involves injections of various substances.

microtia – very small ears.

minilifting – a lifting procedure (a surgery procedure that stretches the skin) in which a small incision is made in the preauricular zone of face and neck and the skin is slightly lifted. It is usually used to correct small wrinkles or slight sagging around the neck level.


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nasal – relating to the nose.

necrosis – death of tissues, skin, fat, muscle, bone, etc.


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otoplasty (also called ear surgery) – a type of cosmetic plastic surgery procedure aimed at setting prominent ears closer to the head, or reducing the size of large ears, and gaining a more natural result.


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paresia – decrease in voluntary movement of a part of the body. They can be secondary to lesions of the upper motor neuron, lower motor neuron or neuromuscular plaque.

paresthesia – paresthesia is an abnormal sensation of tingling, pricking, burning, or numbness of the skin and in the peripheral nerves.

partial abdominoplasty – procedure which involves minisurgery to reduce the volume of the abdomen. This procedure is ideal for those people who have fat deposits limited to the area below the navel.

Pfeiffer syndrome – a birth defect characterized by abnormalities of the skull, hands, and feet.

plastic surgery – the surgical specialty that deals with the reconstruction of facial and body tissue that requires a reshaping or remoulding due to disease, a defect, or disorder – in order to approximate a normal appearance or to repair working ability.

polydactyly – a congenital problem characterized by an increase in the number of fingers or toes.


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reconstructive plastic surgery – one type of plastic surgery that is performed on abnormal structures of the body that may be caused by trauma, infection, developmental abnormalities, congenital defects, disease, and/or tumors. This type of surgery is usually performed to improve function, but may also be performed to approximate a normal appearance.

reduction mammoplasty – thesurgical procedure to reduce the size of the breast by removing fat and skin excess.

rhinoplasty – the surgical repair of a defect of the nose, including reshaping or resizing the nose. Rhinoplasty may be performed to change the size of the nose, change the shape of the nose, narrow the nostrils, and/or change the angle between the nose and lips. Rhinoplasty involves the resculpting of the bone and cartilage of the nose.

rhytidectomy (also called facelift, rhytidoplasty or lifting) – a surgical procedure that involves the removal of excess facial fat, the tightening of facial muscles, and the stretching of facial skin – to approximate a smoother, firmer appearance. The procedure takes place on the face, neck, or both.


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Saethe-Chotzen – a birth defect characterized by an unusually short or broad head. In addition, the eyes may be spaced wide apart and have droopy eyelids, and fingers may be abnormally short and webbed.

scar – the body’s natural way of healing and replacing lost or damaged skin. It is usually composed of fibrous tissue. Scars may be formed for many different reasons, including as a result of infections, surgery, injuries, or inflammation of tissue.

septoplasty – the surgical correction of defects and deformities of the nasal septum (the partition between the nostrils).

skin grafts – a skin graft may be used to cover skin that has been damaged and/or is missing. This surgical procedure involves removing healthy portions of skin from one part of the body to restore normal appearance and/or function to another portion of the same body. The location where the skin is removed is called the donor site. There are various types of skin grafts that may be utilized, depending upon the size and location of needed skin.

SMAS – “superficial musculoaponeurotic system”. It is the name used for the procedure in which the surgeon lifts and stretches the skin from the underlying facial muscles.

syndactyly – a congenital problem characterized by a union of fingers or toes.


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tissue expansion – a surgical procedure that involves inserting a balloon-like device (called an expander) under the skin. The expander then slowly secretes liquid into the area to be repaired to actually stretch and expand the skin. This serves the function of “growing” extra skin to repair nearby lost or damaged skin.


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ultrasonic lifting – the liposuction procedure that uses ultrasounds to dissolve fat before eliminating it.

urticaria – a skin affection characterized by a sudden eruption of slightly elevated patches or wheals of different shapes and sizes, followed by an intense itching.


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varicose veins – twisted, widened veins caused by swollen or enlarged blood vessels. The blood vessels have enlarged due to a weakening in the vein’s wall or valves.

vermillion – in the face, the edge of the red pigment around the lips.


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xanthelasma – a xanthoma and specially, the xanthelasma palpebra that appears on the eyelids and which is more frequent in women following menopause.

xanthoma – a cutaneous affection characterized by the formation of plaques or more or less flat, slightly raised, yellowish nodules, of different sizes, due to fat filled cells in the skin. It is usually the result of a liver infection or lipid metabolism disorder.

xeroderma – a skin disease characterized by the ultradry and wrinkled state of the skin, with an increase of the layer of the cornea and a decrease of sweat and sebaceous gland secretion.


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