The latest cosmetic treatment sounds pretty gruesome – and, er, it kind of is. The procedure, which is carried out under general anaesthetic, uses a micro-saw or laser saw (see – gruesome) to shave away parts of the bone, and in some cases muscles, in order to reshape and refine the area. Nice.
Last year, everyone was on a hype for Botox “sprinkles” – the minimal approach to the popular anti-wrinkle injections – and, of course, lip fillers. And it seems this year is shaping up to be the year of bone shaving.
Just as the mainstream fashion items and seasonal beauty collections have their moment, cosmetic surgery also sees trends come and go. The key difference is, the latter usually involves some level of anaesthetic and a chunk of time out of the office.
The treatment is particularly popular for jaw-line reduction and to reshape the feet. To find out exactly what the procedure entails, as well as whether it’s safe, and what the complications could be, we’ve called upon the expert cosmetic doctors in the field.
So wait, what exactly is bone shaving?
The official term for bone shaving is osteotomy and it can be used for a number of medical and aesthetic reasons, on many different parts of the body. “It is used for various medical treatments including spinal and other joint issues,” explains Dr Sanjay Trikhah co-founder of Trikwan Aesthetics.
“For facial aesthetics, it is commonly used in rhinoplasties [nose jobs] for example on noses with a dorsal hump, to straighten a deviated nose or narrow a wide nasal bone. It’s also commonly used in jawline and chin surgeries for example for profile balancing for retracted jaws/malocclusions (genioplasty surgery) or certain jawline surgeries like sagittal split osteotomy where the jaw is split, chiselled and arranged to correct malalignment.”
What does the procedure involve?
The procedure is carried out under general anaesthetic, which means you’re totally asleep and unaware, and can take up to five hours to complete. Depending on the area of the body being treated, doctors use a variety of implements including a scalpel to cut through the skin and flesh, as well as laser saws, micro-saws and manual chisels to shave down the bone.
“These surgeries involve the use of scalpels or “osteomes” (essentially a chisel!) and recovery time from any major surgery involving bone shaving can take up to a full year in terms of swelling and for the soft tissue and bones to fully heal,” explains Dr Sanjay Trikhah, co-founder of Trikwan Aesthetic clinic.
Um, why would anyone do that?
It may be hard to fathom why anyone would put themselves through a procedure like that, but there are medical reasons why someone would consider it. Bone shaving is an effective treatment for a jaw deformity or an over and under-bite, which can effort everything from speech to the ability to chew. It can also be used to treat joints such as the knees and hips to alleviate symptoms of arthritis, as well as treating bunions on feet.
More recently, however, the procedure is becoming more prolific especially in Korea – so much so, that it is even stimulating cosmetic surgery tourism to the region. Commonly referred to as a ‘facial contouring’ procedure, it typically aims to provide patients with a more oval-shaped jawline, as well as incorporating chin and cheek implants to entirely reform the shape of the natural face as desired.
What could go wrong?
As with any surgical procedure, there’s a degree of risk involved. For starters, there are risks associated with having a general anaesthetic, but there’s also the risk of infection and nerve damage. However, Dr Dr Sanjay Trikhah assures that in the right hands, the surgery can see impressive results.
“The results are also permanent unless revision surgeries are performed. These treatments have been happening for decades and whilst with every procedure there is a risk profile, these treatments are safe in experienced hands and can provide amazing results. To fully understand the risks it is important to discuss this with a specialist.” It all boils down to why you’re having it done, and whether the expected rewards of the surgical outcome the associated risk…
Is there another way to get the same results?
Thankfully, yes. “Alternatives to going under the knife include dermal filler use instead,” explains Dr Trikwan. “For example, with noses hyaluronic acid fillers can be used to straighten dorsal humps, create a bridge for more flat noses and raise a drooping tip.
Likewise, for chins and jawlines, fillers can be used to enhance a chin in terms of length, projection and width as well as enhance the jawline angle. Jawline, chins and noses are three of the most common treatments that have replaced classic “bone shaving” treatments.
There was actually a 40% reduction in the number of surgical nose jobs in 2015 due to the non-surgical option! Whilst not permanent, these are an excellent alternative as they are long lasting up to 2 years and reversible.” We know what we’d rather do…