What is a Facial Plastic Surgeon?

A facial plastic surgeon performs cosmetic and reconstructive surgery exclusively for the face and neck. Though a facial plastic surgeon and plastic surgeon may sound similar, there are significant differences in training. A facial plastic surgeon’s fundamental training is as an otolaryngologist (ear, nose, throat doctor) where they develop an in-depth knowledge of the anatomy and function of the head and neck. A plastic surgeon’s fundamental training is as a general surgeon (surgery that focuses on the abdominal contents). Their specialized plastic surgery training involves reconstructive surgery, burn surgery and cosmetic surgery of the entire body which involves the body, breasts, as well as the face.

Facial plastic surgeons limit their scope of practice to the face and neck.

Due to their in-depth knowledge and training, facial plastic surgeons have a deeper respect for the anatomy and function of the face and neck, and thus tend to favor more natural results that preserve the anatomy and function of these areas. Their narrowed scope of practice allows them to be extremely knowledgeable with the latest techniques and technology for facial cosmetic surgery.

Dr. Melissa Hu is a board certified facial plastic surgeon who has expertise in rhinoplasty (nasal reshaping surgery), blepharoplasty (eyelid lift) and facelifts.


Ethnic Considerations

Historically, plastic surgery was developed based on European features and standards of beauty. However, beauty may vary widely among different ethnic and cultural groups. Ethnic patients that seek cosmetic surgery often have similar goals to reduce signs of aging, create a more balanced and symmetric appearance. However, they also often want to preserve their identity and features that reflect their racial, cultural or familial background. The Asian eye, African nose, and Latin skin are unique in their anatomy. Dr. Hu understands that successful facial cosmetic surgery balances surgical skill with ethnic specific knowledge of anatomy and an aesthetic consideration of a person’s ethnicity, culture and expectations of beauty.

“I strive for natural results that are in balance with each individual's unique features.”


Surgical Procedures

Do you have deep forehead creases, sagging eyebrows or heaviness of upper eyelids?

Deep wrinkling of the forehead often develops from long term overuse to elevate the brows. Low lying brows not only reflect signs of aging, but may also contribute to obstruction of vision by pushing down on the upper eyelids. A brow lift can address deep wrinkles in the forehead, low lying brows and heavy eyelids.

This procedure is tailored to address each individual’s needs and the extent of surgery can have varying results. An individual’s hairline and forehead height may also influence the approach and extent of a brow lift. Eyelid lift (blepharoplasty) is often performed in conjunction with a brow lift to provide an overall rejuvenation of the eyes.

Brow Lift

A small chin can often create the appearance of a larger nose, weak or poorly defined jawline, or more prominent upper teeth. A Chin Augmentation with a medical grade implant can help restore balance to the facial profile in select patients. The procedure may be done in combination with a rhinoplasty, (nose reshaping surgery), facelift, or alone.

Is a chin augmentation right for you?

If you have a weak or recessed chin, and it causes the rest of your facial features to appear out of balance, you may benefit from a chin augmentation. Read More

Chin Augmentation

Whether the desire is to wear earrings again, to return your earlobe to a normal anatomic size, earlobe repair can be completed under local anesthesia in the office. Dr. Hu also performs ear pinning for prominent ears.

Split or Stretched Earlobes. A torn earlobe may result from accidental trauma from an earring pull-through or after long-term use of heavy earrings. Recent trends in some circles are also resulting in intentionally stretched earlobes called flesh tunnels. Some people are simply born with longer earlobes that only increase over time as our skin loses laxity.

Earlobe Repair

Whether the desire is to wear earrings again, to return your earlobe to a normal anatomic size, earlobe repair can be completed under local anesthesia in the office. Recovery takes about a week. It is recommended to wait at least 6 weeks before re-piercing the ear.

Prominent Ears. Prominent ears are often hereditary with different degrees of expression. There are two main causes of prominent ears: 1) the absence of a fold in the superior aspect of the ear called the antihelical fold, and 2) excess cartilage in the conchal bowl – the curved cartilage attaching the ear to the skull. Surgical correction is often sought to avoid social ridicule. When the child is psychologically affected by this, the procedure may be covered by insurance. The recommended time for correction is at 4 or 5 years of age, prior to entering grade school. Surgery involves a combination of cartilage sculpting, sutures, and skin excision. For children, the procedure is typically done in the operating room, while for adults, it can be performed in the clinical setting. A dressing is often worn for a week to prevent manipulation and support molding.


Tired of looking tired?

Loosening of eyelid skin is often a normal part of aging. Blepharoplasty involves the removal of excess skin, bags, and fat from the upper and/or lower eyelids. The result is an overall more rejuvenated and brighter appearance to the eyes. Eyelid surgery may be covered by insurance if it is deemed medically necessary to treat the excessive skin redundancy.

When considering eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty), always look for a board-certified plastic surgeon with specialized training and significant experience. Read More

Eyelid Lift - Tired Eyes

Do you want a younger, more vibrant look?

Various forms of facelift exist. In general, a face lift suspends tissues of the face in a vertical direction. Incisions are strategically placed to be hidden within the hairline, along natural creases around the ear, and behind the hairline of the neck.

The natural process of aging involves the loss of fat under the skin and a decrease in water content of the skin. This causes the skin on the face to loosen, sag, and wrinkle. Aging may be accelerated by factors such as sun exposure, smoking, and illness. The neck is typically also treated with a face lift. If you would like a more youthful and rejuvenated appearance of your face and neck, you may be a candidate for rhytidectomy (facelift). Read More

Clear Lake Medical Spa - Facelift

Do You Have an Elongated Lip or Aging Lip? Do You Want a Fuller Lip?

A lip lift is a surgical procedure usually performed under local anesthesia that removes excess skin between the nose and upper lip. By shortening the “white lip,” the “red lip” turns outward, creating the appearance of a fuller upper lip.

Much like fillers, if performed by someone who does not have a detailed understanding of lip anatomy, a lip lift can have unnatural, “altered” results. But unlike fillers, results of a lip lift cannot be reversed! Read More


The Midface Descent. As we age, those once full apple cheeks may seem to drop down towards the jaw. This is because our skin thins, fat and muscle atrophy, and ligaments loosen as we age. The result is hallowing near the lower eyelids, flattened cheeks, and deeper folds that extend from the nose to the corner of the mouth (nasolabial folds). The increased shadows and darkness on the face creates an overall affect of tiredness and age.

The Midface Lift treats: Improve lower eyelid tear troughs, Sagging upper cheeks, and Improve nasolabial folds.

Midface Lift

What to Expect? A midface lift suspends the cheek fat and tissues to better support the lower eyelid. This also smooth the crease that develop from the nose to the corner of the mouth. This procedure is often combines with a lower eyelid lift (blepharoplasty) to create on overall improved appearance of the eyes and cheeks.

What is the Down Time? It typically takes about two weeks to recover from a midface lift. Pain is typically mild. Tape is often applied to support the lower eyelid until swelling has resolved. After 10-14 days, you may return to work. Usually by this time, swelling and bruising have largely resolved and you are presentable again to the public. Strenuous exercise may be resumed after two weeks.

Contraindications to midface lift may include prior radiation or skin cancer, active skin infection, actively smoking, and autoimmune skin disorders.


For those wanting an overall rejuvenation of the face to treat mildly sagging tissues that create a perpetually tired look, a mini-facelift may be right for you.

A mini-facelift is performed under local anesthesia. Incisions are typically smaller than those associated with a full facelift. Tissues are lifted and tightened to better support sagging cheeks, jowls and the jawline.

Clear Lake Medical Spa - Facelift

Because the incision does not extend into the hairline behind the ear, it is not ideal for treating significant skin laxity in the neck. This procedure is ideal for those showing early to mild signs of loose skin and sagging tissues.

A Mini-Facelift treats: Mild skin redundancy of the lower face, Mild drooping of jawline, Better define jawline, and Mild sagging of cheeks.

What are the Side Effects and Down Time? The mini-lift is sometimes referred to as the weekend facelift because it takes about 2-3 days of recovery. Pain is minimal. Swelling and bruising is typically localized to a small area around the ear or hairline as the approach is minimally invasive. Make-up can be worn to camouflage any residual bruising after two days.


Do you have “Turkey Neck”? Achieve a smooth contoured neck profile with a Neck Lift.

The skin and underlying muscles of the neck loosen and sag with age. This is the result of decreased collagen, increased skin and tissue laxity, and muscle weakening. This may also happen to people who have lost a large amount of weight. A neck lift tightens the neck for a more youthful appearance. Read More

Saggy Skin - Neck Lift

Rhinoplasty involves changing the appearance of the nose. Reasons to have a rhinoplasty vary widely and may include modifying a large nose, bulbous tip, large nostrils or correcting a dorsal hump, droopy tip, congenital deformity, or irregularities from trauma. The goal of rhinoplasty is to achieve a nose that is in balance to the face without compromising its function for breathing.  READ MORE

Clear Lake Medical Spa - Rhinoplasty

The goal of reconstructive surgery is to restore function to the area affected and to provide as natural an appearance as possible. Examples of reconstructive surgery include congenital defects, nasal fractures, facial trauma, burns, and skin cancer. All the concepts of cosmetic surgery are also applied to reconstructive surgery. Read More

Face Reconstruction Surgery

In instances where hair follicles are still present, topical and injection therapy with platelet rich plasma (PRP) can stimulate hair growth. In long-standing balding patterns where hair follicles may no longer be present, alternative hair restoration techniques such as hair grafting may provide long-lasting results. READ MORE

Hair Restoration - Clear Lake Medspa (1)

Using your body’s own fat to restore volume loss in the face, this procedure can be used to rejuvenate the cheeks, nasolabial folds, forehead, lips, and lower eyelids. On average, 60% of the injected fat is retained permanently. The addition of PRP (platelet rich plasma) can improve fat survival and this percentage of take. Facial fat grafting can also be combined with other procedures such as a facelift, eyelid lift, or lip lift.



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