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Top 10 pre-wedding procedures

Find out what it is, what it costs and whether there's any downtime before you make any decisions

Breast Augmentation

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What is it? Breast augmentation is the medical name for a ‘boob job’. This is where a surgeon increases the size of the breasts with an implant, usually a silicone rubber shell filled with silicone gel or saline solution. This is then inserted into the breast via an incision in the crease underneath the breasts, either under or over the chest muscle. Consultation is key when it comes to finding the right shape and size for you, says surgeon Mr Rajiv Grover.

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Downtime: Recovery time is around two weeks, but you’ll have some swelling and soreness for some time afterwards. Give your breasts time to ‘settle’ before your first dress fitting – at least six months.

Price: from £5000 to £5400.

Rhinoplasty

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What is it? Most commonly referred to as a ‘nose job’, it’s an operation where the surgeon changes the shape of the nose tip or bridge, removing any unsightly lumps and improving the shape and silhouette. Your surgeon will need to study you from every angle several times, take photos and manage your expectations if he or she thinks the nose you want might alter your profile too much.

Downtime: “Make sure you have this operation about six to eight months before your big day. Some people experience little swelling or bruising, others experience a lot so the more time you have on your side, the better,” says Rajiv.

Cost: from £4500 to £5000.

Liposuction

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What is it? A procedure whereby excess fat (usually around the bottom, thighs and abdomen) is removed, giving a more defined silhouette and relieving you of that dreaded cellulite. “Liposuction works best on patients who have areas of fat which they cannot shift by diet and exercise alone,” says Rajiv.

Downtime: This procedure can be performed as day surgery but surgeons prefer patients to stay in hospital for a day or so. You can expect to have some soreness, bruising and swelling which may last several weeks. You will be given a special support garment similar to a girdle which will help with healing – not the kind of thing you want to be wearing on your wedding night. Give yourself around six to eight months before your wedding, and before any fittings, advises Rajiv, to let your body settle, and for any swelling to disappear.

Cost: From £3500 to £5000.

Eye rejuvenation

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What is it? The eyes are one of the first areas to show signs of ageing, says top surgeon Professor Laurence Kirwan. “As we age, the eyelids stretch and the muscles weaken, causing the eyelid skin to sag. Blepharoplasty can remedy some of these changes by removing excess skin, muscle and fat, in what is usually a straightforward procedure,” he says.

The Eye to Eye clinic in London specialises in bespoke eye ‘packages’ to help you look your best of the big day. Your eye rejuvenation programme will include everything from specially formulated eye creams to prevent dark circles and puffiness, to Botox and surgery, to help you look your absolute best in time for the big day.

Downtime: Your eyes may be swollen and bruised for the first couple of weeks, and you’ll need to return to the clinic or hospital after five days to have any stitches removed. Make-up is a no-no for several weeks and good after-care is vital.

Cost: from around £5000.

Mini Tummy Tuck

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What is it? A mini tummy tuck is a cosmetic procedure that is used to remove excess skin and fat from around your waist. Many patients prefer this procedure over the full tummy tuck because it reduces the appearance of scarring and does not involve moving the belly button.

Downtime: After being released from the hospital you will need to wear special bandages for about a month. Six to eight months prior to the big day is ideal as your body may take time to fully recover, and ‘snap’ back into shape. Maintenance is key, says Rajiv, as with any procedure. “If you’re not going to maintain a healthy lifestyle – eat well, exercise sensibly – you’re wasting your money and your surgeon’s time,” he says.

Cost: From £4000 to £5000.

Mini Facelift

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What is it? An increasing number of younger women are opting for this procedure, which is less invasive than the full face lift. The mini facelift, which is also know as a short scar facelift or an ‘S’ lift, is a cosmetic procedure that tightens the skin and soft tissues by repositioning and tightening the skin. Although similar to the traditional facelift, the mini facelift needs fewer incisions, but will still reduce the amount of drooping and sagging of the skin. In most cases, the entire procedure takes one to two hours to complete.

Downtime: Side effects can include swelling and numbness, which should subside after a few weeks. However, your face will take time to ‘settle’, so give yourself around six to eight months if possible.

Cost: From £5000 to £7000.

Botox

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What is it? Botox is a non-surgical cosmetic treatment for moderate to severe frown lines. If you’ve got deep groves, Botox alone won’t get rid of the lines, and you’ll probably need fillers, too. Botox works by blocking nerve transmission to temporarily reduce the contractions of the facial muscles that cause frown lines.

Downtime: You should notice an improvement in your frown lines within around seven days, the effects of which can last up to four months. Botox well done will make you look younger and more refreshed. It can give a discreet lift to brows, making you look more awake. Make sure you have a consultation first, and that you have the treatment done by a qualified surgeon or doctor, says Rajiv.

Cost: From around £250 to £350.

Fillers

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What is it? Fillers, quite literally, fill in the places where your wrinkles used to be, plumping out your skin so it looks younger and firmer. Europe has over 160 injectible fillers with a CE mark whereas in the US, the licensing authority (FDA) treats them the same as full medicines and has approved only six.

Restylane, which is made from non-animal hyaluronic acid, a chemical which occurs naturally in the body, is one of the few approved by the FDA, and the most flexible when it comes to targeting different areas. Restylane Lipp, for example, is used to help enhance and define the lips, giving you a plump, natural look; Restylane Vital is great if you want to transform old-looking, veiny hands into the perfect backdrop for that ring (don’t forget hands can age you just as much as wrinkles). Sub Q is a denser form of Restylane, and is injected deep into the cheek area to help enhance cheekbones and give your face a discreet lift.

Downtime: Depending on the area you have treated, usually around two to five days. “The most important thing to do is have a consultation sooner rather than later,” says Marie Duckett, of Fiona & Marie Aesthetics in London. “For a bride, this is as important in the planning process as the dress. Doing any significant changes, like increasing lip size or shape, needs to be done as a test run first, to make sure that you really like the new you. And if you don’t, you’re then giving yourself enough time for the effects to wear off,” she says.

Cost: from £235 depending on area, brand and viscosity of filler used.

Tattoo Removal

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What is it? Not so long ago, getting a tattoo removed was a laborious and expensive procedure, but clinics such as Sk:n now offer safe, effective tattoo removal that helps tattoos of all sizes and colours simply fade away. Some tattoos need a couple of treatments, some more. But in the majority of cases, you will be left with practically brand new skin after around four treatments, leaving you free to go strapless.

Downtime: Give yourself around a year so that you can ensure your tattoo has disappeared in time for the big day, and that any redness or irritation (which can occur) has gone, leaving your skin as good as new.

Cost: from around £234.

Smile makeovers

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What is it? “We’re seeing an increasing number of brides coming in to our clinic for smile makeovers,” says Dr. Attila Kaman, one of Europe’s top dental surgeons, based in Hungary. “Brides-to-be are aware that they are going to be the most photographed individual on the day. The fact is, a new smile can be as rejuvenating, if not more so, than a facelift,” he says.

How it works: With a full smile makeover, your dentist will carefully assess your mouth, teeth and gums and decide what needs to be done to improve your smile. “Prior to treatment your dentist will usually carry out a polish and plaque removal, then teeth whitening,” says Dr Kaman. “Teeth wear down as we age, causing the face to sag, and look older, so your dentist may recommend veneers, which will literally ‘lift’ your face, as well as giving you a smile to be proud of.”

What does it involve? There are various options depending on the appearance of an individual’s teeth to begin with, says Dr Anoop Maini, the clinical director of Aqua Dental Spa. “Options include: teeth whitening (in surgery and/or home whitening); bonding – a simple way to improve slight imperfections like chipped teeth, short teeth and narrow teeth; clear braces or an aligner to help correct unevenly spaced teeth.” Ultra-thin translucent veneers called Lumineers transform misaligned, chipped or stained teeth without the pain of traditional veneer treatment. Find out more at www.lumineers.com.

Downtime: Surgical treatments such as veneers and bonding will need a week or so to settle; whitening treatments can be done in your lunchtime. If you want to realign your teeth with braces, you should give yourself around 15 months.

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Cost: Varies depending on whether you have the treatment at home or abroad. An increasing number of women are heading to clinics such as Smile Savers in Hungary for dental work, simply because of the cost. If you do decide to go abroad, make sure you do your homework first.