Pockets of fat in your face and neck can be particularly difficult to deal with. In many cases, these fat accumulations are more the result of heredity than weight problems. Regardless of what caused them, however, deposits of fat in the face and neck often do not respond well to exercise and healthy diet changes.
To make matters worse, the face and neck are the most visible parts of your body. Accumulations of fat in these areas can give you the appearance of being overweight, older than you really are, or out of shape. In order to remove these difficult to treat, yet highly visible fat deposits, many individuals choose to receive liposuction on their faces as an effective way to achieve the appearance they desire.
Dr. Sterry Talks about Facial Liposuction
Because this procedure is aimed at removing relatively small amounts of fat, facial liposuction can generally be performed with a high rate of success and can lead to dramatic aesthetic enhancements. Whether you’re a man or a woman, skilled cosmetic surgeons can effectively perform the surgery to give your face the young and healthy look you’ve been working to attain.
As with any cosmetic surgery, having realistic expectations regarding the final outcomes is a critical component in becoming a good candidate for this particular type of treatment. Be sure to schedule a consultation with your cosmetic surgeon to determine whether or not the procedure will be the most beneficial form of treatment for the results you are looking for.
Facial liposuction is best suited to remove excess fat from and re-sculpt the following regions of your body:
- Submental chin, extending from the front of the neck to the jawline
If you are a generally healthy individual experiencing unwanted pockets of localized fat in any of the regions listed above, you may make an ideal candidate.
It is important to note that liposuction of the face is not intended to be a substitute for healthy weight loss programs, and is not used to treat severe obesity. Similarly, if you experience significant amounts of excess or sagging skin, you may require a full facelift or some other more intensive form of cosmetic surgery in addition to liposuction. Liposuction is intended to remove only localized and difficult to treat pockets of fat located in the face and neck.
How Does Facial Liposuction Work?
A successful facial liposuction procedure begins with a thorough preoperative consultation. Your cosmetic surgeon should use this consultation to discuss the details of the operation and to ask you about your health and body image goals and expectations. The surgeon will also use this consultation to conduct a detailed examination of your face and its underlying bone structure, especially the areas surrounding your chin and jawline, to determine exactly how much fat can safely be removed. After identifying target areas of your face and neck to be treated, your cosmetic surgeon will most likely schedule a future date on which to perform the actual operation.
On the day of the procedure, your cosmetic surgeon will use a light sedative plus local anesthesia to help reduce intraoperative pain and discomfort. If you are receiving other procedures in addition to liposuction, your surgeon may choose to use general anesthesia instead. In either case, after anesthesia has been administered, your cosmetic surgeon will make a series of small incisions into your face or neck. As much as is possible, these incisions will be made in aesthetically strategic locations to reduce the appearance of postoperative scarring. Small tubes called cannulas are then inserted through the incisions and into the target treatment areas. Accumulations of fat are broken apart and suctioned out through the cannula with the help of a powerful and specialized vacuum.
Once the fat has been removed, and the proper aesthetic proportions and facial shape have been achieved, your cosmetic surgeon will dress the wounds. Sutures may or may not be used, depending on the location and size of the incisions. Elastic bandages or compression garments are typically used to minimize postoperative swelling and aid in recovery.
While the objective of any liposuction operation is to remove excess pockets of fat, there are a number of specific techniques used to accomplish this. Here are the most commonly used techniques:
- Tumescent Liposuction: By far the most prevalent liposuction technique, tumescent liposuction uses a specially formulated tumescent anesthesia to decrease intraoperative bleeding and ensure quick and effective postoperative recovery. When tumescent anesthesia is injected into a particular part of your body, it not only makes the treated tissues go numb, it also constricts the blood vessels in that area, significantly decreasing intraoperative bleeding. The increased ease of operating, and the subsequent rapid recovery achieved through the use of tumescent anesthesia makes tumescent liposuction an effective and widely used liposuction technique.
- Ultrasonic Assisted Liposuction (UAL): This technique is also commonly used to perform liposuction on the face. To perform ultrasonic assisted liposuction, your cosmetic surgeon uses special equipment to send ultrasonic sound waves into the fatty tissue of target treatment areas. These sound waves break apart fat cells, making them much easier to suction out and remove.
- Water Assisted Liposuction (WAL): Following a very similar approach to that of ultrasonic assisted liposuction, water assisted liposuction uses a gentle stream of water to dislodge fat cells from their subcutaneous locations, making them easier to extract. Water assisted liposuction is generally believed to provide an especially gentle way of breaking apart and removing excess fat deposits.
Immediately following the surgery, expect some degree of soreness and swelling at all incision sites. In some cases, bruising may also occur, although this is usually a fairly rare side effect. Swelling, the most common side effect, should subside within 10 days of the operation, and consistent use of whatever bandages or compression garments your cosmetic surgeon provides will help speed up this process. Some degree of fluid buildup and drainage is also expected throughout the recovery process.
To be safe, you should plan on taking a week off before returning to full and normal activity. This will provide enough time for most swelling, bruising, and fluid drainage to subside. Of course, if you’re incisions are sutured shut, you will need to return to your surgeon to have them removed.
As you recover from the procedure, it’s critical to follow whatever directions for postoperative care your cosmetic surgeon gives you. These directions will most likely include taking mild painkillers, wearing elastic bandages or compression garments, and rest. The more consistently you follow your surgeon’s directions, the quicker and more pain free your recovery period will be.
By physically removing excess deposits of fat from your face and neck, liposuction will improve the shape, profile, and appearance of your entire face. In particular, liposuction can help you achieve a more proportionate face, chin, neck, and jawline, which in the end will give you a healthier overall look.
The full results of the procedure will not be apparent until all swelling and bruising has subsided. Much of the swelling will have gone down 10 days after treatment, although it can a month or two for it go away completely. From this point on, the results of the procedure should be fairly permanent, although dramatic weight gain will certainly alter your body shape and appearance. The best way to maximize the results are to maintain a fairly stable body weight and a healthy overall lifestyle.
In some cases, patients may require a short follow-up treatment in order to attain their desired results. Check with your cosmetic surgeon to determine whether or not any additional treatments will be necessary.
Although liposuction is a fairly noninvasive form of treatment, there are always risks associated with any type of surgery. The main risks associated with facial liposuction are:
- Excessive swelling
- Excessive bruising or skin discoloration
- Necrosis, or tissue death, resulting from loss of blood
- Infection at incision sites
- Burns, in the case of ultrasound assisted liposuction
- Major intraoperative blood loss
- Embolism caused by a blood clot or fatty tissue
- Lung problems, heart attack, or stroke caused by an embolism
Any time anesthesia is used, there are always certain risks involved. In most cases, liposuction requires only local anesthesia, which carries with it far fewer risks than general anesthesia. But if you are receiving other treatments or surgeries in addition to liposuction, your surgeon may put you under general anesthesia, in which case, there may be risk of respiratory or cardiac arrest, serious health impairments, and even death. The risks associated with anesthesia are extremely rare, especially if the patient receiving anesthesia is a generally healthy individual and if the doctor administering the anesthesia does so properly and carefully.
Other Procedures May Be Needed
For many patients, especially those who are relatively young, healthy, and who have good skin elasticity, liposuction should be the only procedure needed to attain the desired aesthetic results. There are many other cases, however, when additional procedures may be required in addition to liposuction of the face before the desired results are achieved.
If you experience wrinkles, unwanted facial lines, acne or other forms of scarring, sun damage, excess or drooping skin, or blotchy pigmentation, you will likely need to complement your liposuction with other skin treatment procedures. Facial liposuction is most commonly accompanied by the following additional treatments:
- Laser Skin Resurfacing: If you need to remove excess fat deposits from your face or neck while also decreasing the appearance of wrinkles or facial lines, laser skin resurfacing may be the best complement to liposuction. These types of treatments use specific wavelengths of light to heat your skin’s underlying tissue, promoting the growth of healthy skin cells and leading to tighter skin and a more youthful appearance.
- Chemical Peels: Chemical peels reduce the appearance of scars, wrinkles, lines, and discolorations by using chemical solutions to dissolve away the outermost layers of skin. Once the damaged skin is removed, your body will then regrow healthier, more evenly toned skin.
- Dermabrasion: Dermabrasion treatments use specialized tools to literally scrape away the outermost layers of damaged, wrinkled, or discolored skin, allowing new layers of healthy and undamaged skin to grow back in its place. This type of treatment can be used in conjunction with liposuction to reduce the appearance of wrinkles, lines, scars, and color irregularities.
- Facelift: In cases of excess or extremely loose and sagging facial or neck skin, your cosmetic surgeon may suggest receiving a facelift along with liposuction. While the liposuction will remove localized deposits of fat, the facelift will surgically remove excess skin tissue and tighten the skin of your neck and face. The end result of this combined operation will be a dramatically improved and noticeably more youthful appearance.
As you consult your cosmetic surgeon, be sure to ask whether or not you will require any additional operations. Additional operations will usually require the use of general anesthesia and will certainly increase the overall price of your cosmetic treatment.
How Much Does it Cost?
The average cost of facial liposuction is roughly $3,000. The overall cost includes surgeon’s fees, facility fees, anesthesia fees, and miscellaneous fees that cover such things as preoperative tests and postoperative medications or recovery garments. Because liposuction on its own almost always requires only local anesthesia, there is not a great deal of variance in anesthesia fees or facility fees. The largest factors determining the cost are the specific areas on which the procedure is being performed, and the amount of fat being removed. Liposuction will be quicker, less intensive, and therefore less expensive if there is a smaller amount of fat to be removed. Beyond this basic rule of thumb, the following list provides a breakdown of the average costs of performing liposuction on various parts of the neck or face:
- Chin: Liposuction focused on the chin and the submental chin usually costs somewhere between $1,000 and $4,000.
- Neck: Liposuction treating regions of the neck costs anywhere from $2,000 to $5,000.
- Cheeks Or Jawline: Liposuction performed anywhere besides the chin, submental chin, and neck usually costs between $1,000 and $4,000.
Other factors that affect the final price include whether or not other accompanying procedures will be required, what specific liposuction technique will be used, and the duration of the procedure. Be sure to talk to your cosmetic surgeon about these factors, and ask for a written cost estimate that takes into account all possible variables.