Although liposuction is more commonly associated with body contouring, it can also yield very effective results to areas of the face such as the chin, cheeks, jaw line and neck.
How Facial Liposuction Works
A face liposuction procedure can be performed on its own or in combination with other facial procedures. If more than one procedure is to be carried out, a general anaesthetic may be needed, but for facial liposuction alone only a local anaesthetic together with light sedation will be required. This can be discussed with your surgeon prior to treatment.
Like liposuction on other parts of the body, facial liposuction removes fat. The major difference lies in the amount of fat that is removed. Whilst pounds of fat can be removed in liposuction of an area such as the thighs, only a small amount will be removed from the face.
The actual procedure can vary according to which area of the face is being treated. If the chin or jowls are being treated with liposuction, a short two- to four-centimetre incision is made either between the gums and the bottom of the lower lip or underneath the chin. The surgeon will then insert a narrow tube known as a cannula into the incision. The fat is broken up by moving the cannula backwards and forwards and then removed by vacuuming.
Sometimes rather than physically breaking up the fat using the cannula it is emulsified before removal. Techniques used to emulsify fat include power-assisted liposuction, water-assisted liposuction, laser-assisted liposuction and ultrasound-assisted liposuction. Your surgeon will explain the precise technique to be used, but they are all likely to lead to a more gentle procedure.
Following removal of the required amount of fat, the incisions will be closed by your surgeon. You will be able to see the results of facial liposuction immediately.
Recovery After Facial Liposuction
For facial liposuction procedures alone, recovery is straightforward, but it can be more complicated if other procedures have been carried out at the same time. After facial liposuction, some discomfort and mild pain can be expected. Swelling and bruising also often occur. A compression garment such as a chin strap can be worn to help to reduce the swelling, and your surgeon will explain when and for how long it should be used.
If you have incisions inside your mouth, your diet is likely to be restricted until they have healed properly. You should be able to return to work quite quickly – usually within five days or even sooner if the area that has been treated can be covered with clothing. Your surgeon will give you specific post-operative instructions that should be adhered to in order to minimise the risk of complications.
Although the risks of complications following facial liposuction procedures are lower than those experienced with body liposuction, there are some possible complications – these include bleeding, infection, nerve damage and scarring. Serous fluid can collect beneath the skin (seroma), and there can be blood clots (haematoma), and these can cause temporary problems. There is also some risk associated with anaesthesia, and you may not be satisfied with the cosmetic results of your procedure. These risks can be discussed with your surgeon prior to treatment, and you will be advised of any steps you can take to avoid or minimise them.
Some surgeons prescribe antibiotics to reduce the risk of infection, and you can also lower the risk by giving up smoking.
Since weight gain or loss can affect the results of facial liposuction, you should ensure you do not lose or gain weight after the procedure. This and other lifestyle factors such as smoking and alcohol consumption will be discussed before treatment, and your surgeon will need to know about any prescribed or over-the-counter medicines you take, as these can affect the procedure.