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Facial Liposuction

Body weight and genetic factors can cause facial fat to accumulate unattractively under the chin, along the jaw line, and throughout the neck.  The deposits can cause the definition of the chin and jaw line to diminish or disappear altogether, making you look older or heavier than you are.  Facial liposuction offers a way to correct the heavy look separately or in conjunction with a face lift, chin implant, or other cosmetic procedures to restore a refined, balanced profile.

In your case
When you schedule a personal consultation with Dr. Sykes, he will talk with you about the concerns that trouble you.  If you are bothered by heaviness in the face and neck, your doctor can discuss the causes and best alternatives for correction.  Age, body weight, and other aesthetic concerns help the doctors determine if you are a good candidate for facial liposuction and if it can produce the results you’re after alone or in tandem with other procedures. 

What to expect
While similar to liposuction performed on other areas of the body, facial liposuction uses smaller, more refined tools to allow the doctor greater control and precision in removing fat cells.  The procedure takes 30 minutes to an hour and is performed under light sedation.  During the procedure, your doctor either makes small incisions under the chin or jaw, or uses incisions made for a face lift, neck lift, or chin augmentation procedure.  The doctor places a fine, hollow titanium wand (cannula) attached to a cylinder used to collect the removed fat.  Placing the cannula through the incision, the doctor gently displaces and vacuums the fat from the desired area.  He will continue to massage the area to eliminate any lumps and determine the right amount of fat to remove.  Once the desired fat is gone, the doctor closes the incisions with small sutures.  If the incision is inside the mouth, he will use dissolvable sutures that don’t require removal.  Exterior sutures will be removed in about a week, once healing is well underway.

Because the tissue has been disturbed, you can expect swelling and bruising throughout the liposuction area.  Swelling will peak in about three days, though bruising will continue and may take two or more weeks to fully resolve.  After about 10 days, the swelling should fade enough to give you a good sense of the changes in store.  Many patients report surprise at how the fat removal creates a very different appearance in the lower face.  The heavy appearance disappears and you may feel quite pleased to see your chin and jaw line emerge.  Your body stops making new fat cells at a very early age, so new deposits will not appear following liposuction. Though your face will continue to age, the results from liposuction are permanent.     
Face and Neck Liposuction Fast Facts
The following are general guidelines only.  Variations are common.

Surgery length:

Approximately one hour


Office or hospital outpatient surgery suite


Light sedation, patient is asleep during surgery


Please provide

Pain & discomfort:

Mild pain or noticeable discomfort for 48 to 72 hours, typically requiring pain medication for a few days.  Ice packs and a soft diet help speed recovery.  Some sensations and tightness may persist for a few weeks as the skin becomes repositioned.  

Swelling & bruising:

Moderate, generally peaking by day three.  Bruising typically fades enough for makeup coverage in 10 to 14 days.  

Suture removal:

Dissolvable sutures are used if incisions are made inside the mouth. External stitches are removed in one week.

Return to work:

One to two weeks

Resume exercise:

Two weeks for gentle exercise, six weeks for strenuous exercise

Initial results:

Immediate, once swelling diminishes 

Final results:  

Within a few weeks


Permanent, affected by ongoing aging



Jonathan M. Sykes, MD
Professor/Director of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
UCDavis Medical Group
2521 Stockton Blvd., Suite 6206
Sacramento, CA 95817
(916) 734-2347
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