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Facial Liposuction--Can a Facial Liposuction Procedure Be a Viable Alternative to a Facelift?

Updated on October 5, 2009

Facial liposuction is a procedure that is becoming an increasingly popular alternative to invasive facial cosmetic surgery procedures. This minimally invasive operation enhances and restores the youthful appearance of the face, and is great for both men and women.  So if you have a little fat in your cheeks that you want to get rid of, continue reading about this cutting-edge surgery to find out if it is right for you.

Why Facial Liposuction?

Facial liposuction, usually coupled with neck liposuction, is ideal for contouring the face and enhancing the skin for a more youthful appearance. Some individuals, regardless of age, are genetically predisposed to carrying excess fat in the jaw line, chin, and the cheeks. This can give the face a chubby appearance and sometimes an undesirable aging effect.

Tumescent liposuction is the safest procedure and most effective way to removing excess fat from the face. Compared to conventional facial plastic surgery, a liposuction facial procedure involves fewer scars, fewer complications, lower costs, a faster recovery, and a more natural appearance. General anesthesia is not used during this type of operation, cutting out the dangers and side effects of going under. There are other benefits of facial lipo including:

  • Minimal pain. Typically, only a mild painkiller is needed during recovery. Swelling is usually treated by using a hot compress or ice packs. An over the counter pain medication is usually sufficient to keeping the pain at bay.
  • Little scarring. Incisions are so small, that there is very little scarring. Any liposuction scars can be hidden if a surgeon cuts discreet areas of the face.
  • Lower risk of infection. Since extensive and deep incisions are unnecessary for a liposuction facial procedure, the risk of an infection is extremely low.
  • Permanent removal of all fat cells in the areas. All fat cells in the treatment areas are removed during liposuction, prevented fat from re-accumulating in the future.
  • Tightens and improves skin tone. Removal of fat can make the skin more firm and resilient.
  • Natural looking results after only a few months. You can expect to see positive results 3-6 months after surgery, and further improvements every month thereafter.
  • Gets rid of fat that is resistant to diet and exercise. Facial liposuction removes fat from the areas of the face that can't be reduced from diet and exercise alone.

Candidates for Facial Liposuction

Not all patients are necessarily good candidates for facial liposuction.  Depending on the distribution of fat and looseness of the skin, traditional cosmetic facial surgery may be more appropriate.  Older women with excessively wrinkled skin with little subcutaneous fat can benefit from a facial liposuction, while a younger woman may opt for liposuction as a simpler and safer alternative to a facelift.  Men who want to avoid the look of a facelift and scarring may prefer a cheek liposuction procedure as well.

Generally any individual who is in good health can potentially be a good candidate for liposuction.  Those with localized fat deposits that are disproportionate to the rest of the face will best benefit from a facial liposuction.  You may also be a good candidate if you:

  • desire younger looking skin
  • are within a healthy weight range (facial liposuction is not appropriate for treating obesity)
  • have tried diet and exercise, but it doesn't work and, 
  • have realistic expectations.

How facial liposuction surgery is done

During a consultation, a surgeon will consult with the patient to determine if the goals are realistic, and to assess the health and medical history. Before surgery, the doctor may mark the area where the incisions will be. Then the patient will be given a sedative or local anesthesia to numb the areas of treatment. Facial re-contouring is performed by inserting a small cannula (tube) into the tiny incisions placed in discreet areas of the face. A suction syringe or pump is then connected to the cannula to extract the excess fat from bulging areas. Lastly, the incisions are closed with very fine stitches. A facial liposuction operation is fairly quick, lasting only from and hour to two hours.

With an ultrasonic liposuction, the cannula has a tip that emits ultrasound waves that convert the fat into liquid. This makes it easier to remove the fact with less pressure.

After surgery, patients may be given an elastic bandage to wear for the first 24 hours. A similar elastic sling will need to be worn at night for a few weeks.

Normally a single liposuction procedure is required to achieve the desired results. (It is not uncommon, however, for a patient to request a follow-up treatment to seek a further refinement of the features.) The patient is lightly sedated in a “twilight” state or given a sedative and sufficient local anesthesia. At the end of the procedure the incisions are closed with one or two very fine stitches. Normally patients will be fitted with an elastic bandage for the first twenty-four hours and may be asked to wear a similar elastic sling at night for a few weeks. Patients can expect to resume normal activities within two to four days.

Most patients return to their normal activities in two to four days.


The risks of facial liposuction are minimal and complications are extremely rare. Nonetheless, there are some risks including scarring, excessive bleeding, infections, and nerve damage. Nerve damage can manifest itself by numbness or partial paralysis of the treated areas, however this is normally a temporary phenomenon.

The best way to avoid complications is by researching a choosing a board certified physician with extensive experience with this type of operation.

Facial Liposuction Costs

Facial liposuction prices can range from $1,000 to $4,000 depending on your area and the amount of work performed.
If an ultrasonic procedure is used alone, the costs can range from $2000-$3000.

Great Facial Liposuction Before and After Pictures

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