When most people hear the term liposuction, they immediately think about how it can slim down the abdomen or remove those stubborn, hard to reach fat deposits from the thighs. However, even though these are among the most common uses for the procedure, they are certainly not the only options available. In my practice, I frequently use liposuction during facial plastic surgery procedures as well. This versatile technique can be extremely effective in sculpting and contouring the jawline and neck, and in restoring a youthful fullness to areas of the face that have started to sag and droop.
As we age, fat gradually accumulates throughout the body, even in the face. As gravity drags that fat downward, it can form heavy jowls that droop below the jaw line or the bulges in the neck commonly known as a “double chin.” Neck liposuction is designed to eliminate these fat deposits, which typically do not respond to simple diet and exercise, and to give the entire face a slimmer and more contoured silhouette. However, liposuction alone is seldom sufficient to completely restore the face to a more youthful appearance. Accumulated fat has a tendency to stretch and distort the skin, not unlike a balloon being filled with water. Even after the fat is removed, the skin does not necessarily return to its original taunt firmness. This can be particularly true in older patients, whose skin has lost a degree of elasticity and resilience over time. After neck liposuction, many patients can also benefit from a neck lift that removes the excess, sagging skin that causes wrinkles and gives the area a smoother, more youthful appearance.
Furthermore, liposuction techniques can play a vital role in procedures that add volume and fullness to the face as well. As we get older, the skin’s production of collagen and elastin begins to decline. This ultimately results in a loss of volume and moisture in the facial tissues, which can make the lips look less plump and give the face a drawn and haggard look. Although injectable facial fillers, like Juvéderm®, Restylane®, or Perlane® can temporarily alleviate these symptoms, longer lasting results can be attained using fat taken from the patient’s own body. After fat has been removed via liposuction and properly filtered and purified, it can be re-injected into the areas that require additional volume using a process commonly known as fat transfer. Unlike artificial facial fillers, which remain in the body for six months to two years before they are naturally eliminated, the results from natural fat transfer can last up to ten years before additional maintenance is needed. Even though no cosmetic rejuvenation procedure can stop the aging process entirely, and even a fat transfer will eventually have to be maintained, the stem cells produced by the natural fat can help by improving the condition and appearance of the skin so that future maintenance can achieve truly exceptional results.
Liposuction is just one of the many different plastic surgery techniques that we can use to counteract the signs of facial aging or to subtly sculpt the lines and contours of the face. If you are interested in learning more about what particular facial rejuvenation procedures would be right for you, I welcome you to contact me, Dr. Fernando Burstein and schedule a consultation. Find out more by connecting with me on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for all the latest news and updates from the world of facial plastic surgery.