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For patients looking for a way to define or sculpt their face and eliminate some fullness, whether from weight gain or family history, facial liposculpting might be the answer.

To help determine if this is the right procedure for you, consulting a facial plastic surgeon like Dr. Gregory Branham, Dr. John Chi or Dr. Emily Spataro of the Washington University Facial Plastic Surgery Center should be your first step in learning more.

Why facial liposculpting?

Liposculpting is a form of facial liposuction that can be used as a tool in facial contouring, along with fat grafting, facial implants, fillers and neuromodulators, such as Botox.

“This combination of tools is very powerful to rejuvenate and reshape the face in the appropriate patients,” Dr. Branham says. “I prefer using the term facial liposculpting because there are times to take fat away from some areas and times to add it to other areas.”

The Facial Plastic Surgery Center sees some younger individuals who have developed fullness or an excess of fatty tissue in the submental (the area under the chin) region. And they often share that it’s something other family members have or had, as well. 

“These patients are ideal for reductive facial liposculpting, as the skin is still elastic and will re-contour to the new shape,” Dr. Branham explains. “As we age, the skin becomes more inelastic. If we do liposuction on those patients, the tissue may not ‘snap back,’ leaving behind a turkey waddle where the fullness was. For those patients, a procedure to deal with the excess skin such as a facelift or face/necklift is necessary.”

Starting with a consultation

All three facial plastic surgeons are happy to discuss whether facial liposculpting is the right procedure to meet an individual patient’s needs.

“The appropriateness of the patient as a candidate for this procedure is probably the most important point of discussion with the patient,” Dr. Branham says. “For example, this may not be the right procedure for an older patient with poor skin quality, or a patient with diffuse fat throughout the face and neck, or the patient who has unrealistic expectations about what facial contouring with liposuction can do.”

Because this is an elective procedure, Dr. Branham says the overall health of the patient is important because they don’t want to jeopardize the patient’s quality of life with a complication.

“It is important to discuss any medications that the patient is taking, especially anticoagulant medications, such as those used for atrial fibrillation or blood clots in the legs or lungs,” he adds.

What to expect

Considered a very safe procedure overall, the most common issues seen following the procedure are excessive bruising and swelling that can take time to resolve. In addition, hematomas can occur in the area that is treated. 

“Infection is rare in normal healthy individuals,” Dr. Branham says. “One can also develop contour abnormalities with facial liposculpting, but these should be uncommon as the cannulas, or tubes, used to perform the procedures are small and specifically designed for the face.”

It’s important for patients to remember that the fat cells removed through liposuction are gone forever; however, when someone gains or loses weight, they don’t lose fat cells, they just become larger or smaller. 

“So, if one gains weight following the procedure, then some of that fullness can return,” Dr. Branham says. “Typically, in a patient with a stable weight, liposuction is a one-time procedure. Facial fat grafting, on the other hand, may require two or three procedures to get the proper volume correction.”

Because most liposuction is done superficially, there can be significant bruising and swelling that can take one to three weeks to completely resolve. It is important for patients who choose this procedure to plan accordingly and for the additional time to heal comfortably.

For more information or to schedule a consultation with the physicians at the Facial Plastic Surgery Center, call 314-996-3880 or click here.