Here in Hawaii we meet individuals every day who are frustrated with the stubborn area of fat around their jaw and neck area. Due mostly to genetics, some individuals naturally accumulate fat under the chin (submental fat pad), causing the appearance of a double chin, regardless of an otherwise slender figure. Unfortunately, it can often get worse with age. Several unpleasant changes occur to the neck and jaw line as individuals age. In addition to slack skin under the jaw, accumulation of fat under the jaw, in the jowls (the area just above middle of the jaw on either side), a loss of definition of the jaw line, and shrinking of the jaw bone can occur as we age.
Thankfully, the neck and jaw area can be easily sculpted with liposuction. Compared to other areas of the body, the fat pads involved are relatively small in size and removal of even a small amount of fat can create a dramatic change in one’s appearance. Occasionally other procedures such as a face lift, neck lift or chin implant will be combined with liposuction of the neck and jaw area for optimal cosmetic results. These procedures help tighten the neck muscle (the platysma) while the liposuction removes the excess fat.
We’ve seen neck liposuction do wonders to boost an individual’s self-confidence, poise and esteem. It’s simply amazing how much thinner and younger a person looks with a more sculpted and refined neck and jaw line. When you think about it, the face, neck and jaw area are one of the first things people notice and very often it can be a strong indicator of person’s age and overall weight, even if it is completely misleading.
Ideal candidates for neck and jaw liposuction are those whose skin is healthy and young enough to still have a good deal of elasticity to recoil and not stay stretched out when the fat is removed. Aged skin that has been stretched with excess fat will often hang loose after liposuction, but can be easily tightened with a neck lift. With liposuction of the neck and jaw area results are definitely noticeable, but a skilled plastic surgeon will be able to subtlety make the area look natural, refreshed and youthful.
Liposuction in general is a safe procedure with few risks. In regards to the area of the neck and jaw, since liposuction is limited to such a small area, complications are few and far between. For example, when a liposuction treatment removes over four liters of fat, a blood transfusion is required to replenish lost fluids. That will never be the case with liposuction of the neck and jaw area.
Decades ago, large cannulas (tubes) were routinely used during liposuction and thus blunt trauma to the muscles of the neck would occasionally occur and temporarily cause injury to facial muscles, but permanent injury is a rarity. In traditional liposuction, very small cannulas are used in liposuction of the neck and jaw area. Here in Hawaii, S. Larry Schlesinger, MD, FACS can perform liposuction of the neck through a small incision just underneath the chin without any complications or injury to the nerves and muscles in the area. Thankfully the nerves to the muscles of the neck and face are nestled under muscles, so injuring the nerves directly is incredibly difficult.
Liposuction of the neck and jaw can be performed with local anesthesia thanks to new, less-invasive techniques like tumescent liposuction. “Tumescent” is a term that means swollen and firm, which aptly describes this procedure since during this procedure the plastic surgeon injects the area with a diluted mixture containing the local anesthetic, Lidocaine, causing the area to swell and become numb. No general anesthesia is therefore needed, and blood loss is minimal. While much less painful than liposuction of other areas of the body, one can still expect some stiffness, numbness, soreness and swelling for the first few weeks after liposuction of the neck and jaw area. The majority of our Hawaii clientele report that recovery from this type of liposuction is mild and well worth it. For any pain and inflammation, over-the-counter analgesics and anti-inflammatories can be used as directed by your plastic surgeon.
I frequently recommend that my neck liposuction clients wear an elastic compression collar around the neck and jaw line area for three days after surgery to further aid in recovery and help with any soreness experienced by the neck muscles. Also, without the collar any remaining fat may gravitate toward the newly emptied spaces, but the collar helps prevent that from happening. As recovery progresses, the collar may be removed for certain time period and eventually only being worn for a couple of hours a day. Many of our patients have also found that regular massage, especially lymph massage, aids in recovery by decreasing the swelling in sensitive areas like the neck.
Another great aspect about liposuction of the neck and jaw area is that scarring is little to none. And unlike other areas of the body where fat can easily come back if allowed, fat in the neck and jaw rarely do because it is there in part from heredity. Results from liposuction of the neck and jaw area typically last 10 years or more.
In addition to or as an alternative to liposuction of the neck and jaw area, one can improve their appearance of that area with noninvasive laser procedures that uses targeted wavelengths to melt neck fat and tighten skin. These techniques aren’t as dramatic as liposuction but can be a great option for those who don’t need significant work. Neck exercises can also be helpful at tightening the muscles, which can then lift and tone the attached skin as they are attached. There are all kinds of expensive creams and lotions out on the market and they often have limited effectiveness, but may improve the skin’s health which can help the overall appearance to a small degree.
If you are interested in learning more about liposuction of the neck and jaw area or any other service we provide, don’t hesitate to contact one of our Hawaii offices today!