Liposuction on the face – procedure, risks, costs

With around 45,000 liposuctions per year in Germany (in the USA even around 260,000!), the procedure is one of the most frequently performed cosmetic procedures in men and women. Not only the silhouette, but also the face can be significantly slimmed with it. A specialist answers the most important questions.

What is liposuction?

“In the liposuction, the so-called liposuction, fatty tissue is selectively loosened under the skin and sucked out locally with a fine cannula by the specialist,” says Dr. Susanne Steinkraus, specialist in dermatology and aesthetic medicine in Hamburg. “In this way, problem areas can be treated in a targeted manner and brought into a desired shape.” The very popular procedure is performed most frequently on the stomach, bottom, hips and thighs. But the cheek area on the face can also be visibly contoured.

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What can facial liposuction do?

“An unfavorable fat distribution on the face such as very full, round cheeks (so-called chubby cheeks or hamster cheeks) and a double chin strongly characterize one’s own facial expression and promote unclear facial contours,” says Dr. rockneck. “Cheek liposuction can reduce the size of a broad, round face. It also allows you to change the jawline and accentuate the jawline, giving the overall impression of a more prominent, well-defined face.”

What happens during cheek liposuction?

In cheek liposuction, fat cells are specifically removed from the cheek area. “During the healing process, the skin around the treated area reshapes. This can slim the face, which in turn leads to a more defined profile and a more accentuated jaw line,” says Dr. rockneck.

Cheek liposuction is not very different from liposuction on other parts of the body and is often performed in conjunction with other cosmetic procedures, such as a facelift.

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Cheek liposuction vs. buccal lipectomy

A distinction is made between liposuction on the cheeks and the procedure of buccal lipectomy. “While both procedures remove fat from the face, buccal lipectomy involves the removal of a very specific fatty tissue in the cheek, the so-called buccal fat pad,” explains the specialist.

Facial Liposuction Procedure

1. Preparation

Liposuction of the cheeks is performed on an outpatient basis and usually takes around two hours. First, your doctor uses a pen to mark the area of ​​your cheek that will be treated. If the findings are minor, you will then receive a pure local anesthetic or a local anesthetic with twilight sleep and, in rare cases, a general anaesthetic, which makes the treatment itself painless. There are different techniques to remove the tissue.

2. Tumescence

Tumescence can be translated as “swelling” and is a special form of local anesthesia and is carried out in preparation for liposuction. A mixture of saline, painkillers and epinephrine is injected into the cheek area, causing it to become stiff and swollen. This makes it easier to remove the fat.

3. Ultrasound

A small metal rod that produces ultrasonic energy is inserted into the area. This energy causes the fat cells to break open.

4. Laser

A small laser fiber is then inserted into the area to be treated, breaking down the fat.

5. Cannula

Finally, the fat is sucked out of the cheek through a small metal tube, a so-called cannula, to which a suction device is attached.

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healing process

“After the procedure, you may experience temporary pain and swelling in and around your face that can be treated with over-the-counter medication,” said Dr. rockneck. “It’s also a good idea to wear a compression garment for a few days while you’re recovering. It’s a kind of soft helmet that goes over your head and covers your jaw and neck.” Full recovery can take up to three to four weeks, but you’re usually socially acceptable in seven to 10 days.

For whom is facial liposuction suitable – and for whom is it not?

When facial fat is removed, skin that is not elastic can appear saggy and wrinkled. In addition, liposuction can increase the formation of dents in the skin. Therefore, the treatment is more suitable for people whose skin is elastic and smooth and who have an average or at most slightly above-average weight. People with thin, wrinkled skin are not good candidates for liposuction.

In addition, you should be in good general health, without underlying diseases such as heart disease or diabetes and preferably be a non-smoker.

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risks of treatment

Temporary swelling and mild discomfort are normal when recovering from liposuction and should subside as the area heals. “Like any surgery, there can be complications with cheek liposuction. The risk can increase if you have multiple cosmetic procedures done at the same time,” says Dr. rockneck. In rare cases, profuse bleeding may occur during the procedure, as well as an adverse reaction to anesthesia. It is possible that the skin appears flabby or uneven after the procedure, as well as skin discoloration and accumulation of fluid under the skin (so-called seroma). In very rare cases, nerve damage that can cause numbness, infection in or around the incisions, and fat embolism can occur.

“It is very important to see a qualified medical specialist to get the best results and avoid complications. Liposuction should really only be performed by a certified plastic surgeon,” recommends the expert.

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Does the treatment have to be repeated? Does the fat come back?

With liposuction, fat cells are permanently removed from the body, which is why the treatment usually does not have to be repeated. However, if you gain weight after the procedure, it will affect your entire body proportionately. If you gain a lot of weight, new fat cells can even form in the treated area. If these again take up a disturbing volume, the liposuction can be repeated.

Facial liposuction cost

The average cost of a cheek liposuction is around 1800 to 3000 euros and depends on the location, the doctor and the technique used. Since liposuction is a cosmetic procedure, the costs are not covered by health insurance.

The right surgeon

Once you’ve found a board-certified plastic surgeon, you can schedule a consultation. At this appointment it will be determined whether you are a suitable candidate for liposuction and all questions, risks and details of the treatment will be clarified.

Don’t be afraid to ask all your questions and also to check the experience of the specialist. Possible questions could be:

– How many years of plastic surgery experience do you have?
– How many years have you been performing liposuction?
– Do you have any experience with liposuction on the cheeks? If so, how many surgeries have you performed?
– Do you have before and after photos I can look at?


– with expert advice from Dr. med. Susanne Steinkraus, Practice for dermatology & aesthetic medicine in Hamburg

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