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Facial liposuction

To reduce unwanted fatty deposits, a doctor may recommend facial liposuction (LIE-poe-suck-shun), a procedure in which pockets of fat are removed with a vacuum-like device.

During the procedure, a small incision is made in an inconspicuous spot such as a natural skin fold. The doctor inserts a wand-like instrument called a cannula (CAN-you-luh), moves it to break up fat cells, then suctions them out.

Most facial liposuctions remove only small quantities of fat and so are usually done on an outpatient basis. The final results should start to appear after a few weeks, when swelling has receded.

Though the operation isn't meant to firm up the skin, this sometimes occurs because underlying scar tissue tends to stretch the tissue in that area. Candidates for liposuction must be in good general health and have a resilient skin tone.

When the problem is caused by sagging skin rather than excess fatty tissue, liposuction may not be the answer. Instead, some type of face-lift may be indicated or the two procedures may be combined.