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Substitute Facial Liposuction for a Facelift

Posted on: January 13th, 2005 by California Skin Institute

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, NEV. — Liposuction of the face and neck using a tumescent technique can be a substitute for a facelift, without risk of nerve damage or skin irregularities, Dr. Gregory Morganroth asserted at a meeting sponsored by the Foundation for Facial Plastic Surgery and the World Society of Aesthetic Surgery.*

In his practice, patients can have the liposuction procedure on Thursday and be back at work on Monday, said Dr. Morganroth, a dermatologist in Mountain View, Calif. Patients get what they consider very satisfactory improvement of their appearance, he said: “There have been three patients in my entire career who have gone on to a neck lift.”*

Dr. Morganroth said he has performed the procedure more than twice a month for the past 7 years.* In all that time, he has never had a patient develop an infection, facial nerve damage, or a hematoma.* As for scar revision, “I cannot even remember the last time I had to go back and fix something,” he said at the meeting, also sponsored by the Medical Education Collaborative.*

Good candidates for the procedure are patients with good skin elasticity and lots of neck fat they want removed, he said.*

The only really painful part of the procedure for the patients is the infiltration of the 0.1% lidocaine tumescent anesthesia, Dr. Morganroth said. Most patients tolerate the entire operation with only 10 mg of diazepam.* Because the tumescent anesthesia works for 18 hours after the procedure, the typical patient has little discomfort afterward. “Nine out of 10 would tell you they took only one pain pill,” he said.*

Dr. Morganroth said he makes a single incision under the chin for the neck liposuction and an auricular incision on each side for the cheek liposuction.* Because of the tumescence and the fact that he uses a 20-gauge cannula, he will do the cheeks all the way to the nasolabial folds.*
Because the tumescence produces a safety zone for the cannula to work in, he said, there is little risk of causing skin stretching or an irregularity from cannula trauma.* In fact, Dr. Morganroth said, although he has no way to explain it, he believes the procedure and the trauma of it actually produce some skin tightening.*

by Timothy Kim

*Individual results may vary and are not guaranteed.