A new liposuction method for the neck and jowls using several tiny incisions and a syringe is more precise and helps guard against extracting too much fat, a Yale study shows.
The technique involves making five very small incisions, instead of only one larger incision, and using a syringe to extract fat from the jowls as well as machine-assisted suction to extract fat from the neck.
If too much fat is removed from the jowl area, it can leave an indentation.
"Volumes of fat aspirated from bilateral jowls were consistently nearly equal," Robert Langdon, M.D., assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Yale School of Medicine, said in the results published in the April issue of Dermatologic Surgery. "The incidence of adverse events was low."
Langdon used the method on 68 patients, most of them women, over a three-year period. Three other patients underwent syringe liposuction of only the jowl area.
"Consistent and even fat removal is facilitated by 'crisscrossing,' approaching a treated area from more than one angle," he said of the multiple incisions.
Although a single incision may provide adequate access when aspirating fat from the neck, it is more difficult in the jowl area because of the danger of injuring the marginal mandibular nerve, which runs along the jaw line.
And using the syringe to provide suction for aspirating fat allows the physician to measure the exact quantity of fat within half a cubic centimeter of volume, or, one tenth of a teaspoon.
"You have to be careful with a machine because there is a risk of overdoing it in the jowls, of taking too much fat out," Langdon said. "Compared to machine suction, syringe liposuction is much slower and potentially well controlled. In addition, use of a syringe enables the surgeon to quantitate the fat removed, allowing a side-by-side comparison between the two jowls."
Langdon said that in the event too much fat is removed and an indentation results, it can be filled later using fat extracted from elsewhere on the body. In the present study, such a correction was needed in only one of 142 jowls that were treated with liposuction.