After a Facelift, Can Your Face Get Thinner? Does Any of the Fat on Cheeks Get Absorbed?

Doctor Answers 16

The face looks thinner after a Facelift because sagging tissues have been lifted off of the lower face

Fat does not dissolve after a Facelift. If fat was removed during a Facelift that area-usually the neck-will look thinner. It is rare and very unlikely that fat has been removed from the cheek and jowl area-this can be risky to facial nerves.

Most likely you are seeing the effect of the Facelift.

As we age fat and skin move downward creating fullness due to loose tissue around the mouth, lower cheeks and jowls.

A good Facelift elevates the lax skin and fat by pulling them upward. thus the lower face almost always looks thinner after a Facelift. The cheeks are typically fuller with a good Facelift result.

Fat loss and face lifts

Whether or not any fat is lost during a face lift depends to some extent on the technique used.  We typically add fat to face (fat grafting) at the same time as the face lift

Sam Naficy, MD, FACS
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 221 reviews

Can the face get thinner after a face lift

The answer is yes and no.  yes, the face oftens appears thinner after a face lift because the excess skin and muscle tightening, of the face when combined with shaping of the cheeks, makes the face appear thinner but in a shapely and more aesthetic manner.

No, in the sense that the Face Lift somehow causes fatty tissues, of the cheeks, to dissolve.  If you are experiencing thinner, flat cheeks after a face's most likely due to how the face lift was performed or because the fat was removed in aesthetically incorrect sections of the cheeks.

Francis R. Palmer, III, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

Facelifts don't thin your face

Unless a concerted effort is made to take out fat, a facelift doesn't thin your face.  A properly done SMAS lift will redistribute the fat and restore the cheek volume of youth rather than thinning the cheeks.

Richard P. Rand, MD, FACS
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 67 reviews

Face does not get thinner after facelift

There is a miniscule amount of fat that is absorbed along the area of the surgical facelift where the incisions and elevation of the SMAS is performed. Only the areas that are undermined will get a very slight resorption of fat.  

William Portuese, MD
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 143 reviews

Facelift with Thinner Face

The reason that the face may appear thinner is the vertical direction of pull on the underlying muscle during traditional facelift surgery.   This results in a more angular oval facial shape from a previous boxy flat appearance.   The cheek fat is very unlikely to atrophy and should actually appear more pronounced depending on the vector of pull during your facelift.   All the best on a safe recovery.


Paul S. Gill, M.D.

Glll Plastic Surgery

Houston Double Board Certified Plastic Surgeon

Paul S. Gill, MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 86 reviews

Face lift and facial thinning

A face lift accomplishes several objectives:  elevation of sagging (cheek pads, jowls), smoothening of the skin (cheeks and neck), and, at times, decreasing the excess fullness form fat of the cheeks, jawline, and neck.  In general, as we age we lose fat volume in our body, and in some individuals it may sometimes appear more pronounced in the face.  For this reason, many plastic surgeons now believe that  repositioning the fat and less fat removal is better than more, so that the "gaunt" look will be avoided as you age.

Ricardo Izquierdo, MD
Oak Brook Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

After a Facelift, Can Your Face Get Thinner? Does Any of the Fat on Cheeks Get Absorbed?

In most cases no but without a photo very hard to advise. Seek in person evaluations from boarded plastic surgeons in your area. From MIAMI Dr. Darryl J. Blinski

Darryl J. Blinski, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 173 reviews

Facelift: Common Results

The goals of a facelift procedure are to suspend the soft tissues of the face to their more youthful position. During this process liposuction can be performed to further reduce some of the excess adipose tissue in the region of the face and neck. Combined, the effects of suspension and sculpting afford an excellent rejuvenation of the lower 2/3’s of the face.

Be healthy and be well,
James M. Ridgway, MD, FACS

James M. Ridgway, MD, FACS
Bellevue Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 92 reviews

After facelift surgery face can be "thinned"

If there is excess fat in the face and neck it can be reduced if this will present an aesthetic improvement. Fat can also be preserved in the thin neck.  Our Smartlifting techniques with laser assisted facelifting can transfer jowl fat to the cheek are giving the face a more heart like shape.  Like wise laser assisted facelifting can strategically melt fat in some locations.  Full faces can also be reduced with removal of buccal fat if necessary.

Richard D. Gentile, MD
Youngstown Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 36 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.