Confused about "jawline" versus "jowl" liposuction - what's the difference?

There is a lot of discussion online about jawline & jowl liposuction, but most surgeons seem to agree that jowl liposuction (presumably on/above the jawline) is a bit risky & ineffective. However "jawline" liposuction seems to be safe (and effective?). What is the distinction between jowl & jawline? Surely if the jowl sags below the jawline, then liposuctioning under it will improve the appearance of the jowl? Are jowls caused by different factors in different people (fat, muscle and/or skin)?

Doctor Answers 4

Jawline vs. Jowl Liposuction

Thanks for your question.The jawline is just an anatomical line that we use when in doing liposuction or a facelift.The jowl is a structure of soft tissue that usually sags with gravity.In general, we have to be very careful with performing liposuction in either area because of the presence of the facial nerve branches there.I hope this clears things up for you.


Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

"jawline" versus "jowl" liposuction - what's the difference?

  Hi, I have performed many facial shaping procedures, over the past 30 years, using liposuction, dermal fillers and/or facial implants (cheek, chin).  Jowls are sagging facial tissues that occur between the corner of the mouth and extend to the jaw line.  Liposuction can be done in the jowls when there is excess fat along with the sagging facial tissues.  This must be done with care and by an experienced surgeon as a vein, artery and the only motor nerve that operates the lower lip muscle travels within or immediate adjacent to the jowl tissue.  Liposuction alone will not reverse or elimate the presence of jowls which are the primary indication for some form of a SMAS facelift.

 The underlying SMAS layer, of the face, must be dissected, lifted, trimmed and re-sutured (not merely folded or suspended with threads or sutures that will not last).  The excess skin is then removed and the facelift incisions closed.

  My most popular facelift is the minimally invasive, short incision facelift that has all the benefits of more invasive facelifts (traditional, mid-face and subperiosteal facelifts) but with these added benefits:

  • very small incisions
  • minimal tissue dissection = less bruising and swelling = rapid recovery
  • can be performed in 90 minutes or less, with or without general anesthesia
  • no incisions within the hair = no hair loss
  • excess fat can be removed
  • excess skin removed
  • cheeks, chin and jaw line can be augmented with dermal fillers (I prefer Restylane Lyft) or facial implants
  • most patients fly back home to parts all over the world in as little as 3 days post-op
  I combine facial shaping with every facelift procedure.  When jowls are present, these should be done in concert and not alone or separately in order to create a naturally, more attractive face.

  If there is excess fat, skin or muscle laxity (platysmas banding) this can be addressed with liposuction of the neck, skin removal through an incision under the chin or a formal Neck Lift.  Think of the jaw line as a natural divider between the face (where the cheeks and jowls are) and the neck.  Each area can be addressed separately or together depending on what needs to be accomplished.  Often when there is evidence of a "double chin", the chin itself is weak.  Non smiling photos of your face from the front and side would help in the evaluation.

  I have performed many Chin Augmentations using chin implants for over 30 years.   A weak chin creates an imbalance making the nose appear larger, the mid face top heavy and the lower face look short that de-emphasizes the lips and allows early formation of a double chin.  Chin augmentation using a chin implant will add projection to the chin creating harmony and balance to the lower face.

  I have found that placement of a silastic chin implant, through a small curved incision under the chin (also allows excess skin removal) to be very safe, quick and highly effective.  I perform chin implant surgery in 30 minutes or less, often using a local anesthetic alone. In my opinion, your are a good candidate for chin implant surgery.

Hope this helps.

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

Jawline liposuction

 In our practice, we do not recommend liposuction of the jowls . They need to be lifted  back into their normal position with a facelift. Fatty deposits in the neck could be liposuctioned away as a stand-alone procedure, or in combination with  a face and neck lift.

William Portuese, MD
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 129 reviews

Cervical liposuction

Great question.  When you are at the level of the mandible or a bit higher during liposuction, you have to be careful not to injure the marginal mandibular nerve which controls the lower lip.

Hope this helps

Babar Sultan, MD
Towson Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 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.