Q: I have HIV and have been on antiviral medication for the past 15 years. I am now trying to decide if liposuction to remove the fatty deposits under my chin, lower face and around my ears would be beneficial. I read your article and feel that you are someone who is compassionate and could help me wth this issue. I am just tired of being stared at out in public because of the way I look. I don’t want to look like a freak because of my years living with HIV and taking the medications to live a productive life. I want to find out how much this would help and what the recovery time would be.
A: Retroviral medications in the HIV patient can cause very unique fibrofatty deposition about the cervicofacial area. Most commonly a buffalo hump can appear at the back of the neck. But extensive tissue collections can occur around the neck from one side to the other including around the ears. This makes the face look like it is sitting on a tire, so to speak, if they are significant enough. Most of these fibrofatty deposits, however, are more than simple fat that is easily suctioned out. While liposuction can be done under the chin and into the sides of the neck, the deposits around the ears and into the side of the face are best treated by open removal through a facelift approach rather than just liposuction alone. Better debulking results are obtained with this combined approach. Recovery is very similar to that of a facelift with about a 50% reduction in the bulk of the cervicaofacial tissues.
Dr. Barry Eppley