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Double Chin Removal: Surgical and Non-Surgical Options
chin fat
Dec 31, 2017

A double chin can ruin your profile, making you appear overweight or aged. For women, a smooth, contoured neck and chin is a mark of classic beauty and youthfulness. In men, a chiseled jawline conveys strength and resolve. Excess fat in these areas blur these effects.

chin fat

You don’t have to be obese to suffer from a double chin. Even people of normal weight can tend to carry extra fat and loose skin in their chin and neck area.

Known medically as submental fat, a double chin can be difficult to resolve. Certainly, good lifestyle habits like a balanced diet and regular exercise can help, but the causes of excess submental fat often simply boil down to facial structure and genetics.

Here, we’ll take a look at several methods of addressing a double chin, both surgical and non-surgical, with the pros and cons of each approach.

Can Diet and Exercise Melt Away Chin Fat?

There really is no overstating the importance of a healthy diet and aerobic exercise to your complete health. Not only will these good habits keep your body looking younger and toned, but they are excellent methods of reducing your risk of everything from heart disease to cancer.

However, it is definitely possible to be in great shape and still suffer from a double chin, particularly if you are older.

The problem with diet and exercise is that spot reduction of fat is not possible, as beneficial as these efforts may be. What does this mean? Fat increase and decrease do not work in the same manner as building muscles. What happens if you curl weights every day with your right arm while completely neglect your left arm? Simple: your right bicep will become huge, especially in comparison to your left upper arm.

Fat reduction does not function the same way. If you lose weight from diet and exercise, that weight is lost from your entire body. You can’t focus on your chin, abdomen, or thighs to “spot reduce” fat from those areas. While you can certainly work on those parts during exercise, you’ll be building muscle, not burning fat.

Of course, losing weight will remove some of your submental fat, but even major weight loss may still leave a double chin behind.

Unfortunately, there are no exercises that will magically melt away submental fat. For some people, getting to an ideal weight just isn’t enough to completely resolve a double chin. If you fall into this category, take comfort in the fact that there are other measures available.

Unfortunately, there are no exercises that will magically melt away submental fat.

Chin Liposuction

If you have a stubborn double chin that is unresponsive to a healthy diet and proper exercise, you may consider submental liposuction. As the name implies, this is a cosmetic procedure where a surgeon removes fat from your chin and neck.

If you undergo a submental liposuction, sometimes called a neck contouring, your surgeon will insert one or two small tubes into your chin area while you are under anesthesia. The incisions for these tubes are usually placed along your jawline or behind your ears. The fat will then be removed through these tubes.

Results won’t be immediately noticeable due to swelling and bruising, and you will need to wear a chin strap for about two weeks. However, after that time you should be healed up and able to appreciate your new, more defined neck and chin.

A submental liposuction procedure can certainly help with a double chin that is reticent to diet and exercise, but there are limitations. If you’re very overweight, submental liposuction is probably not right for you as it is dangerous to remove large amounts of fat. Furthermore, liposuction alone will not tighten the skin of your neck. For that, you will need neck lift surgery.

Liposuction removes fat, and that fat will not come back spontaneously. However, a liposuction procedure does nothing to prevent you from gaining weight in the future, nor does it slow or prevent the aging process.

Remember, liposuction is a surgical method of addressing stubborn fat in targeted areas — it isn’t a weight loss treatment.

liposuction weight loss

RELATED: Liposuction and Weight Loss — FAQs

Neck Lift Surgery

You have likely heard of facelift surgery in Paramus NJ, but many people are unfamiliar with the term “neck lift.” Medically known as a lower rhytidectomy, a neck lift is basically a facelift limited to the lower areas of the face, especially the chin and neck. Plastic surgeons perform neck lifts to tighten the skin of these regions, eliminating wrinkles and “turkey wattles.”

For patients with double chins, a neck lift can be easily combined with submental liposuction, so that is no need to undergo two separate procedures. Your surgeon will likely make the incisions around your ears or sideburn area. Excess skin is then tightened and trimmed away. Recovery usually takes a couple of weeks, and you may have a surgical drain in place during some of this time.

Like submental liposuction, neck lift surgery can be quite effective at helping to eliminate a double chin, especially when combined with liposuction. However, there are also drawbacks. For example, your results will not be readily apparent during your recovery. You will need a few weeks for the bruising and swelling to resolve first.

You should also keep in mind that neck lift surgery will not prevent future aging. Your jowls or turkey wattle may return with time, and a second neck lift surgery may not provide results as favorable as your first procedure.

neck-lift before and after

Before and after neck lift surgery. Credits: G. D. Breslow, MD.

CoolSculpting

CoolSculpting is a non-surgical alternative to liposuction that rids the body of fat bulges with no needles, anaesthesia or downtime. It uses a fat-freezing technology to target problem areas without damaging the surrounding tissue structures. Frozen fat cells are then naturally eliminated by the body.

While CoolSculpting is more commonly performed on the love handles and “muffin top” area, it can also be used under the chin with a special handpiece called the CoolMini. 1 or 2 treatments are generally required for best results.

FDA clearance of the CoolMini was based on a trial involving 60 male and female patients, which in many cases produced results in as little at three weeks. After one to three months, an overwhelming majority of participants noted a significant improvement in the appearance of their chin and neck line.

coolsculpting chin, before and after

Before and after 2 CoolMini sessions, performed 30 days apart. Credits: G. D. Breslow, MD.

Kybella Injections

Patients at our Paramus plastic surgery practice often want to avoid going under the knife. This is certainly understandable. Surgery can be expensive, and insurance almost never covers cosmetic procedures. Time off work can also hard for some patients to coordinate. Furthermore, all surgery carries inherent risks, no matter how minimal — excess bleeding, infection, and anesthesia complications to name a few.

Currently, there is a single injection approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of double chins. Kybella is the brand name of this injection, and the active ingredient is deoxycholic acid. When injected into the chin area, deoxycholic acid breaks down fat cells, destroying them.

Before and after 3 Kybella treatments. Source: Kybella

Kybella is administered in anywhere between one to six injections each spaced one month apart, though most patients receive the complete series of six treatments.

There is good evidence supporting the effectiveness of Kybella. A clinical trial of 360 patients showed that up to four Kybella treatments reduced double chins about twice as effectively as a placebo control. The side effects were mild, limited to bleeding and bruising at the injection site.

Once again, you should understand that while Kybella will help eliminate a double chin, it is not a preventative treatment. If you gain weight, your double chin may return. As you age, the skin of your neck and chin may sag. If these conditions occur, you may require cosmetic surgery to acheive the appearance you desire.

Additional Reading and References

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