The desire to get rid of a double chin drives many people to seek out a plastic surgeon.
Though often an issue for people carrying extra weight, and something that can get worse as we age, double chins can also be bothersome for people within a normal weight range. A double chin can also be a problem for younger people, too, as genetics play a part in whether fat collects in the area below the chin.
One RealSelf user describes on our forum how she had wanted rid of her double chin since she was 9 years old. Yet another laments how her double chin was stealing her joy. Both these people opted for the surgical fix with chin liposuction.
“Patients often describe their double chin as making them look heavier, older and just tired. It makes their face look bottom heavy and really affects their self esteem,” says Dr. Shaun Patel, a Miami physician.
Dr. Alan B. Brackup, a Philadelphia oculoplastic surgeon, agrees. “People with this issue typically hate having their pictures taken, especially profiles and selfies,” he says.
If your double chin gets you down, rest assured it is absolutely fixable with both surgical and non-surgical solutions. Whichever way you choose to treat it, the results are fantastic and permanent.
The two most effective non-surgical solutions are often offered in tandem, because they work so well together. The first, CoolSculpting is applied to the chin via its smaller applicator called CoolMini to freeze and destroy fat under the skin.
Another popular option that may be used alone, or after CoolMini, is Kybella, a highly effective injectable that melts the fat. “CoolSculpting is great for debulking large amounts of fat, but Kybella is better for contouring and finishing up the result,” says Dr. Patel.
With CoolSculpting, there’s little downtime, and you are usually able to go back to your daily routine straight after the treatment. However, with Kybella, there’s more downtime than you have with lipo, and it can be quite painful.
“The injections do hurt so usually we have the patient numbed, and sometimes I would even use nitrous with this treatment,” says Dr. Rajagopal. “It’s a short procedure, the injection time is two minutes or less, but it’s pretty intense and the area does get quite swollen for two or three days. I warn my patients that they can even look a bit like a bullfrog. You do have some residual swelling and mild soreness for a couple of weeks afterward.”
Once you’ve had these treatments done, the result is permanent.
“The fat cells have been destroyed and will not return,” says Dr. Patel. “Our bodies have a relatively fixed number of fat cells after puberty, so anything we take away with treatment is not replaced. Of course, some fat cells will still remain, and if patients put on a significant amount of weight, these fat cells will expand and store more fat.”
With the non-surgical options, as with lipo, you may be left with some sagging skin once the fat has gone, especially if you are older.
“Some patients are absolutely fine with that and do not mind having skin that is a little bit looser, but for other patients that’s not going to be acceptable,” says Dr. Rajagopal. “If we do the procedure and it looks significantly loose, I would advise that they do a neck lift, but if it’s just a small amount of excess skin we may think about a non-surgical option after the treatment such as Infini RF microneedling to help tighten the skin.”
The surgical option
“Liposuction is the gold standard when it comes to contouring under the chin,” says Dr. Usha Rajagopal, a San Francisco plastic surgeon. “The surgery is usually quick, there isn’t much downtime, it isn’t very painful, and the results are excellent.”
When you opt to have chin liposuction you can even be back at work after three days. “I generally have patients in some kind of compression wrap for 24 hours a day for those first three days, and then after that for a week when they come home,” says Dr. Rajagopal.
For younger patients with good skin elasticity, liposuction alone can be effective. “However, when skin laxity becomes an issue as well, this is no longer an option,” says Dr. Brackup. “We will then typically proceed to liposuction combined with a lift. For some patients we can address the neck alone, while others will require tightening of the tissues of the face as well. The choice of procedure is highly individual, based upon each patient’s anatomy and goals.”
With liposuction, the results you see once healed are pretty much permanent, especially in younger patients.
“While changes will occur over time, the double chin tends not to recur,” says Dr. Brackup. “Similarly, when liposuction is combined with a neck or facelift, the fat will not accumulate in this area again. Laxity of skin does recur with time, and the younger you are when a procedure is performed, the longer it will last. Most patients will maintain the benefits of these procedures for 10 or more years before considering additional work.”
Chin liposuction will cost about $3,000, according to prices reported on RealSelf.
Going through the RealSelf forums, people are mostly thrilled with the results they get from chin-fat treatments. Chin liposuction has a 95% Worth It Rating, CoolMini scores a 71% Worth It Rating, and Kybella scores a 75% Worth It Rating.
Additionally, all three doctors said that they get very positive feedback from patients. Dr. Patel notes that when people come for a follow-up appointment, “You just notice a spark in them.” Dr. Brackup adds that he gets ”big smiles, hugs and kisses” from appreciative patients.
Dealing with a double chin does more than just help with that specific area, it helps build confidence and create a slimmer and more youthful appearance in general.
“The first thing that people will say after having lipo or CoolMini is that they look like they have lost weight everywhere,” says Dr. Rajagopal. “That’s what their friends say, ‘Have you lost weight?’ because it changes how a person perceives you. My patients absolutely love that.”