A double chin (what doctors call “submental fat”) may be an indication of obesity or weight gain, but not always. Double chins have a variety of causes such as age, diet, weight, anatomy, and even genetic factors.

If you’ve developed a double chin and you’re not pleased with it, this is for you. Luckily, a Boston plastic surgeon can help you eliminate that double chin to make you look healthier and younger.

Double chins can be a consequence of excess fat, excess skin, or a combination of both. Before recommending a treatment, a cosmetic surgeon will try to determine the precise cause of your double chin.

HOW DOES A DOUBLE CHIN DEVELOP?

As we age, the skin slowly loses its natural elasticity. Like the elastic band in your favorite sweatpants, what starts out tight becomes loose over time. Smoking, exposure to the sun, and gravity do not help.

Sagging skin does not disappear naturally. Instead, it “pools,” sometimes directly under your chin. Young people may also develop double chins, although for young people the main causes of double chins are obesity and genetics.

If you’ve developed a double chin, and if you’d like to eliminate it, you’re not alone. The American Society for Dermatologic Surgery tells us that most people with a double chin would like it gone.

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Plastic surgeons employ three several different surgical procedures for removing double chins: facelifts, necklifts, and liposuction.

CAN A LIPOSUCTION PROCEDURE ELIMINATE A DOUBLE CHIN?

A liposuction procedure removes the fatty tissue from under the skin, under the jowl, and along the upper portion of the neck. A small insertion is made under the skin, a tube is inserted, and the troublesome fat is sucked out through the tube. Local anesthesia is all that is required.

Chin liposuction can eliminate your double chin and enhance your general facial appearance. You’ll have a more defined jawline and a more natural-looking contour from your neck to your jawline.

HOW DOES A FACELIFT ELIMINATE A DOUBLE CHIN?

A facelift procedure lets a cosmetic surgeon remove the fat and the loose skin around the neck to eliminate a double chin. The procedure usually requires general anesthesia, although for some patients, local anesthesia may be sufficient.

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If you’re unhappy with your jawline and neck, or if you want to eliminate wrinkles, lines, or extra fat under the chin, talk to an experienced plastic surgeon about having a facelift. It may be the right option for you.

CAN A NECKLIFT HELP YOU ELIMINATE A DOUBLE CHIN?

Necklifts remove extra skin or tighten the neck muscles to improve neck and chin contours. Cosmetic surgeons frequently combine a necklift with a facelift, and patients who undergo both procedures may feel stiffness or tightness in the neck for a few weeks.

Smokers and persons who are using anti-clotting medications may not be good candidates for a plastic surgery procedure.

After any of these surgical procedures, a patient will experience swelling and bruising for about two weeks. Take it easy – and have someone around the house who can lend you a hand – for the first few days after any cosmetic surgery.

Set aside two weeks for a complete recovery. Your health and healing will be enhanced if you get an adequate amount of sleep, maintain a healthy diet, and follow to the letter any specific instructions from your plastic surgeon about your recovery.

ARE THERE NON-SURGICAL OPTIONS FOR ELIMINATING A DOUBLE CHIN?

Along with these three cosmetic surgical options, several non-surgical alternatives are also now available for helping patients who are dealing with a double chin.

coolsculpting for chin

CoolSculpting® is a non-surgical, scientifically-proven way to sculpt fat pockets in troublesome areas – such as under the chin – in as little as one session. The FDA has approved CoolSculpting® to treat nine different areas of the body, including the chin.

WHAT IS DEOXYCHOLIC ACID?

A recent development in cosmetic science is the use of deoxycholic acid, an injectable treatment for a double chin.

In the United States, under the trade name Kybella®, deoxycholic acid has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration since 2015 for reducing moderate-to-severe fat below the chin.

Kybella® injections destroy fat cells in the treatment area under the chin. Multiple small injections are made beneath the chin. The number of injections needed will depend on the amount of fat under the chin, and most patients will need from two to six treatment procedures.

A Kybella® injection procedure takes about twenty minutes.

ARE THERE OTHER OPTIONS FOR ELIMINATING A DOUBLE CHIN?

Myostimulation is effective for some people. It’s a method that uses electrical impulses to eliminates excess liquid in pockets of fat. Laser lipolysis uses low-intensity laser radiation to split fat cells and remove them from the body without surgery.

A chin implant can strengthen the jawline and reduce or eliminate a double chin when the chin is weak or recessive. An implant is usually paired with liposuction for the best result. Injectable fillers achieve the same result temporarily, but an implant may be the best long-term solution.

healthy diet

A natural diet may also help reduce the appearance of a double chin, especially if it has been caused by weight gain.

Drinking plenty of water also helps to remove fat from the body. Water-rich foods like cucumbers and melons also help to remove fat and toxins.

Double chin exercises – straining, stretching, and manipulating the mouth and neck muscles to pull on the jawlines – are great for your neck muscles, but these exercises are ineffective for eliminating a double chin.

WHEN SHOULD YOU SPEAK TO A PLASTIC SURGEON?

If your double-chin is only beginning to appear, these methods may help, but if you’ve had a full double chin for any length of time, you should speak at once with a qualified surgeon about cosmetic surgery or about non-surgical treatment for your double chin.

It’s important to know that a double chin poses absolutely no risk to your health. A double chin is not an indication of poor health, “bad” genes, or anything else. It’s just a bit of extra fat under your chin. Nevertheless, if you want to eliminate a double chin, a cosmetic surgeon can help.

Don’t be shy or reticent when you meet with a plastic surgeon. Get answers that satisfy you for any and all of your questions.

If you want to get rid of your double chin, speak promptly with a board-certified, experienced Boston plastic surgeon. You can even arrange a consultation – and take that first step toward a healthier, more youthful facial appearance – right now.