Ask the Doctor: Can I Get Rid of My Double Chin?

nice-neckI am often asked by my patients, “Can I get rid of my double chin?” The answer is, “Of course you can!” There are many options, all of which are effective. The key is to choose the right one for you. I always recommend the option that offers the best result, the least risk and the shortest recovery.

Before we discuss the options, lets briefly look at what constitutes a double chin. Most believe it is simply a collection of excess fat under the chin, and in most cases it is. However, there can be more to a double chin than fat. The skin, neck muscles, deeper fat layers and even minor salivary glands can play a role.

But in most patients, all that is needed is removal of the fat. The fat can be eliminated through injections, external “fat melting” devices, or liposuction. Kybella™ is an injectable drug newly approved by the FDA, which “dissolves” the fat. It is an in office procedure with a series of injections. External “fat melting” devices are another option where a device is applied to the skin that leads to fat elimination. This is also an in office procedure. The results of both injections and devices are not immediate and may take weeks or months to be noticeable. There are also limitations as to how much fat can be treated. These treatments are best suited for patients with small to moderate amounts of excess fat.

Liposuction is by far the most popular, most common and most effective solution. Liposuction can be performed under local or general anesthesia as an outpatient procedure. If there is no excess skin or skin laxity, there is almost no limit as to how heavy or full a neck can be treated. The results are visible immediately with the final result taking approximately three weeks to see. As with any surgical procedure, there is post-operative swelling and bruising.

But if in addition to excess fat there is skin laxity, deeper fat layers and the need to work on the salivary glands, then a neck lift would be the best option. Through an incision under the chin, the fat is removed from the deep layer, and if needed, muscle bands and salivary glands are dealt with. In some patients an incision around the ear may also be needed for the best results. The recovery is up to two weeks with associated swelling and bruising.

Getting rid of a double chin can be as easy as a few injections, undergoing an in office procedure, or a trip to the operating room. It all depends on your specific need. Your physician will examine you, assess all your tissues, and then recommend the best treatment option for you. Let the board certified physicians at the Emory Aesthetic Center provide you with a consult to assess your needs.

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