Although it goes by many names: the wattle, turkey-gobbler, tech-neck, or the ultimate selfie-killer, a double chin or submental fullness is one of the most common complaints I hear in the office. And with social media and the rise of a photo-obsessed world, the numbers of patients seeking treatment is rising. According to a 2015 survey conducted by the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, 67 percent of people said they are bothered by fat under their chin. A double chin can be caused by genetics, aging, or weight gain. Even with diet and exercise, sometimes the unwanted fat and extra skin doesn’t go away and can make people look heavier and appear older than they actually are. Until recently, liposuction was the only option available to reduce a double chin. Liposuction is a surgical procedure that requires an incision and recovery. The good news: now there are multiple ways to treat submental fullness without surgery or a prolonged recovery process.
An injectable treatment option is called Kybella and it is the first and only FDA-approved injectable treatment to improve the appearance fat under the chin. Kybella is a synthetic form of deoxycholic acid, a naturally occurring substance that when injected under the chin helps break down fat cells. After a series of injections, fat is dissolved without surgery or incisions. Once the fat cells are destroyed, those cells can no longer store fat. Therefore the need for additional treatment to maintain the results is not expected. Side effects including swelling, redness, tenderness, and occasional bruising are seen in the days following treatment and can be reduced by following the instructions by your physician.
Another great option for a double chin is treatment with the CoolMini by Coolsculpting. The CoolSculpting procedure works by delivering controlled cooling to effectively target the fat cells under the skin. The treated fat cells crystallize (freeze) then slowly self-destruct over time. The body naturally processes the destroyed fat cells and eliminates them gradually. CoolSculpting harnesses the power of cold to permanently reduce the number of fat cells in the double chin area with very little swelling and bruising. And once the fat cells are destroyed, they are gone for good.
Both Kybella and CoolSculpting may take more than one treatment to deliver the desired outcome and the results take time, usually appearing gradually within one to three months after treatment. In my office, these treatments have high patient satisfaction because people can finally get rid of the double chin without disruption to a busy schedule.