There are a few ways to remove unwanted “submental fullness,” which is otherwise known as a double chin. One way is through submental liposuction or lipectomy, and the other is through another minimally invasive procedure called Kybella.
Who is a Candidate for Lipo or Kybella?
Before a patient undergoes either procedure, the doctor needs to learn something about their medical history. The patient needs to be in good overall health, and their double chin needs to be the result of too much fat in the area and not a medical condition such as hyperthyroidism. When this is determined, the doctor and patient can then discuss what they both are looking for in terms of either Kybella or submental lipo. The doctor or aesthetician tells the patient what to expect and may show them before and after photos of patients who have had the same treatment.
Kybella has the distinction of being the only FDA approved treatment for a double chin. It is ATX-101, an artificial form of deoxycholic acid. What natural deoxycholic acid does is burn the fat that a person gets via their diet. Scientists learned that when ATX-101 is applied to the double chin, it causes the membranes of the fat cells there to burst and release the fat contents while leaving the other types of cells in the area unharmed. The body then processes the fat naturally.
When a patient has Kybella treatment, the aesthetician or specialist cleans the chin with an alcohol swab then injects some lidocaine around the area to numb it. Then, they inject the Kybella using a fine needle. Between 12 and 20 injections are given per session, though the number depends on the patient’s needs. Each session lasts about a quarter of an hour, and there is no recovery time. The patient applies an ice pack to their chin for a few minutes, then leaves the aesthetician office soon after the session.
A small amount of bruising and swelling occurs after Kybella treatments, but again an ice pack can ease the discomfort. The patient should take it easy for a couple of days and not perform any strenuous activities. The patient sees improvement a few days after Kybella treatment. The improvement continues if the patient opts for maintenance treatments that are scheduled about a month apart.
A patient can also choose submental liposuction. As with Kybella, the patient first has a consultation with the doctor to see if they are a good candidate for the operation. Then, the doctor marks the areas of the double chin as the incision sites. Many doctors mark three sites, which they believe is ideal for both removing the unwanted fat and leaving the chin with a pleasing contour. Some doctors mark the angle of the lower jaw to locate the mandibular nerve. This helps them avoid puncturing or irritating this nerve.
Patients who opt for submental liposuction can use local anesthesia or IV sedation, where they are given a sedative through an intravenous tube. The latter, also called twilight sleep, is a good choice for patients who are combining their liposuction with another procedure such as eyelid surgery.
Doctors now use a tumescent solution for submental liposuction. This is a solution of lidocaine, a vasoconstrictor and saline solution or Ringer’s lactate that the doctor allows to work for about five minutes before operating. Then, they apply stab incisions to the marked sites, and open them up a little bit with tiny scissors meant for eye operations. They insert a very small bore vacuum cannula, and pull out the unwanted fat. This is done with great precision because the resulting chin has to blend in with the contours and symmetry of the rest of the patient’s face. To make the operation even more effective, some doctors excise, or cut out the fat as well as use a suction cannula.
Recovery from submental lipo can take a bit longer than recovery after Kybella. After the operation, the doctor wraps the patient’s chin and neck in a chin strap that is taken off by the doctor the next day. There is some swelling and bruising, and patients may be surprised to see bruises on their neck and even on their chest. This is due to gravity. There may be some numbness and lip weakness, but this goes away in the months after the surgery as the nerves recover. Sutures are removed within a week after the surgery. In other words, the discomforts of submental liposuction eventually go away, and the patient is left with a smoother chin and firm jawline.
It should also be said that the fat that is removed by either Kybella or liposuction does not return.
A person in the Princeton, New Jersey area who is troubled by their double chin should call the Glasgold Group for a consultation with either Dr. Mark Glasgold or Dr. Robert Glasgold, who are board-certified plastic surgeons who specialize in Kybella treatments and other facial cosmetic and reconstructive surgery including dermal fillers, Botox and other injectables.
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