With the tremendous increase in video conferencing and social media, more patients are noticing their double chins. Fortunately, facial sculpting procedures such as liposuction, chin implants, and facelifts, can often help people define and contour their chins and jawlines for a more attractive face shape.
What Is a Double Chin (Submental Fullness)?
Submental fullness refers to the excess skin and fat under the chin and neck area that cause the appearance of a second chin. An overly full or round neck and chin can make you appear older or heavier than you actually are and cause your jawline to look ill-defined.
If you’re frustrated by your double chin, you’re not alone. This issue bothers people almost as much as the wrinkles that develop around the eyes and forehead.
Due to the regional anatomy, a double chin or submental fullness may require multiple modality cosmetic treatments to achieve a patient’s desired results. – Houtan Chaboki, MD
What Causes a Double Chin?
A double chin can be congenital (genetics), develop with age naturally, or result from weight gain.
What Contributes to a Double Chin or Submental Fullness?
First, let’s examine the relevant anatomy of the chin, jawline, and neck. Skin, fat, muscle, bone, and glands all contribute to the appearance of this area. Often, a combination of factors contributes to its appearance:
- Excess neck fat is usually present but not always.
- A small or weak chin bone may be present (usually from an early age).
- Loose skin and sagging muscle develop as you get older (“turkey neck”).
- Ptotic or droopy submandibular glands also create submental fullness.
Tilting the chin downward while on social media apps only worsens the appearance of the neck.
Below are four different patient examples that demonstrate these various factors contributing to submental fullness.
Double Chin Caused by Mulitple Factors
Double Chin Caused by Weak Chin, Excess Neck Fat, Droopy Salivary Gland
Double Chin Caused by Sagging Neck Muscle & Skin, Droopy Salivary Gland
Genetic Double Chin (Weak Chin, Submental Fullness)
How To Treat a Double Chin
Due to the multi-factorial etiology of having a double chin, there isn’t one treatment that is “best” for all patients. The two broad categories of cosmetic treatments are nonsurgical methods and surgical methods.
Nonsurgical Double Chin Removal
Generally, nonsurgical methods use injections or devices to reduce a double chin. For example, excess neck fat can be frozen, heated, or dissolved via nonsurgical methods in the office via local anesthesia.
- BOTOX has been injected into the salivary gland to shrink it and into platysma muscle, otherwise known as Nefertiti lift.
- KYBELLA injections dissolve the excess fat under the chin.
- Facial fillers may be used to augment a weak chin.
Nonsurgical methods still haven’t replaced the more dramatic or long-lasting changes that one may achieve from plastic surgery but may be appropriate for some patients.
As compared to plastic surgery, nonsurgical methods:
- Produce more subtle results.
- Gradually develop over time.
- Are usually temporary.
- Often must be repeated to see any appreciable improvements in the neck and chin.
Double Chin Plastic Surgery
Plastic surgery for a double chin or submental fullness produces a more significant and long-lasting improvement, often with minimal downtime. Plastic surgery may reduce neck fat, tighten neck muscle, lift sagging skin, or augment a weak chin.
Below are a variety of plastic surgery before and after examples to improve submental fullness. Plastic surgery procedures may include any combination of neck lift-type procedures including:
- Liposuction to reduce neck fat.
- Chin implant to augment a weak chin bone.
- Facelift surgery to tighten and lift sagging skin and neck muscles.
You can learn more about related procedures to further sculpt your profile in another blog post.
Double Chin Treatment Before and After Photos
This first patient has a submental fullness due to having a small chin. She had a medium size silicone chin implant placed, which augmented the chin to be more proportional and improved the submental fullness.
The man has both a weak chin and excess neck fat, which have been improved with a combination of an extra large silicone chin implant and neck liposuction.
This woman has a combination of several factors that contribute to her submental fullness. She also underwent silicone chin implant augmentation with neck liposuction. She may have also chosen to have a facelift with skin and muscle tightening for additional improvement, but she wanted more conservative changes and wasn’t ready for a facelift at this stage in her life.
This woman has primarily excess skin and sagging muscle which not only creates wrinkles of the neck skin, but also creates a double chin or submental fullness. She has very minimal neck fat and chin size is appropriate. She underwent a facelift procedure with tightening of the neck skin and muscle.
Which Treatment Is Right for You?
First, try to determine what is contributing to your specific submental fullness—skin, muscle, fat, bone, or gland.
Second, determine your preferred recovery time and budget.
Most importantly, consult with a plastic surgeon who performs these various procedures and who can conduct a comprehensive evaluation to determine what procedure is most likely to achieve your cosmetic goals.