Liposuction is highly effective at contouring the chin and jowls.
I have spoken quite a bit for the last few years about how Smartlipo liposuction of the chin and neck can improve your profile. Actually, while I’m inclined to call this neck liposuction, I find many of my patients refer to the chin liposuction. I think that’s because many of them have a “selfie chin” – and they all seem to hate it! In the end, it really doesn’t matter what we call it. The point is that nowadays we are able to improve the profile of many patients using a relatively simple technique that can both contour the jawline and tighten the skin at the same time. Until recently, “experts” might have told patients that in order to remove jowls a facelift was necessary – and sometimes it still is, but NOT all of the time. A facelift takes hours to perform nicely and involves significant down time, whereas a liposuction procedure on the chin or neck only takes about 45 minutes to perform (under local anesthetic in the comfort of my office) and the recovery time is just a few days.
Selfie chin can be removed simply.
I find a lot of patients coming in these days as a result of facetime and skype videos that showcase their double chin. I also know a professional photographer who tells me that the first thing she photoshops for her clients is their neck and jawline because the subjects look so much better when she does. She then pointed out that these people pay thousands for her pictures and even more for her photoshop abilities to make them look better. In fact, for the same money they can potentially just have the real double chin removed and then not have to pay her for the computer morphing time.
Simple procedure performed under local anesthetic.
The nicest part about Smartlipo on the neck or chin is that it can be done under local anesthesia. We begin by making a few pinholes in the skin so that we can infiltrate the area with local anesthetic. That’s right, no scalpel necessary! I like to make the needle holes in the chin and behind each ear. Don’t worry, there will be no perceptible scar when we are done. When the local is injected it might burn a little, but this only lasts for about 90 seconds to two minutes. Once this step is complete, patients don’t feel any discomfort.
Next, we treat the tissues with the Smartlipo laser. This is actually a big box that has a laser in it but allows a sterile fiber-optic cable to be connected. The cable is 1 mm thick and slides into a cannula that is used to treat the area.
The cannula is then inserted into the pin holes we made earlier and when we fire the laser, it melts the fat.
Skin tightening is remarkable
The best part about this procedure is the contraction of the tissues around the chin and neck. This is a topic that has received a lot of attention in the surgical literature because many of us are skeptical, but some studies are convincing. There seems to be no need for removal of excess skin in well chosen cases. Even in the example below, I truly thought I was going to need to perform a neck lift operation in order to get the patient a nice result, but it never happened. I will admit that she still has a little loose skin directly behind the chin, but this is nothing compared to where she started out. She was the original patient who made me believe that the laser energy from the Smartlipo really does help the skin to tighten a bit.
Now, we should pause for here to explain something about this technology. Plastic surgeons all agree that the laser helps to melt fat, but we disagree on whether or not it actually helps to tighten skin. I am clearly a believer. In my experience, skin on the neck and arms truly seems to get more snug and my results are better than they were a few years ago (before I had a Smartlipo machine). That said, I am not so convinced that it tightens skin on the abdomen or flanks – good thing this post is about the neck and chin!
Profile can Improve Nicely
There is a very nice improvement in patients profiles, but there does seem to be a difference between the genders. In men, the results tend to be a little more subtle and can take a few weeks to develop. In some ways that is good because they are much more secretive about such activities than women – so small changes are sometimes better for them.
In women, recovery seems to take two forms. They either get results immediately, or it takes 3-6 weeks for the outcome to be apparent. Importantly, however, friends and family can’t typically quite figure out what it is that they’ve done. They just look good!
Patients look thinner despite removal of very little fat
It’s a funny thing how such a relatively small amount of tissue removal can appear as such a significant change in the appearance of a patient. I typically take out only about 200 cc’s of fat and fluid (the tumescent fluid that is injected), yet the change in the appearance of the patients is remarkable and patients appear to be impressively more slender. In fact, patients tell me that the most common question they get from friends and family is whether or not they’ve lost weight. I repeat, it’s only 200 cc’s of liposuction, but the area that it is taken from makes a huge difference. Again, I love the fact that patients look better, but nobody can quite tell why.
Additional small procedures augment the results
Rather than having one big procedure that can dramatically change a patients look (e.g. a full facelift), sometimes the subtleties of multiple small changes can have a more stealthy, but still impressive outcome. For instance, many times a patient who wants neck or chin liposuction will also be a good candidate for some facial fillers. Again, “subtle” is the operative word in my office. I am not a fan of pumping gallons of filler or botox into patients’ faces and making them look strange. I just like to replenish some of their lost volume, or play down some of the lines that may have developed over the years.
Patients appear younger
This is a matter of opinion, but in my mind the majority of neck liposuction patients look younger. I know this is subject to interpretation, but looking at the examples I’ve presented here, I think most onlookers would agree with me.
There is some science to theories of beauty, and I don’t think I’m completely off base here. As people get older they tend to develop a heavier neck and jowls. So even if a young person has them, they look a little older because of it. When we take that heavy appearance away, the onlooker doesn’t interpret their appearance to be as old anymore.
How Long Will the Results of Chin Liposuction last?
We have no reason to think that these results are not permanent. I have stated in other posts that once the fat cells are removed from an area, it is very difficult to re-gain fat in that region. That said, the proof is in the pudding. I have had several patients return to my office for other reason years after having Smartlipo of the neck and they all seem to maintain very nice results. An example is the woman below who came in 3 years after her neck lipo and still looks great.