What is submental liposuction?
A strong jaw line and a sharp chin / neck contrast contribute to both a fit and a youthful appearance. Excessive deposits of fat under the chin can be congenital (genetically inherited), or the result of weight gain. In some, these deposits remain in spite of losing weight or being thin elsewhere. A “double chin” can detract greatly from an otherwise attractive face.
Submental liposuction (removal of fat from under the chin) is performed to restore a more aesthetically pleasing contour to the neck and jaw line. This procedure is often combined with chin implant for those with a receding chin or facelift for those with sagging neck skin.
Who is an ideal candidate for submental liposuction?
Having a double chin is common as we age. When their development is caused by the weight of fat pulling down the tissue under our jawline and on the upper neck, liposuction is the perfect answer. Dr. Thompson and Dr. Henstrom are able to precisely control the fat removed and the contour of your jawline. Neck and chin liposuction allows the fat to be removed with more controlled expectation than from Kybella injections. Kybella injections do target and destroy the fat, but we can’t manage the exact areas of removal the same way he can with liposuction.
The main requirement for submental liposuction is that the patient still has good elasticity in the skin of this area. Once the fat is removed, the skin needs to be able to tighten down. This returns definition to the patient’s profile, and provides a sharper, sculpted chin and jawline. However, if the patient’s skin is loose, either due to excessive weight gain and subsequent loss or from simple genetics, removing the fat will only make the area appear looser. The skin in these cases has lost its elasticity, its ability to rebound. For these patients, a lower facelift and neck lift are the only way to remove this sagging, unresponsive skin. We would likely include some liposuction along with this surgery, but excision of skin is necessary.
Otherwise, if it’s fat that is creating your double chin, submental liposuction is an easy to take, satisfying procedure.
How is submental liposuction performed?
Liposuction performed on the chin and upper neck is a more delicate procedure than liposuction done on larger areas of the body. That’s where the training, expertise, and experience of Dr. Thompson and Dr. Henstrom come into play. Both are double board-certified in facial plastic surgery and head and neck surgery (otolaryngology).
For these procedures, we first inject the areas with a tumescent solution. This is a combination of saline water, lidocaine, and epinephrine. The salt water expands the area; the lidocaine provides local anesthetic; and the epinephrine constricts the blood vessels to create far less bleeding and subsequent bruising. The epinephrine also constricts the fat cells, making them easier to break loose and gently suction away.
After the tumescent solution is injected and other local anesthetic is given, a series of small incisions is made along the jawline. These are only 2 to 3 mm in length, so small they don’t require sutures and can be closed with simple Steri-Strips. For submental liposuction, Dr. Thompson and Dr. Henstrom use a microcannula, generally 16-gauge or 14-gauge in size. This is used to suction away the fat in an extensive crisscross pattern to achieve uniform removal. This creates a smooth, pleasing, slimmer contour.
This sequence is repeated with each insertion of the cannula into the different small incisions until the entire area under the chin and the upper neck has been addressed. Then the cannula is removed, and Steri-Strips applied. The cannula removes most of the tumescent solution along with the fat, and any remaining solution is absorbed by the body quite quickly.
We monitor you for a brief time and then you return home.
Submental liposuction doesn’t cover a large area. As such, these procedures only take around 30 minutes to perform.
Dr. Thompson and Dr. Henstrom use local anesthesia to first numb the area to be addressed. The tumescent solution also contains lidocaine. This combination of anesthetic keeps the patient comfortable. Plus, the very small microcannula we use for neck and chin liposuction is not overly invasive.
Your swelling after neck liposuction should only last about one week, two at the most. At that point, you’ll be able to fully appreciate your sharper profile, straighter jawline, and more youthful chin and neck area.
Any time we remove fat at Utah Facial Plastics through tumescent liposuction that fat is gone for good. That is true with submental liposuction.
The human body has a finite number of fat cells. Those fat cells enlarge when we gain weight and shrink with weight loss. But their numbers remain basically the same. With liposuction around the chin and upper neck, the numbers of fat cells are diminished, slimming your profile and the overall contours of the area. Unless you gain a large amount of weight (which can lead to the formation of new fat cells), you’ll enjoy your slimmer profile for the rest of your life.
Following surgery, a cotton dressing is placed and removed the following day. Bruising is generally minimal and resolves within 1 to 2 weeks. Light activity may begin at 1 week with full activity resumed by 3 weeks.