It’s certainly not a complaint exclusive to men, but boy do you hear a lot of men – millions of us – grumble and groan about the neck. Saggy. Doubled-up. Gobbler. You name the person – almost any age, gender, race and body type – and more often than not comes the complaint of the dreaded “double chin.”
Officially known as “submental fat”, it is an isolated pocket of fat. Diet and exercise most certainly can wipe it out, right? Just like so many other areas of fat? So sorry. It’s almost impossible to fix with either diet or exercise, or both, making it all the more frustrating.
So what’s the secret to a new, tighter neck minus the surgery it usually has taken to rid our necks of that nuisance skin?
Trim Away Your Double Chin Without Surgery
Most surgeons will point to surgery as the gold standard for a younger-looking neck, but there’s a healthy amount of board certified plastic surgeons who – thanks to some new tools – don’t think it necessary to pick up the scalpel just yet.
For many, many years the closest antidote was surgical liposuction. Now, however, a variety of options – some of them very cold and others featuring clever chemical disappearing acts – are allowing a larger and larger percentage of droopy-necked patients to stay off the operating table.
It may not give you a cold shoulder, but a cold neck could be a skinnier one
Famous CoolSculpting – the non-surgical fat removal device that cools fat until it’s eliminated – has a new version to smooth lines and wrinkles on the neck. A smaller, more flexible applicator called CoolSculpting CoolMini can be used to help reduce the fat underneath the chin. Board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Lou Bucky says he’s excited about using the new tool to reshape necks.
“We have a history of using CoolSculpting for contouring the body,” describes Bucky. “The reality of all of these procedures that are used for contouring the body is that they can now be used for contouring the neck. I think that they go together.”
CoolSculpting CoolMini has FDA clearance and fits on the neck and cools down the fat. No injections are involved so truly non-invasive is the mode of procedure. The procedure is relatively comfortable and takes about an hour.
A Tighter Neck Through Chemistry?
That oh-so-annoying, under-the-chin fat affects a lot of us. Although age is not a friend of the saggy neck, a number of other factors, including weight gain and loss, add to our neck woes. In addition to the recent release of CoolSculpting Mini, a different attack on the double chin has been cleared for use: Kybella®. The new injectable works by literally dissolving fat in target areas.
Dr. Stephan Finical of Charlotte Plastic Surgery in North Carolina is excited about the injectable that attacks moderate to severe double chins. “Typically we see results in a month,” he explains. “What I ask patients to do is get injected, wait six weeks later and that way we’ll see the result we got from the first injection and then we can go from there. People who maintain their weight throughout their life end up with a nicer neckline for their entire life. People who gain and lose, tend to stretch their skin. “
Most patients will need to be treated at least twice, maybe three times, in order to get the best results. The treatments are typically spaced out every two months. The injections, like filler and Botox injections, can be uncomfortable, but are not really painful. Afterwards, patients may experience some localized swelling, skin irritation and redness, but this will go away within one to two weeks. It’s performed in the office and is a quick procedure, an offering many on-the-go patients and especially men prefer.
Orlando-based board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Clifford Clark agrees Kybella is a game changer for some patients.
“Others were born with fullness below their chin,” Clark explains. “A fat neck. And you can see that in many people in their 20s, irrespective of their weight. And that particular group of people we have a newer treatment called Kybella. Through a series of injections we can dissolve the fat.”
Another Non-Surgical Option? Wait, There’s More!
No matter the removal option, some patients will still be faced with what to do with what’s left when the volume is gone from their necks. Maybe the skin will bounce back, but more than likely it will need to be treated and made to be tighter. This is typically handled by surgical skin tighetening during a surgical neck lift, but what about for all the non-surgical procedures?
Dr. Bucky has trended toward a non-surgical device called Intensif RF, a technology that triggers the skin’s own natural healing process, reducing wrinkles and acne. Intensif RF uses a minimally invasive approach with very little downtime to stimulate effective skin remodeling. This treatment works on the neck area as well as on deep wrinkles, acne scars and stretch marks. Doctor Bucky says it helps to fill in the blanks. “The missing piece has always been what do we do when we take the volume out. What happens to the skin? Dr. Bucky says laser wasn’t a good option. He says this new option is the best he’s seen.
For the first time in the double-chin’s history, it has numerous solutions – many of which do not require surgery. For all those out there who are bothered by that little bit of fat under their chins, today there exist options to treat it even in under an hour. Patients should always consult with a board certified surgeon to verify which treatment option will be best.