A double chin can occur at any age, and it’s not exclusive to people who are overweight. In fact, the buccula (which means little cheek in latin) is the medical term for a double chin, and the reason people end up with this hanging cheek of sub-mental fat is often due to genetics or excess skin laxity. Which can come with age.
As injectables and other non-surgical ways to enhance our looks become more common, many of us are seeking ways to minimise, dissolve or blast away our unwanted lumps, bumps and lines. According to an Allergan study, 47% of respondents were unhappy with the appearance under their chin, and there’s a growing trend in Australia to remove it, for good.
Is it safe?
Sub-mental fat reduction, also referred to as a non-surgical chin lift or fat-dissolving injections contains synthetic deoxycholic acid (which naturally occurs in the body) or liquid lecithin (derived from soya beans). As with any skin piercing, there are risks, but if you’re being treated by a registered health professional, the risks are fairly low.
The most likely side effect is light bruising but there’s a slim chance it will cause one side of your mouth to temporarily droop. According to Sydney-based plastic surgeon, Dr Jeremy Hunt the potential droop is “due to the small chance of temporarily affecting the marginal branch of the facial nerve. The anatomy of the nerves in the face differs from person to person and in 2% of treatments a small branch of the facial nerve can be affected,” explains Hunt. “The average time to resolve is 44 days.”
So it’s not to be taken lightly.
How many injections do you need?
Each session involves approximately 20 injections, says Natalie Abouchar, registered nurse and founder of Privée Clinic in Sydney. She explains how each injection “breaks the fat cell membrane open; the fat leaks out and then the body’s macrophages come to the site to engulf the fat and take it to the lymphatic system where it is taken to the liver and metabolised.” It’s a very specialised procedure so it’s wise to check the credentials of the person administering the needles. A registered nurse or doctor are your best bet.
What’s the down time?
A lunchtime treatment this is not. Swelling is to be expected, so going straight back to work isn’t advised. Rather, the recommendation is to ice the skin and rest. The swelling will usually go down within 48 hours but can take up to a week.
For best results, two to three treatments one month apart are recommended. Dr Hunt explains that as with many other cosmetic treatments, “it takes up to six weeks for you to notice the effects.”
Does it hurt?
It sure does. Although everyone’s pain threshold is different, this is generally considered to generate an ‘ouch’ so numbing cream is applied about 30 minutes before your session. To help ease the pain and reduce the chance of bruising you’ll likely be given an ice pack to use throughout the session.
Are fat dissolving injections permanent?
The good news is, according to Abouchar, people generally only need two visits and yes, the results are lasting. “Once the fat cell is destroyed it’s permanent. However, if there are remaining fat cells, these can still get bigger.” So, that means, the same fat cells won’t return but if you were to gain weight then other fat cells can still produce a double chin.
Chin injections before and after photos
What does it cost?
The cost will vary from clinic to clinic and depending on your location but prices range between $900 to $1800 per session. Most practitioners agree on the recommended two treatments.
To get the best results
If you really want the wow factor, there are a few other non-surgical additions that can enhance the results of sub-mental injections. “Often fillers in the jawline and chin can help sculpt the jawline and give a better profile,” explains Abouchar. She adds that adding injectables into the platysmal band of the neck can also help produce an even better look.
Does it work on other areas?
Fat dissolving injections have been approved by the TGA for sub-mental (double chin) contouring and can also be used “in other small areas, such as the cheeks, jowls, or love handles,” says Abouchar.
Think this is for you? Chin sculpting injections are available at cosmetic surgery, and skin and laser clinics around Australia.