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Double Chin Surgery: Understanding The Procedure & Alternatives

In today’s image-conscious society, many individuals seek ways to enhance their appearance and boost self-confidence. One common concern is the presence of a double chin, ...

by Sarah Waldorf

This article was created after thorough research and has been improved with the assistance of AI technology. Furthermore, our dedicated editorial team has meticulously fact-checked and polished its content for accuracy and clarity.

In today’s image-conscious society, many individuals seek ways to enhance their appearance and boost self-confidence. One common concern is the presence of a double chin, a condition characterized by excess fat and skin under the chin and jawline. While diet and exercise can sometimes reduce this area, stubborn fat deposits often remain.

As a result, many people turn to cosmetic procedures, such as double chin surgery, to achieve a more defined jawline and neck. This article explores the specifics of double chin surgery, nonsurgical alternatives like deoxycholic acid, and the benefits and risks associated with these procedures.

What Is Double Chin Surgery?

Double Chin Surgery

Double chin surgery, also known as submental liposuction or a neck lift, is a cosmetic procedure aimed at reducing excess fat and skin under the chin and jawline. This surgery is typically performed by a plastic surgeon and involves the removal of fat through liposuction and the tightening of the skin to create a more contoured and youthful appearance.

During the procedure, the surgeon makes small incisions under the chin and sometimes behind the ears. A cannula, a thin tube, is then inserted to suction out the excess fat. If necessary, the surgeon may also tighten the underlying muscles and remove any extra skin. The entire procedure usually takes one to two hours and can be performed under local or general anesthesia, depending on the extent of the surgery and the patient’s preference.

Deoxycholic Acid: A nonsurgical alternative to double chin surgery

For individuals seeking a less invasive solution, deoxycholic acid (marketed as Kybella) offers a nonsurgical alternative to double chin surgery. Deoxycholic acid is an organic compound that facilitates the hydrolysis and assimilation of dietary fats. When injected into the fat beneath the chin, it destroys fat cells, reducing the appearance of a double chin.

A typical treatment involves multiple injections administered in a grid pattern under the chin. Most patients require a series of treatments, usually spaced about four to six weeks apart, with visible results emerging after two to four sessions. The procedure is performed in a doctor’s office and takes about 15-20 minutes per session.

Benefits and drawbacks of deoxycholic acid

Deoxycholic acid treatments offer several benefits. As a nonsurgical option, it involves no incisions, anesthesia, or significant downtime, allowing patients to resume their daily activities almost immediately. The gradual nature of the treatment also provides a more natural-looking result as the fat gradually dissolves over time.

However, there are also drawbacks to consider. Multiple treatments are often necessary to achieve the desired results, which can be time-consuming and costly. Some patients experience side effects such as swelling, bruising, pain, numbness, redness, and areas of hardness in the treatment zone. In rare cases, more serious side effects, such as difficulty swallowing or nerve injury in the jaw, can occur.

Why do people have a neck lift or chin tuck?

People opt for a neck lift or chin tuck for various reasons, primarily related to improving their appearance and boosting self-esteem. Common motivations include:

  • Aging: As people age, skin loses elasticity, and fat distribution changes, leading to sagging skin and fat accumulation under the chin.
  • Genetics: Some individuals are predisposed to developing a double chin due to their genetic makeup, regardless of their overall body weight.
  • Weight Fluctuations: Significant weight gain or loss can lead to the development of a double chin, and sometimes the skin does not fully retract after weight loss.
  • Desire for a Youthful Appearance: A defined jawline and neck are often associated with youth and vitality, motivating individuals to seek surgical or nonsurgical solutions.

What happens before double chin removal surgery?

Before undergoing double chin removal surgery, patients typically go through a series of consultations and preparations to ensure the best possible outcome. The steps include:

➡️ Initial Consultation

The surgeon evaluates the patient’s medical history, examines the neck and chin area, and discusses the patient’s goals and expectations. This is also the time to discuss potential risks and benefits.

➡️ Medical Evaluation

Patients may need to undergo a medical evaluation, including blood tests, to ensure they are fit for surgery.

➡️ Pre-Surgery Instructions

The surgeon provides specific instructions to follow before the procedure. These may include avoiding certain medications, stopping smoking, and arranging for someone to drive the patient home post-surgery.

➡️ Planning the Procedure

The surgeon outlines the surgical plan, including the areas to be treated, the type of anesthesia to be used, and the expected recovery process.

What are the risks of double chin removal?

As with any surgical procedure, double chin removal surgery carries certain risks. Although difficulties are rare, it is crucial to be aware of possible issues, such as:

  • Infection: Any surgical procedure carries a risk of infection, which can usually be treated with antibiotics.
  • Bleeding and Hematoma: Excessive bleeding or the formation of a hematoma (a collection of blood outside of blood vessels) can occur, sometimes requiring additional treatment.
  • Scarring: Although incisions are typically small and placed in inconspicuous locations, some scarring is inevitable.
  • Nerve Damage: There is a risk of nerve injury, which can lead to numbness, tingling, or even temporary or permanent weakness in the facial muscles.
  • Asymmetry: Achieving perfect symmetry is challenging, and there may be slight differences in the appearance of each side of the chin and neck.
  • Anesthesia Risks: General anesthesia carries its own set of risks, including allergic reactions and complications related to breathing.

What happens before double chin removal surgery?

  • Goals discussion: The patient and surgeon will discuss the patient’s desired outcomes from the surgery.
  • Medical History: This includes the patient’s health conditions, allergies, previous surgeries, and overall medical background.
  • Current Medications: Both prescription and over-the-counter medications, including vitamins, need to be disclosed.
  • Lifestyle Factors: The patient’s use of alcohol, tobacco, or illegal drugs will be reviewed.
  • Facial and Neck Examination: The surgeon will measure and examine the patient’s face and neck.
  • Marking the Area: The area targeted for surgery will be marked for precise treatment planning.
  • Photographs: Pre-operative pictures will be taken to help plan the surgery and for comparison after the procedure.
  • The surgeon will explain the different methods available for removing a double chin and recommend the best approach based on the patient’s condition and goals.
  • Anesthesia Options: Various anesthesia options will be reviewed to manage pain during the procedure, along with associated risks.
  • If the patient is deemed a suitable candidate and decides to proceed, they must sign a consent form. This form indicates:
    • Permission for the surgeon to perform the procedure.
    • Understanding of the surgery’s risks.
    • Agreement that expectations are realistic.
  • Medical Tests: The surgeon may require blood tests or a physical exam by the patient’s primary care provider.
  • Lifestyle Adjustments: Patients might need to:
    • Quit smoking.
    • Discontinue certain medications (e.g., aspirin, NSAIDs, herbal supplements) to reduce the risk of complications during and after surgery.

What happens during double chin surgery?

Double chin surgery, often referred to as a neck lift or chin tuck, is a cosmetic procedure aimed at reducing the appearance of a double chin. The process generally involves the following steps:


  • The patient is given a hospital gown to wear and is positioned on a surgical table.
  • Anesthesia is administered to ensure the patient does not feel pain during the procedure.

Skin Preparation

  • The surgical area is cleaned and prepped.
  • The surgeon marks the skin with a pen or marker to outline where incisions will be made and to guide the surgery.


  • For a neck lift, incisions are typically made around the ear and hairline. These incisions are larger compared to those made for a chin tuck, which are smaller and more localized.
  • The type and location of incisions depend on the specific goals and extent of the procedure.

Tissue and Fat Adjustment

  • The surgeon cuts, repositions, or shapes tissue and removes excess fat to achieve the desired contour.
  • Liposuction may be used to suck out excess fat from the area.

Muscle Tightening

Muscles in the neck area may be tightened by sewing them down, providing a firmer and more defined neck and jawline.

Skin Trimming

Any extra skin that results from the tightening and fat removal is trimmed away to ensure a smooth appearance.


  • The incisions are closed using stitches or skin glue.
  • Bandages are applied, and sometimes a chin strap is used to support the skin as it heals.

The entire procedure can last from 45 minutes to a few hours, depending on the complexity and specific techniques used. Post-surgery, the patient will have bandages and potentially a chin strap to aid in the healing process and support the new contours.

What happens after a double chin removal procedure?

The content provides a detailed overview of what patients can expect after undergoing a double chin removal procedure. Here’s a breakdown of the key points:

Discharge and Immediate Post-Operative Care

  • The majority of patients are discharged on the same day as the surgical procedure.
  • It is recommended to have someone drive the patient home and stay with them overnight for safety and support.

Post-Surgical Care

  • Patients may have a thin tube inserted near the incision sites to drain fluid and reduce swelling.
  • The surgical team will provide specific recovery instructions, including how to care for the drains and change bandages.

Recovery Instructions

  • Avoid Ice: Patients should not apply ice near the surgical area to prevent complications.
  • Head Elevation: Keeping the head elevated above the heart helps to minimize swelling.
  • Limited Neck Movement: Patients should minimize neck movement to avoid disrupting the surgical area, which includes avoiding actions like pulling clothes over the head or sudden head movements.
  • Monitoring for Complications: Patients need to report any signs of complications to their surgical team promptly.
  • Sun Exposure: Staying out of the sun is crucial to protect the healing skin.
  • Medications: The use of prescribed medications, such as pain relievers or antibiotics, is important for managing pain and preventing infection.

This guidance ensures patients understand the necessary steps for a smooth recovery, highlighting the importance of careful management and monitoring during the healing process.


Double chin surgery and its nonsurgical alternatives, such as deoxycholic acid, provide effective solutions for individuals seeking to improve their neck and jawline contours. While double chin surgery offers immediate and often dramatic results, it involves more risk and recovery time compared to nonsurgical options. Deoxycholic acid treatments, on the other hand, offer a less invasive approach with gradual, natural-looking improvements but require multiple sessions and patience.

Ultimately, the choice between surgical and nonsurgical treatments depends on the individual’s goals, budget, and tolerance for risk and downtime. Consulting with a qualified plastic surgeon or cosmetic specialist is essential to determine the most appropriate approach for each person’s unique situation. Whether opting for surgery or injections, these procedures can significantly enhance one’s appearance and confidence, contributing to an overall improved quality of life.

Frequently asked questions

1. What is the best surgery for a double chin?

A. The most common surgical technique for reducing a double chin is submental liposuction. This procedure involves making a small incision under the chin to insert a specialized cannula into the submental region to remove excess fat.

2. How much does it cost to get rid of a double chin?

A. The cost of double chin reduction procedures can vary widely. Prices may range from as low as $1,500 to as high as $30,000. Factors influencing cost include the specific procedure chosen, geographical location, surgeon’s expertise, and individual patient needs.

3. Can a double chin be removed permanently?

A. Yes, there are permanent solutions for reducing a double chin. Kybella is a fat-dissolving injectable treatment that can permanently reduce the appearance of a double chin by destroying fat cells. After the removal of fat cells, they do not undergo regeneration.

4. How painful is double chin surgery?

A. During the procedure itself, patients are administered anesthesia to ensure they don’t feel any pain. While some slight discomfort may accompany chin liposuction recovery, it is generally manageable and should not last more than a few days. Post-operative soreness is common but typically temporary.


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