Do you dislike your jawline or feel you have a double chin? You are not alone…
A 2015 survey of American men and women revealed that 67% were bothered by the fat beneath their chin, the same number that were concerned about forehead and frown lines.
Here in Australia, 59% of women (in 2016) said they are concerned about a double chin – that’s more than those concerned about forehead and frown lines (52%). The shape and contour of the chin and neck play a fundamental role in our appearance, and fat accumulation in this area can hide our underlying definition.
Before and after double chin treatment
Did you know that we can now sculpt, contour and define your neck and jawline?
Definitely not just for women – using this injectable anti-ageing treatment, we can chisel the male jawline, sculpt your neck and help you drop a shirt size.
This product is made by the same company responsible for the most well known brands of anti-wrinkle injections and dermal fillers. It has been available in Australia since early 2017, when we were amongst the first clinics to begin using it. We have extensive experience with this treatment, with The Skin Clinic Fremantle being one of the key sites in a Phase IV clinical study into its use. Our principal doctor is on the Faculty of the Allergan Medical Institute, training other practitioners in this treatment, and has spoken at conferences about its use.
FAQs about fat dissolving injections for treating a double chin
Submental fullness is also known as a “double chin”. It can be caused by:
- Ageing – It can develop naturally as we age
- Genetics – It can be part of our DNA
- Weight changes – It can appear as a result of weight change (diet and exercise may not be enough to remove the fullness)
This injectable treatment is to help the appearance of your double chin and is not surgery, liposuction or fat-freezing. It is a clinically proven, prescription-only medication that is injected into the fat beneath your chin. Double chin treatments are tailored to each patient’s needs to produce a customised result and therefore a consultation with our doctor is essential prior to starting a treatment course.
The best results are seen in patients with a BMI within the normal range, who have a localised fat deposit beneath their chin. Often these patients feel that they do not have a defined jawline, or that their face appears to blend into their neck. This treatment may be for you if:
- You’re bothered (unhappy, self-conscious, embarrassed) by fat under the chin;
- You feel the condition makes you look older or heavier than you actually are;
- You are someone who grows a beard or wears a scarf to hide your jawline, or avoids having photographs taken that show your side profile;
- You don’t want to have surgery;
- You eat well and exercise, but submental fullness does not go away.
The active ingredient is a synthetic, non-animal form of a bile acid substance found naturally in the body. In your body, bile acids are produced in the liver and secreted into the gut to aid in the breakdown and absorption of fat cells in the diet. When the synthetic version is injected below the chin, it causes disruption of the biological membrane around the fat cells in that region, triggering destruction of those cells in a process called adipocytolysis. Once destroyed, these cells are gradually but permanently eliminated by the body’s natural metabolism and the appearance of the double chin is improved.
This product is a prescription-only medication that is licensed for the improvement in appearance of moderate to severe fullness associated with submental fat in adults. The product is backed by over 9 years of research, with more than 20 published clinical studies involving over 2600 patients. Long-term study data now exists for >8years, showing this treatment to be safe and long-lasting.
Treatments take 15-20 minutes and are carried out in the clinic. The treatment area is measured and temporary markings are drawn onto the skin as an injection guide. Ice is then applied to chill the skin. Multiple small injections are performed with a very thin needle through the skin into the fat layer to deliver the product to the exact treatment area.
Chilling the skin with ice makes the injections very tolerable for the majority of patients, and in most circumstances we also suggest local anaesthetic to improve comfort levels even further. Most patients experience a warm, heating sensation in the area immediately after the injections, which lasts for around 30-60 minutes.
In general, fat-dissolving treatments are well tolerated, but as with any medical procedure, some side effects can be expected.
Commonly, patients will experience some mild redness and/or light bruising at the injection sites, and some mild pain or tenderness for up to a week after each treatment.
You should expect some moderate swelling of the treatment area, which is likely to be quite obvious in the first 48hours and usually resolves over the first week. The product works by destroying the fat cell membrane, which causes an inflammatory process and swelling as the body eliminates the contents of the fat cells. This natural tissue-injury repair process can lead to additional tightening and retraction of the overlying skin, and so is considered part of the treatment process rather than an unwanted adverse effect.
Occasionally, patients may experience temporary numbness in the treated area that resolves spontaneously over the following weeks/months, or small, firm tender lumps/nodules below the skin. These bumps will also resolve on their own over several weeks to months.
It is important that this product is injected by a qualified and trained medical practitioner with specific knowledge of the relevant anatomy of the sub-mental area. This minimises the possibility of temporary damage to nerves and blood vessels in and around the area.
The number of treatments given varies depending upon the amount of fat in the area. The average patient requires between 1 to 4 treatments but up to 6 treatments can be given. Treatments are spaced at least 6 weeks apart to give the body time to eliminate the treated fat cells between treatments. During your initial consultation, we can usually give you an accurate estimation of the expected number of treatments you will need.
Treatment with fat dissolving injections is usually not a one-off event, it is a customised treatment journey. Since the body takes some time to metabolise the fat cells that have been destroyed in the adipocytolysis process, you may not see visible results until after the 2nd or 3rd treatment. Treatments are performed a minimum of 6 weeks apart, but these can be scheduled around work and social engagements that you may have, enabling you to remain in control of your treatment journey. Medicine is not an exact science and occasionally patients have quicker or slower results than we anticipate and if this is the case, your schedule can be adjusted as the journey progresses.
The fat reduction results are permanent. Just like surgical liposuction, even if you gain additional weight after the procedure, the treated area will not gain as much fat back proportionally since the number of fat cells in that area have been permanently reduced.
The injections themselves are generally not painful. We use ice to chill the skin, and the our doctors usually add local anaesthetic to the active ingredient prior to injecting. Most patients experience a warm, burning feeling in the treatment area for 30-60 minutes as the fat cells as being destroyed.
You should certainly expect some swelling, as this is part of the inflammatory response that leads to the natural repair process and tightening of the overlying skin. The majority of the visible swelling usually resolves over the first 48 hours, after which time the area may still feel slightly swollen and may be tender to touch for approximately 1-2 weeks. Scheduling a treatment for Thursday or Friday often enables you to return to work as normal, with minimal obvious swelling, by Monday.
As with any medical procedure that involves needles to the skin, some mild bruising is possible, but this is not a major feature of this treatment.
Active infection in the injection area is the only contradiction to treatment with fat dissolving injections. However, you should inform our doctor about all of your medical conditions prior to treatment, including if you :
- Have had or plan to have surgery on your face, neck or chin
- Have had cosmetic treatments on your face, neck or chin
- Have had or have medical conditions in or near the neck area
- Have had or have trouble swallowing
- Have bleeding problems
- Are pregnant or plan to become pregnant (it is not known whether this product will harm your unborn baby)
- Are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed (it is not known if this product passes into your breast milk)
- Are taking any medications, especially blood thinners.
How much does it cost to treat a double chin?
Your double chin journey will be tailor made and customised to suit your needs and expectations. Some patients only require one treatment using 1-2 vials of the product at a cost of up to $1200. Others may have a larger area to treat and so may (for example) need four treatments using 3 vials each time. The results are permanent and you should not need top-up treatments in the future. As an indication, some “mild” to “serious” packages are described below. There are no rebates from either Medicare or private health funds for this treatment. Please bear in mind that individual results will vary and these images and costs are meant as an indication only.
You can pay for your treatment with cash, EFTPOS, Visa, Mastercard, American Express (merchant fees apply) or zipPay.
American Society for Dermatologic Surgery 2015 Consumer Survey on Cosmetic Dermatologic Procedures (N=7,315)
The Changing Faces of Beauty Survey 2016 (N=500)
Humphrey, S., J. Sykes, J. Kantor, V. Bertucci, P. Walker, D. R. Lee, P. F. Lizzul, T. M. Gross and F. C. Beddingfield, 3rd (2016). “ATX-101 for reduction of submental fat: A phase III randomized controlled trial.” J Am Acad Dermatol 75(4): 788-797.e787.
Jones, D. H., J. Carruthers, J. H. Joseph, V. D. Callender, P. Walker, D. R. Lee, M. Subramanian, P. F. Lizzul, T. M. Gross and F. C. Beddingfield, 3rd (2016). “REFINE-1, a Multicenter, Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Phase 3 Trial With ATX-101, an Injectable Drug for Submental Fat Reduction.” Dermatol Surg 42(1): 38-49.
Images courtesy of the manufacturer.