How Does Double Chin Removal Surgery Work? Is It Safe? - GoodRx (2022)

Key takeaways:

  • If you want to rid yourself of your double chin, you have both surgical and non-surgical options to consider.

  • This is a cosmetic procedure. Insurance will not cover it, so cost can be an issue. Different options come in different price ranges.

  • You will need to consider the size of your fat pad, the condition of your skin, and how dramatic you want your result to be as you think about which option is best for you.

  • Most importantly, you will want to find a qualified professional to guide you through the process and give you honest, straightforward answers to your questions.

How Does Double Chin Removal Surgery Work? Is It Safe? - GoodRx (1)

People are seeking plastic surgery in greater numbers since the pandemic. Video calls, Zoom meetings, and telework mean we are looking at our own faces on the screen much more than ever before. For some, cosmetic procedures may seem like an attractive option —especially now that working from home allows for a more private recovery than was possible before.

Of all the cosmetic procedures people are exploring, double chin removal is a popular one. But before we get into that, it’s important to be clear exactly what we’re talking about.

A double chin is an extra pad of fat just under your jaw. It’s not the same thing as loose skin around your jawline, which is a normal part of the aging process.

As skin ages, it loses its elasticity, making a softer jawline. Smoking, sun damage, and genetics all affect elasticity as well. Loose skin isn’t a double chin, and double chin treatments won’t fix it.

To get rid of a double chin, options range from in-office procedures that don’t break the skin all the way to surgery under general anesthesia. Let’s run through some of the most asked about treatments and the pros and cons of each. We’ll also give you an overview of the costs involved and the long-term results you can expect.

Getting rid of a double chin without surgery

Even with weight loss through diet and exercise, many people remain frustrated by a stubborn fat pad that just won’t go away. Your family history and chin shape can make it nearly impossible to get rid of a double chin without outside help. The good news is that you may not need surgery at all.

Here’s what cosmetic surgeons recommend for those who want to get rid of their double chin, but don’t want surgery.

Coolsculpting

Coolsculpting works by freezing fat cells. It doesn’t require needles: a vacuum attachment gently pulls on the area being treated and exposes it to extreme cold.

Fat cells freeze before any others are damaged. Over time, the frozen cells dissolve, and your body absorbs them. Once those cells are gone, they can’t come back.

Coolsculpting is best for someone who has elastic skin and only a small pocket of fat to treat. An experienced provider can assess your skin quality and help you decide whether coolsculpting is likely to work for you.

Advantages of Coolsculpting:

  • Coolsculpting has no downtime, meaning you can carry on with your life as soon as you leave the procedure.

  • You don’t need anesthesia and you can have the procedure in a provider’s office.

  • The procedure itself is nearly painless, and it can be done by a trained medical professional who is not necessarily a surgeon, keeping costs down. It will also only take about an hour out of your day.

  • Once gone, the frozen fat cells don’t return.

Disadvantages of Coolsculpting:

Cost: Cost will vary depending on the location and number of treatments. One treatment on a small area costs around $750.

Kybella

Kybella works by dissolving fat cells with an acidic medicine. You apply numbing cream an hour before your treatment. Then, your provider uses a tiny needle to apply the medication into the fat pad through multiple injections. Dissolved fat cells never return.

Like coolsculpting, Kybella is best for someone who has a small, localized area of fat, and elastic skin.

Advantages of Kybella:

  • Kybella has little to no downtime.

  • You don’t need anesthesia and you can have the procedure in a provider’s office.

  • Kybella can be done by a trained medical professional who is not necessarily a surgeon, keeping costs lower. It will only take a couple of hours out of your day.

  • Once gone, dissolved fat calls cannot return.

Disadvantages of Kybella:

  • Even with the numbing cream, the acid can sting as it goes in.

  • Afterward, you are left with a swollen and tender “bullfrog” neck for a couple of days. Less noticeable swelling can last for several weeks.

  • Most people need several treatments to get their desired result, at added cost each time.

  • If your skin doesn’t tighten up, you might be left with loose skin along your jawline, making you look older.

  • Nerve injury and trouble swallowing are rare but can happen.

Cost: The cost depends on how much medication you need. The larger the area being treated, the more expensive it will be. Multiple treatments require multiple payments. One treatment of Kybella will be about $1200 to $1800.

Surgical options

Non-surgical options aren’t right for everyone. Some people can spend a lot of time and money on these treatments without achieving a result they are happy with. If you have a larger fat pad or looser skin, then surgical treatments can offer a more reliable result. Here are some options.

Liposuction for double chin

The most common surgical procedure to remove a double chin is submental (under chin) liposuction.

During this procedure, extra fat is removed from under your chin using a needle, tube, and vacuum. The surgeon makes small cuts in your skin, inserts the needle, and then moves the needle around to break up the fat while the vacuum sucks it out.

Advantages of liposuction:

  • The surgeon has much more control over how much and where fat is removed than with less invasive options.

  • Liposuction is done under sedation or general anesthesia, meaning you can sleep through the discomfort of the procedure.

  • Submental liposuction only takes 1 to 1.5 hours.

  • The results last long term. Fat cells removed through surgery are gone forever.

Disadvantages of liposuction:

Cost: The cost of chin liposuction can vary widely depending on where you live. Because it’s a surgical procedure, you’ll need an experienced, board-certified surgeon, which raises the cost.

Plus, you’ll have to pay for anesthesia, operating room expenses, prescription medications, compression garments, and pre-op medical tests. Cost may range from $1000 to $7000 and up.

Lower facelift or neck lift

A lower facelift or neck lift is the most extensive treatment option for removing a double chin. It’s also the most effective and tightens your skin at the same time. But, it comes at a price — both in terms of cost and recovery.

Face and neck lifts are complex surgical procedures. A face lift is when a cosmetic surgeon cuts away extra skin and fat from the midface down into the neck. Then, they sew the skin flaps back together and tighten the skin of the face and neck at the same time.

A neck lift is a slightly smaller procedure focused only on the neck and jawline. Both involve the removal of the double chin fat pad.

Advantages of facelift or neck lift:

  • These offer your most dramatic and reliable results. Your fat is cut away and your extra skin is removed, leaving you with no double chin and a tight, youthful jawline.

  • It’s done under general anesthesia means you sleep through the discomfort of the procedure.

Disadvantages of facelift or neck lift:

  • You must be in good overall health to have elective surgery, especially as these procedures can mean 4 or 5 hours of general anesthesia.

  • You will wake up in a full head wrap that you must wear at all times for several days.

  • You will have incisions under your jaw and possibly around your ears that you will have to take care of daily. You also may go home with a drainage tube in place.

  • You will have swelling and bruising that will last for several weeks.

  • You will have physical limitations for several weeks as well, in terms of exercise, driving, and working.

  • The longer anesthesia time raises both your cost and risk.

  • You will need postoperative medications, like prescription antibiotics, pain medication, and others depending on your needs and the surgeon you choose.

  • You need to pick an experienced surgeon who understands your desires and is willing to listen. One person’s “tight and refreshed” might be another’s “caught in a wind tunnel.”

Cost: Surgery is easily the most expensive option. The cost of a neck lift starts around $6000. A facelift starts around $8000.

However, that’s the tip of the iceberg. The surgeon’s fee does not include anesthesia, operating room cost, medications, compression garments, or medical testing. With those included, prices easily go up to $10,000 and above, over $20,000 in some areas and with some surgeons.

Does double chin surgery remove a double chin permanently?

If you’re considering double chin surgery, you’re probably wondering how long the effects might last. Whether your chin fat cells are frozen, dissolved, or removed, once your fat pad is gone, it is gone for good.

But unfortunately, remaining fat cells can expand and fill that same or nearby space again if you gain weight in the future. This is especially true if your anatomy and genetics mean you are prone to a double chin in the first place.

Does insurance cover double chin surgery?

No. A double chin is considered a cosmetic issue, and insurers will not cover the costs of the treatments or of any issues that might arise as a result. So, the cost can vary widely depending on what method you choose and on where you live.

The bottom line

People who want to treat their double chin have a number of options. Surgery gives the most reliable results. But it is also expensive and has the most risk.

The most important thing is to choose an experienced provider that you trust. Look at their before-and-after pictures. Your provider can help you decide which treatment or combination of treatments will work best for you.

For example, they will consider the quality of your skin, the amount of change you’re looking to achieve, and other medical issues you have that might affect your risks. They can also talk to you about prices and how much you want to spend on the process.

References

AbbVie. (n.d.). Kybella.

American Board of Cosmetic Surgery. (n.d.). Find procedure price ranges for your area.

View All References (5)

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American Society of Plastic Surgeons. (n.d.). Facelift surgery (rhytidectomy).

American Society of Plastic Surgeons. (n.d.). Neck lift (lower rhytidectomy).

American Society of Plastic Surgeons. (2022). Inaugural ASPS insights and trends report: Cosmetic surgery 2022.

HowMuchIsIt.org. (2018). How much does kybella cost?

Nikolis, A., et al. (2020). A multicenter evaluation of paradoxical adipose hyperplasia following cryolipolysis for fat reduction and body contouring: A review of 8658 cycles in 2114 patients. Aesthetic Surgery Journal.

GoodRx Health has strict sourcing policies and relies on primary sources such as medical organizations, governmental agencies, academic institutions, and peer-reviewed scientific journals. Learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate, thorough, and unbiased by reading our editorial guidelines.

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