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Submental Liposuction

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Submental Liposuction

Author: Letty's Staff Writer

Are you thinking "submental" means telling your awful boss where to stick it after the hang-over on Monday morning.

Well, not quite...

Actually, it's that l-o-o-o-o-o-v-e-l-y little fatty pad situated just under the chin and above the neck.

You know exactly where I'm talking about...

the TRAGIC pre-turkey waddle (that seriously messes with the profile)!... The tough part about this particular kind of fat is that it can be really resistant to diet and exercise.

In other words you can be healthy, lean and mean and still have excess fat right there at the bottom of your face that just won't go away. It has a lot to do with genetics, and – let's face it – getting older.

But I digress.

The real question is – "What can liposuction do to improve things in this tricky area?"...

How does Submental Liposuction work?

First, now that we know where the submental area is – next we will talk about how it works.

The Procedure:

Since the face is a delicate area – a good fit is the micro-liposuction technique which features the use of smaller refined equipment and protocol. It can also add some sort of collagen-tightening strategy (i.e. laser-assisted lipo) to help lift the appearance of aging skin.

During the surgery small incisions are made behind the ears (to hide scars). The area under the chin is carefully filled with an anesthetizing fluid called Klein's Solution (after its inventor Jeffrey Klein). A small energetic suctioning device is introduced into the space underneath the skin and above the muscle. This energy system gently melts the fat and tightens collagen. The suctioning device pulls out both fluid and the liquefied fat tissue. The total procedure can last up to 1-hour.

After surgery patients will be fitted with and required to wear a compression garment around the neck and face (called a "neck sling") for up to 2 weeks. This prevents excessive swelling and can speed healing. Full-recovery from surgery can take a month or longer.

The results from submental liposuction are permanent.

However the aging process will continue and patients can always have additional weight gain which would effectively negate the surgery. Also those patients with excess skin may require a necklift plus liposuction to completely regain firmness and proper chin and neck contour.

Am I a good candidate for the surgery?

Conventional liposuction surgery is not for everyone. This is also true for Submental Liposuction.

Good candidates for liposuction are:

  1. Healthy individuals who are within their ideal weight, and Body Mass Index.
  2. These folks may have discrete, small pockets of fat which are not responding positively to diet and exercise.

Submental liposuction is a good fit for these people.

Less ideal candidates for liposuction:

Individuals who have excess hanging skin of the neck and chin are not well-served by liposuction alone. Again, this is because liposuction is NOT a skin-removing procedure – an important distinction to understand... Individuals requiring skin-removal and tightening will need a necklift in addition to the liposuction.

And finally, individuals with underlying health problems aren't well-suited to any elective surgeries (including liposuction).

What are the risks?

Submental liposuction is surgery – a very important fact.

And since it is surgery - there are certain risks involved. The following list includes some of the more notable risks. However, this is not an exhaustive discussion of every possible negative outcome – by any means:

  1. Infection. Invasion by viruses, bacteria or fungi is possible whenever the skin barrier is compromised.
  2. Bruising and swelling. Usually self-limiting it resolves within several weeks.
  3. Blood clots (or fat clots). Can be very dangerous and your surgeon will give you compression garments and detailed instructions to prevent them.
  4. Fluid overload. This may occur with the addition of the numbing fluid during liposuction.
  5. Heart failure. The heart may be unable to handle the increase in fluid, or may respond negatively to the medication found in the anesthetizing mix.
  6. Nerve damage or numbness. The back and forth movement of surgical instruments may inadvertently injure nerve fibers.
  7. Scarring. Permanent marks may remain after surgery at incision points or other sites of injury within the treatment area.

There is no way to predict which (if any) of these outcomes you might experience.

The name of the game really is trying to mitigate those risks as much as possible. Your surgeon is your front-line defense. You should be very candid about your health with your chosen provider. Armed with specific information about you and your particular risk profile he or she will make recommendations to you.

This is a major key to remaining a safe as possible.

Is there a non-surgical alternative?

If the list of possible risks is too daunting – then you may consider a non-surgical alternative to liposuction surgery.

  • Chill-Kill the Fat... Without Surgery?!!:

    In the Fall of 2010 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first completely non-invasive fat-removal procedure: Cool Sculpting™ by Zeltiq. This treatment utilizes cryolipolysis which works by cooling an area to a level just above freezing.

    Patients lie prone under a patented cooling device for one to two hours. Surprisingly other surrounding tissues are not affected by the cold temperatures.

    However, the fat cells are specifically damaged during the process and over the next few weeks the body "sweeps" them away. According to reports a patient can see up to a 20% reduction in fat from one treatment alone.

    Sounds like a winner.

    But like all things there are limits to what Cool Sculpting™ can achieve. In fact some of the literature I read when preparing for this article stated that traditional liposuction is NOT replaced by this new technology. Liposuction surgery has immediate (much more defined) results. Cryolipolysis requires more patience and the results are more generalized.

    In other words, cryolipo isn't a sculpting technique – but can reduce fat mass in a more broad way across a treatment area.

Not perfect, but this is an option for you.

The Bottom-Line:

The bottom line here is that there isn't one answer that fits everybody.

Some people need necklifts due to hanging skin, others will do just fine with submental liposuction alone. Still others will consider trying a non-surgical liposuction alternative. Whatever you choose your goal should be to get all of the information you possibly can, and then to consult a well-trained, experienced and board-certified practitioner.

That's where Letty's Liposuction Directory can help.

We have many highly qualified and experienced surgeons listed here. But absolutely nothing replaces your own due diligence, and discretion.

As always good luck and good you...

I thought this video was really helpful:

Dr. Julie Voss of Seattle performs submental liposuction for this patient...

Submental Liposuction References:

  • Jancin, Bruce. "Go slow on tumescent fluid in facial liposuction. (Rapid Absorption Risks Toxicity)." Skin & Allergy News. vol. 34.2 (2003): 23. General OneFile (2 Mar 2010).

  • Donley-Hayes, Karen. "Just a little off the top: micro-liposuction is the 'spot cleaner' of cosmetic surgery. (SECTION: body)." Cosmetic Surgery Times. vol. 12.1 (Jan-Feb 2009): 22(1). Expanded Academic ASAP (20 July 2009).

  • "Neck Lift – Treatments and Procedures." The Cleveland Clinic (24 Apr 2008). Web search (17 May 2011).

  • Wachter, Kerri. "Surgical options for the aging face explored." Skin & Allergy News. vol. 40.8 (2009): 22. General OneFile (15 May 2011).

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