Double chin lift: how Lipodissolve works and what to expect

·6-min read
Photo credit: Andrii Borodai
Photo credit: Andrii Borodai

If you’re a touch self-conscious about your side profile and feel compelled to take cosmetic action, double chin injections might just be the fix you’re looking for. Hailed as a non-surgical chin lift, the treatment – called Lipodissolve – targets and eliminates stubborn submental fat cells, melting away your double chin to reveal a shapely, contoured jawline.

FYI, I’m speaking from experience. In search of a sharper chin, I paid Dr Mervyn Patterson a visit – medical director of Woodford Medical, with more than 20 years’ experience in aesthetic medicine – to test the treatment out first-hand. Read on to find out how Lipodissolve works, what to expect from a session, and how long it takes to see results – and keep scrolling for those all-important before-and-after photos.

What is Lipodissolve?

Lipodissolve involves a series of injections that melt away localised fat deposits, such as those around your jawline. The fluid is composed primarily of phosphatidylcholine, a chemical contained in eggs and soybeans and found naturally in the body in all cells.

‘It contains an enzyme that breaks up the cell wall around the fat cells,’ Dr Patterson says. When injected into your fat layer, ‘it releases the fat, and the body can’t ignore that,’ he says. ‘Your lymphatic system gradually reabsorbs the fat and excretes it through your gut.’

Theoretically you can have Lipodissolve injections anywhere on your body, but ‘it’s well-suited to small pockets of fat,’ says Dr Patterson. The jawline is a particularly good area to do it on, he adds, because as well as eliminating fat, the treatment makes the surrounding skin shrink, too.

‘That’s because the skin is attached to the fat,’ he explains. ‘So, as you shrink the fat, the skin has to go with it. This makes lipodissolve injections, in my view, the best non surgical option for reducing areas of fat.’

What to expect from a Lipodissolve session

The Lipodissolve process begins with an in-depth consultation to determine whether the procedure is right for you. While suitable for most adults, it’s not recommended for people who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or have certain health conditions like auto-immune diseases, thyroid problems, HIV and cancer, so you ought to be totally frank about your medical history.

Once you’re in the chair, your practitioner will cleanse your jawline with a disinfectant before administering around 15 to 20 injections. I chose to apply a thin layer of numbing cream around 30 minutes before the treatment, but it’s down to personal preference – the procedure is swift and relatively painless. The treated area will start to swell rapidly, so it’s well worth arranging a lift home from the clinic.

The severe swelling – which I’ll get into shortly – occurs for two reasons: ‘It’s partly the liquid that’s being injected, which obviously expands the tissue straight away,’ says Dr Patterson, ‘but there’s also an inflammatory response to the enzyme. Any tissue, when it’s traumatised or injured, will swell a little bit. So, it’s due to inflammation.’

Does Lipodissolve hurt?

The Lipodissolve treatment process is a little uncomfortable, sure, but it’s not painful. Along with the intermittent pinch of the needle, you’ll soon start to feel a dull, achey, burning feeling spread across the treated area. Before long it’ll feel tender to touch, and some bruising may develop. Over-the-counter painkillers will ease any discomfort.

Lipodissolve recovery process

There’s no getting around it: the swelling is going to be intense. ‘Swelling is the biggest problem with the treatment,’ says Dr Patterson. ‘One’s got to be really quite honest with people that it’s going to be bad on the day and the next day, but it gradually starts to disappear and go down over the next seven days or so.

If you’re having Lipodissolve, clear your diary for the following week. ‘This isn’t a lunchtime treatment where you can pop in, have it done and go back to work, because it’s going to be noticeable,’ he continues. ‘It’s not as obvious if you only inject beneath the chin, but when along the jawline and jowl area, it really does make the face expand.’

You’re also likely to experience bruising, pain, numbness, redness, and the onset of hard lumps in the treatment area, which can last anywhere up to 10 days. For that reason, it’s best to avoid vigorous exercise until the swelling and any other side effects improve. You needn’t massage the area, or treat it in any way – just let the enzyme work its magic.

‘You don’t need to touch the area,’ says Dr Patterson. ‘Because it’s a lipid, it simply glides around all your fat cells and coats them with this enzyme that just wants to attack them. But it doesn’t attack anything else – like skin – it’s just fat that it likes to nibble at.’

Most people can expect to see the full effects of the treatment within three weeks. While you’re likely to enjoy noticeable improvements after your first appointment, the results tend to be particularly striking after the second set of injections. Generally Lipodissolve patients require several treatments, staged four to six weeks apart, for optimum results.

Lipodissolve: before and after photos

Photo credit: Woodford Medical
Photo credit: Woodford Medical

The ‘before’ photograph, left, was taken moments before the first round of Lipodissolve treatments. The ‘after’ photograph, right, was taken approximately six weeks after the second round of injections.

Is Lipodissolve permanent?

It’s difficult to say whether Lipodissolve is permanent. On the one hand, once the fat cells are gone, they’re gone. However, any residual fat cells still have the capacity to expand. ‘It’s certainly very long-lasting,’ says Dr Patterson. ‘When you disrupt the cells in that area, they don’t seem to want to store fat for a very long period of time. I wouldn’t like to promise that it’s permanent, but it’s a matter of years, not months.’ If you gain weight, ‘it would tend not to accumulate in that area for some time,’ he says.

Is Lipodissolve safe?

Much like any other aesthetic procedure, Lipodissolve is safe when administered by an experienced, licensed medical professional, so it pays to do research. Be sure to choose a reputable clinic and check the credentials of the practitioner. Compared to surgical procedures, there’s little risk of infection and comparatively less downtime.

‘I’ve been doing this treatment for 15 years,’ says Dr Patterson. ‘It’s commonplace in places like Germany, there’s almost a fat-dissolving clinic on every street corner. So, some countries are way ahead of us in terms of numbers of patients treated. I see very few reports of any problems. The main one is the risk of swelling and bruising in the first few days.’

Are double chin injections worth it?

If, like me, you’ve spent years feeling painfully self-conscious about your jawline – in a way that no body-positive Instagram post seems able to pacify – Lipodissolve could be the confidence boost you’re looking for. For me, the process was physically and emotionally transformative. Life-changing, even.

After endlessly engaging in fruitless attempts to diet and exercise this stubborn subcutaneous fat away – all doomed, unbeknownst to me – I have finally found peace. Sure, the swelling will take a few weeks out of your social life, but it’s a small trade-off. My sole regret, genuinely? Not getting Lipodissolve sooner.

Last updated: 28-06-2021

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