The appearance of the jawline has grown in importance since the advent of the “selfie”. People want a jawline that is contoured and gives a better definition to that area of the body. In addition, people are also interested in the multiple treatments that can be performed on this particular region of the face.
As recently as 2017, the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS) reported that 55% of plastic surgery patients stated that seeing their own appearance on social media is one of the reasons they wanted to undergo surgery. The increase in popularity of jawline treatments includes such desired results as the reduction of excess fat under the chin, the tightening of loose skin using energy treatments, gaining a better facial contour with fillers and even surgical options like liposuction.
As a person gets older, the natural aging of the lower face can be amplified by both soft tissue and bone atrophy. The decrease in the density of the bone, from both a retraction of the chin as well as bone reabsorption, can result in the appearance of jowls and a weaker jaw angle. Fillers often target the top two-thirds of the face which makes the aging of the jawline more noticeable.
Nonsurgical Procedures – Jawline reshaping can be performed in a variety of ways ranging from fillers like Juvederm and Restylane (that strengthen the jawline and provide a better definition to the area), ultrasound treatments such as Ultherapy (which penetrates the skin to promote collagen production and remodeling) and radiofrequency devices like Thermage (which uses heat to promote contraction of the skin and a boost in the production of collagen).
Nonsurgical procedures are an ideal option for patients that have mild to moderate areas of fat and/or small to moderate loose skin located in the lower cheeks and jaw. Patients that have loose skin and fat that is best described as moderate to large might need to have a surgical procedure like chin implants to address any issues. Chin implants can help a weak central jawline by increasing the amount of projection of the chin which gives it a more balanced look.
Fat Dissolving Treatments – Some patients want to gain a slender jaw and minimize the amount of excess skin under the jaw. Kybella is one option to reduce the amount of fullness present under the chin. Kybella contains a synthetic deoxycholic acid to ensure fat cells are broken down and expelled through the lymphatic system. Patients do need to know that Kybella only works on the superficial fat layer under the skin and it is not ideal for treating fat that is located in the deep layers of the skin (under the platysma). This type of fat is better treated with a neck lift.
A neck lift is when incisions are made under the chin and/or behind the ears. The platysma muscle is tightened and sewn together. Any excess skin and fat is trimmed away and then the skin is repositioned and secured using sutures.
CoolSculpting, which is also known as cryolipolysis, is a procedure performed to reduce excess body fat that has proven to be resistant to both exercise and diet. The procedure cools the fat underneath the skin to the point that the fat cells are destroyed and absorbed by the body. A handheld device that contains applicators and gel pads is used on the area targeted for treatment. The application cools the targeted fat and then a suction device removes the fat by moving the device over the targeted part of the jaw and chin. The skin is also tightened in the treated area.
Surgical Options – Liposuction targets and removes individual fat cells from the targeted area. A small 2-mm incision is made underneath the chin and then a small cannula is inserted in order to remove the unwanted fat. The fat that is removed is destroyed and will not come back. However, fat can continue to grow in the area located around the section where the liposuction was performed.
A deep plane facelift is when the midface below the soft tissue and muscular layers are targeted. The cheeks, neck tissues and jowls are lifted so the excess skin at the incision sites can be removed. The incisions are closed through the use of sutures. This facelift option is ideal for patients with excess skin and heavy jowls.
Some patients aim for greater results by combining treatments. They like to target multiple areas and layers of the skin to try and gain a larger amount of improvement.
No matter what type(s) of treatment, or how many treatments, patients decide to undergo, they are advised to schedule a consultation appointment with an experienced and board-certified doctor who knows the various parts of the anatomy of the face as well as any risks associated with each treatment option. Choosing the correct doctor to perform any of the above treatments is essential to achieving the desired final results.