What is Kybella®?
Submental fullness, or fullness under the chin, is a common problem encountered by both men and women. There are a variety of factors that can contribute to this problem including genetics, aging, and weight gain. However, many people with fullness of this area are not overweight and are unable to get rid of this stubborn fat despite diet and exercise.
Deoxycholic acid, also known as Kybella, was approved for use in 2015 and has revolutionized the way we treat a ‘double chin’. In the past, the only options for treating this area were liposuction and surgery. However we now have a minimally invasive agent that provides consistent, effective results. Kybella is unique and is an FDA approved agent that improves fullness associated with submental fat. Kybella is administered in the office and is often tolerated well. Clinical studies showed the most common side effects include redness, swelling bruising, and numbness, all of which were temporary, lasting less than 4 weeks.
Kybella is best for patients whose double chin is caused by excess fat and who have mild to moderate skin excess. It is not appropriate for patients with significant excess skin.
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What to Expect
How does Kybella work?
Deoxycholic acid is a naturally occurring molecule in the body that functions as a bile acid and helps in the breakdown and absorption of dietary fat. When injected into the fat under the skin, it destroys fat cells, resulting in less fullness under the chin.
What does the Kybella treatment involve?
The office visit is less than 20 minutes. Photos are taken first, then the skin is cleaned with alcohol. The treatment area is marked by a physician and numbed with either topical or local anesthetic. A special marking grid is used to determine the number of injection sites. It can range from 10-30 injections per treatment depending on the size and amount of fullness. A small dressing is applied prior to leaving the office. Discomfort after the procedure is minimal, and is typically relieved with ice or NSAIDs (ibuprofen). After a series of 3 to6 treatments, there is a significant improvement in the amount of fullness under the chin.
Where else can Kybella be injected?
Although it has only been approved by the FDA to treat the submental area, clinical experience has shown that it can be used ‘off label’ at treating other areas with stubborn fat like the jowls, abdomen, preaxillary area, flanks (aka bra fat) and the medial knees. It is important to see your physician in consultation to determine if Kybella is appropriate for you.
How long do the results from Kybella last?
Kybella causes a reaction in the fat cells causing them to be permanently destroyed, leading to long lasting effects. Studies with Kybella began in 2007, and almost a decade later we know that it is safe, effective, and provides long lasting results. In addition to dissolving fat in the chin area, it also helps with skin tightening, and sharpening of the chin profile.