Kybella is a new product which can melt the fat which causes a double chin with a series of injections much like Botox. It works by gradually dissolving fat under the chin. This fat is then resorbed and eliminated by our body, much like fats that we take in when we eat. We are born with a set number of fat cells, so when these cells are removed by injection, liposuction, or surgery, they are gone forever and the results are permanent.
Kybella received FDA approval in April of this year for the treatment of submental (under the chin) fat. Many people are asking if Kybella can be used in other parts of the body, and the short answer is no. There are a couple of other similar products currently in clinical trials to treat abdominal fat with a series of non-surgical injections. It is not known when these other products will be available to the general public, but they are in the pipeline.
You won’t see Kybella at your local strip mall spa, or at your gynecologist. It will only be available to facial plastic surgeons, plastic surgeons and dermatologists. This is because injection of Kybella requires intimate knowledge of the anatomy of the neck, which has many critical structures and must be avoided during injection.
The injections are done in the office and take about 20 minutes. A small, removable adhesive grid is placed under the chin to guide the surgeon for optimal placement of the product. A small and short needle is then used for the injections. For the average patient, around 15-20 sites are needed for proper placement and results. After the procedure, we provide a stretchy dressing like an Ace wrap to be worn at night. We also provide cold packs to help with swelling after the procedure. The most commonly reported side effects from the FDA studies were 3-4 days of swelling and numbness in the injection area. Some patients also report bruising, which can be covered with makeup if needed.
Kybella will cost between $800-$1000 per treatment session, and most patients require about 3 sessions, spaced one month apart.
I have been thinking about combining Kybella treatments with skin tightening with the ThermiTight device. After Kybella, some patients may also be dealing with loose skin once the fat is dissolved. ThermiTight is a one time minimally invasive skin tightening procedure. Click here to learn more. For many patients, this combination approach may be a great alternative for a facelift.