Kybella – Double Chin Fat Removal



new-kybellaBy: George Bitar, M.D. and Larry Lickstein, M.D.
Board Certified Plastic Surgeons

Kybella is a FDA-approved non-surgical cosmetic procedure administered by injections. In a body area known as a double chin, it is used for patients with moderate to severe fat on the upper neck. Kybella reduces this fat from injections that contain a molecule that occurs naturally in the body to eat away at fat. Proper injections keep other body cells healthy and intact.

Why Have a Kybella Procedure?

Why have a Kybella procedureBefore the FDA’s approval, removing excess fat from the central area under a patient’s chin could only be done with liposuction or a face/neck lift. Both are invasive treatments that require more recovery time for the best results. Kybella presents an effective non-surgical alternative to achieve the same results. This is the first injectable treatment to get approval from the FDA that allows plastic surgeons to reduce the submental fat underneath the chin.

Results during clinical trials showed that the amount of fat under the chin was significantly reduced by Kybella injections. Patients had better chin contour and the look of a double chin diminished. Its effectiveness is from deoxycholic acid, a naturally occurring substance in the human body, which isolates submental fat cells underneath the chin. These fat cells are destroyed without causing damage to surrounding tissue and cells. Acting like a syringe, the targeted fat cells that are destroyed are absorbed and eliminated naturally from the body.

At the Bitar Cosmetic Surgery Institute in Fairfax and Manassas, Virginia, treatments work gradually. Therefore, patients will notice that their double chin gets smaller over time.

Kybella Treatment

kybella before and after lateral photosBefore the Dr. Bitar begins treating the submental area with Kybella, he will numb the area with local anesthesia and/or a cream. Injection treatments are virtually painless. Similar to receiving filler or Botox injections, Kybella is injected into the area that contains the fat. Most treatments take approximately 15 to 20 minutes.

Patients receive up to 50 injections in a single treatment of Kybella. The dosage is 0.2 mL each, spaced a 1-cm intervals. Typically, only a maximum of six single 50-injection Kybella treatments can occur not less than one month apart. Individual characteristics and goals of each patient determine whether multiple treatments are necessary. For most patients, results are visible after two or four treatment sessions.

After treatment, some patients might experience swelling, redness, mild bruising, mild pain or numbness. These side effects usually resolve within a few days. Over-the-counter pain medication or ice can usually ease any discomfort patients may feel. In rare instances, some patients might also have an injury to the marginal mandibular nerve, which is only temporary. Kybella treatments are best performed in a licensed, expert facility for cosmetic surgery procedures.

During clinical trials, some patients had dysphagia, which is difficulty swallowing. These cases were spontaneous with a 1-81 day range. The median time frame was three days. Those patients with a prior history or current condition of dysphagia were excluded from the clinical trials.

Are You a Candidate?

kybella before and after front photosWith proven results, Kybella is a quick, painless procedure that men and women can receive. Most people who want to reduce the appearance of their double chin, but do not have extensive time for liposuction recovery, may want to consider this alternative.

Almost everyone 18 and older is a candidate for Kybella. It is recommended that patients be screened carefully by a doctor to make sure the submental fullness is fat and not the result of a serious medical condition such as cervical lymphadenopathy, which is an enlargement of cervical lymph nodes, or thyromegaly, which is an enlargement of the thyroid.

Kybella injections are not a substitute for a necklift or facelift. These procedures are done to tighten and lift neck skin. Instead, Kybella removes fat that is under the chin for people whose neck is not sagging and already have good skin tone. Additionally, Kybella is good for anyone who feels fat-melting injections are less intimidating than extracting fat through a lipo procedure. In some cases, Kybella might be combined with Ultherapy or Botox procedures. Combining these procedures could provide a more comprehensive result from other troubled areas.

Kybella FAQs

– How long will the treatment last?

The length of time treatment from Kybella lasts largely depends on the patients. For some, the procedure could last for several years. There are studies that show Kybella injections last five years. Even for patients who gain moderate amounts of weight over time, retreatment is not expected to be necessary. Unless submental fullness redevelops, no further treatments will be required once the aesthetic results are achieved.

– What can I expect after the treatment?

After treatment, you can expect slight tenderness and redness in your chin area. Depending on other factors, swelling or bruising is also possible.

– Are there risks?

As mentioned, swelling and bruising are among the most common side effects. Other risks include having small, firm areas and numbness on the injection sites after the procedure.

There is a possibility of a serious side effect where the marginal mandibular nerve is injured. This nerve helps to control facial expressions and patients may have an off-balance smile if this injury occurs. The most likely scenario where this injury can occur is if shots are administered too close to this nerve.

Studies show that other adverse reactions associated with Kybella injections include discoloration or hemorrhage at the injection site, neck pain, lymphadenopathy, and pre-syncope/syncope. These adverse reactions lasted more than 30 days in more than 10 percent of patients who participated in the study.

– How soon can I return to work?

Low downtime is expected after receiving Kybella injections because it is a non-surgical, noninvasive procedure. Since the medication is injected, you do not need to go to a hospital. The procedure may take only 15 minutes in one office visit. Side effects such as bruising, itching and burning post-treatment are normal and usually resolve in a few hours or days.

For most patients, these are minor effects and they can continue their normal work schedule within a day or two after receiving treatment. Others may experience intense bruising, swelling or pain at the injections site that lasts for days or weeks. Discuss with Dr. Bitar any concerns prior to treatment if you have a busy schedule, but in most cases, you should be able to resume normal activities soon after treatment.

You can schedule an appointment in our online consultation form or call 703-206-0506.