What Is Kybella?
Kybella is a unique medication that is relatively new to the marketplace of injectable cosmetic treatments since its FDA approval in 2015. It is indicated for the reduction of “submental fat,” which is the fat located at the front of the neck below the chin. It is available to physicians specifically designated to obtain the medication from the manufacturer, Allergan.
Candidates For Kybella
While most people are safe candidates for treatment, patients on major blood thinners or those with any infection or inflammation at the anticipated injection sites are not advised to be treated.
Benefits Of Kybella
Sometimes this accumulation of fat is also referred to as “submental fullness,” or “double chin.” This is a common condition that can give an individual the appearance of looking overweight, older, or less attractive than desired. Successful reduction of excess fat in this region creates a more defined jawline, a sharper angle between the neck and the skin under the chin (closer to a 90-degree angle), and more definition of the neck anatomy. Because other popular cosmetic injection treatments either relax muscle wrinkling (think Botox) or add volume to the face (think Restylane or Juvederm), it is easy to understand why Kybella is considered “unique” as the single FDA-approved medication devised to dissolve fat of the neck.
How Does Kybella Work?
Kybella is manufactured and shipped as a sterile liquid comprised of deoxycholic acid. This type of acid is naturally found in the bile of our intestinal tract where it acts to help absorb fats. When this fluid is injected into an area of excess fat, it causes the destruction of the cells that store fat (called “adipocytes”) by disrupting the cell membrane. Once destroyed, these cells no longer accumulate fat in the treated area, and fat is not expected to return under ordinary circumstances.
The Kybella Procedure
Patients should ensure their skin is clean and free of makeup as well as any topical creams immediately before the session. Once a candidate is ready to move forward, the treating physician may apply some markings or a grid to the neck skin to serve as a “guide” to the specific injection sites. The dose of the Kybella, which is essentially the volume to be injected, is planned based upon the size of the area to be treated, and it is prepared in syringes by the doctor. There is some moderate discomfort associated with injecting Kybella, and this can be reduced by a number of techniques including use of topical numbing cream, injections of local anesthetic given prior to the Kybella, use of topical ice, or a combination of these. Finally, the Kybella is injected based upon the skin markings and the neck anatomy. Although the medication is injected into specific spots using a very tiny needle, it will spread over a very small distance from each spot and help create a more even reduction in the contour by this small spreading effect. The entire treatment session can span as little as 10 minutes or so, unless a patient also receives a local anesthetic.
I have had different procedures performed by different surgeons and this was the best experience that I have ever had. From the knowledgeable office staff to the comforting and amazing staff at Boulevard Surgicenter, the process was made easy and stress-free. I would recommend Dr. Berger to anyone. - Marci H.
Recovery From Kybella Injections
While the aftercare is not demanding, patients should be advised that both swelling and pain will be present for a few days at the treatment site. There may also be visible bruising, redness, numbness and/or firmness in the areas injected. In this post-treatment phase, use of over-the-counter medications for comfort is often recommended. Most commonly, my patients briefly use ibuprofen. After a few days, the swelling subsides, and then the reduction of fat gradually occurs over a period of weeks. Follow-up treatment should be given at least 4 – 8 weeks after the last treatment session.
Alternatives To Kybella
One of the major alternatives to Kybella is the option of submental liposuction. This is a procedure with a reliable track record of effectiveness that can be performed in one session through the use of tiny incisions that ultimately have minimal or no visibility.
Side Effects Of Kybella
Side effects of the treatment vary in incidence, and are generally mild. The most common side effects are swelling, pain, redness, firmness, bruising, and numbness. The uncommon side effects that have been reported include nerve injury (4%) and difficulty swallowing (2%). In the hands of the qualified plastic surgeon with knowledge of the anatomy, including the location of specific nerves, this risk should be very low.
Why Choose Dr. Berger
Because treatment with Kybella is a cosmetic procedure requiring the physician to “map” out the treatment area, and because a safe treatment requires knowledge of anatomy including branches of the facial nerve, we advocate that patients seek a board-certified Plastic Surgeon in receiving Kybella therapy. The other tremendous advantage of seeking consultation with a Plastic Surgeon is having the opportunity to discuss the pros and cons of Kybella therapy versus liposuction as two alternative solutions to the problem neck.