If you are distressed because of that double chin that does not seem to go away and does not let you feel your perfect self, then Kybella ® is the right option for you.

What is Kybella?

Kybella (deoxycholic acid) is the fat-eating injectable that is considered to be a miracle by many. Kybella is a registered trademark and product of Allergan. It is the non-surgical alternative that has eased the lives of those struggling to get rid of the fatty pocket under their chin. It is the only injectable that was​ approved by the FDA in 2015. Its use as a chin-slimming agent has been a remarkable concoction for reducing moderate to severe submental fat. Kybella’s safety in areas other than submental is not fully known and it is not recommended for children under 18 years. A​ 2016 literature review​ has reported significant satisfaction with their appearance among patients trying out Kybella. (1)

How does Kybella work?

The active ingredient in Kybella is synthetic stomach acid, the Deoxycholic acid. The dermatologist in Torrance, CA, ​ ​Michael Kassardjian,​ explains it to be a replica of the substance found in human bile that helps in the emulsification and destruction of fat. (2) Naturally, this molecule facilitates the breakdown and absorption of dietary fat in the gut. When injected underneath the skin, it destroys the fat cells at the site of injection, resulting in a significant reduction in the plumpness under the chin.(3)

After being destroyed, the fat cells can no longer accumulate fat and the fullness is eliminated. Thus, once you achieve the desired results, further treatment would not be needed.

The Kybella Procedure:

Your clinician will examine your submental area to determine whether Kybella will be a suitable treatment option for you. Discuss with your doctor about the results you want for yourself. It will direct the measurement of the amount of Kybella (deoxycholic acid) you will need.

The procedure will take about 15 to 20 minutes. It is performed with a fine needle without the need for an incision. The clinician will first mark the target area and then will apply a topical anesthetic agent or ice pack at the site. Thoroughly wash your face before going for the appointment to reduce the risk of infection. Also, avoiding acetaminophen and ibuprofen will prevent bruising and scars after the procedure.

Approximately, a total of 20 to 50 injections are needed. The acid kills the fat cells which are then metabolized in the subsequent weeks. The number of sessions required, vary from patient to patient depending upon the amount of fat and the outcome desired. About six sessions can be undertaken with at least one month gap between them.

How much does Kybella cost?

The average cost of Kybella treatment is $1200 to $1800 per session. The total cost would vary depending upon the number of sessions you need.

What should you expect after Kybella treatment?

You should expect a substantial reduction in the double chin that has bothered you for a long time. Your desired goals are fairly achievable with this treatment and you will find evident results after a few sessions. Most people have been found to reach their desired esthetics after 2 to 4 sessions with lasting results. After the final session, re-treatment is not expected as fat cells can no longer accumulate fat. 

Are there any side effects of Kybella?

Kybella treatment is generally considered safe and there are very few side effects that fade away in one to two weeks. (3) These include

  • Pain​        
  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Tenderness
  • Redness
  • Numbness
  • Ulcers

Serious complications are all but very rare and include

  • Facial muscle weakness
  • Asymmetric smile
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Nerve injury in the jaw (4)

When should you not receive Kybella treatment?

You should avoid Kybella treatment:

  • If you have inflammation or infection in the submental region
  • If you are planning any cosmetic surgery of the face
  • During pregnancy as its effects on the fetus are not known
  • During lactation as it is unclear if it passes to the baby in breast milk

Points to consider before going for cosmetic dermatology

  • Should only be administered under the supervision of a licensed and experienced practitioner
  • Inform your doctor if you are taking any blood thinners like aspirin
  • The treatment should be deferred if there is an ongoing inflammatory process due to some reason
  • Any other cosmetic dermatology procedures, laser treatment or chemical peeling should not be performed after dermal filler treatment
  • The treatment should be done with caution in patients on immunosuppressive therapy as they are more vulnerable to infections
  • Not recommended for people under 18 years

Latest posts by Anique Ali, M.D. (see all)