If you’re over 40, you look at photos from your 20s and one of the first things that you notice is how your profile has lost its definition. The dreaded double chin. Most of us have some sagging and fat accumulation under our chin. It’s due to gravity, aging, and a few spare grams of fat that have found a home under our chin.
Formerly there was little you could do about a double chin, short of a neck lift or lower facelift. But that all changed in April 2015 when the FDA approved a new product called Kybella® for the treatment of double chins. Kybella® is the brand name for an injectable product that improves your profile by attacking and eliminating the fat. Dr. Beaty provides Kybella® for his patients.
What is Kybella?
Kybella® is different than the other injectables. It is made basically from deoxycholic acid, which is found in the human body. Deoxycholic acid is responsible for helping the body break down and absorb dietary fat. Kybella® is injected into the area under the chin where we collect fat, the dreaded double chin. Once injected, the deoxycholic acid doesn’t differentiate between dietary fat and stored fat, so it starts to break down the fat that has created the double chin. The fat is then flushed from the body through the lymphatic system. Without the fat, the person’s profile tightens dramatically.
How does Kybella reduce submental fullness?
Want to feel better about your droopy profile? Call it “submental fullness.” That’s the clinical term for a double chin. The main culprit behind most people’s double chins is the accumulation of fat under the chin. It pushes down on the skin, making the profile lose definition.
In the body, we naturally produce a substance called deoxycholic acid. Its sole job is to help the body break down and absorb dietary fat. So, when you a greasy cheeseburger at a Braves’ game, deoxycholic acid helps break down the fat.
You may see where this is heading. Kybella® is made, basically, of deoxycholic acid, and to deoxycholic acid fat is fat, whether it’s ingested at dinner or has accumulated under your chin for years. When Kybella® is injected into the skin under your chin it gets down to business finding and breaking down any fat it encounters. The body then flushes the broken down fat cells from the body over the next few weeks. With these fat cells gone, your body no longer has the capability to store fat under your chin, so your profile slims back to what it looked like it your younger days.
Would Kybella be right for me?
Let’s face it — most of us have some degree of a double chin, so most of us could use a little Kybella®. But there is one exception. For some people, their double chin isn’t due to fat accumulating under their chin; it’s due to serious sagging in their skin in this area. These patients would be better off opting for a neck lift or facelift to remove some of the excess loose skin.
How does Dr. Beaty treat a double chin with Kybella?
Doctors need specific training to administer Kybella®. Dr. Beaty has had that training. During your treatment, he injects Kybella® with a very tiny needle into numerous locations under the chin. The session takes just 15-20 minutes, and patients report that they feel little more than a slight pinprick with each injection.
How many treatments will I need?
The FDA has set the maximum number of Kybella® treatments at six. But how you respond to Kybella® is unique to you. Dr. Beaty has found that, on average, most patients are satisfied after three treatments. Other patients opt for all six. It really depends on how slim you want your profile.
The time between treatments is supposed to be four weeks, as this allows Kybella® to fully do its thing before having the next set of injections. We believe five to six weeks apart is a better degree of spacing. This allows your results from the previous injection session to fully show themselves before deciding to go ahead with another round.
How soon will I see results from Kybella?
You will probably have some swelling after your Kybella injections. The more fat you have, the more likely you are to have swelling. Your results will begin to really show up from 4-6 weeks after your treatment. That gives the body time to break down and remove most of the fat cells. Those results will continue to improve.
What are the side effects with Kybella?
The potential side effects with Kybella® are similar to those with dermal fillers. All side effects have proven very rare, however. They include nerve injury in the jaw that can create an uneven smile, trouble swallowing, and some weakness in the surrounding facial muscles. In clinical studies with 1600 patients, these side effects were not long-term but they did not resolve immediately.
Swelling is pretty standard, although not really a side effect. As Kybella® attacks the fat cells, it creates swelling in the area, especially after the first Kybella® treatment. There will also be some slight bruising. This will start to resolve itself after around three days for most patients.
These are the common side effects after treatment and resolve themselves:
- Residual pain
- Areas of hardness in the treatment area