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How Does the Kybella Treatment Work? A Complete Guide

Woman at the plastic surgeon

December 11, 2019

When some people look in the mirror, they see areas they want to improve instead of the beauty that’s already there. Whether it’s baggy skin, too many wrinkles, or a double chin, it’s normal to judge your own appearance. With new advancements in technology, there are now treatments available to reduce your double chin and give your self-esteem a boost.

The Kybella treatment is a nonsurgical technique that can reduce your double chin down to size.

In a Kybella clinical trial, 82.4 percent of participants said they were increasingly satisfied with their appearance. The same trial also concluded that Kybella is a safe and effective treatment option for reducing excess chin fat.

Interested? Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about the Kybella treatment.

What is Kybella Treatment?

The Kybella treatment was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) back in 2015. Today, it’s used as a nonsurgical injection technique to remove unnecessary fat from beneath the chin.

Since the treatment doesn’t involve incisions, choosing the Kybella treatment can minimize downtime. That means you can return to your daily life without needing time to heal.

This nonsurgical technique is often used as an alternative to surgical procedures, including liposuction. Kybella is also seen as an alternative for fat-freezing and fat-removing devices, such as CoolSculpting.

Ideal Candidates

Different variables can cause you to develop a double chin, such as:

  • Hormones
  • Genes
  • Weight gain

The best candidates for the Kybella treatment are adults with moderate to severe fat beneath their chin. These candidates often have submental fat deposits for genetic reasons, not weight-related ones. Candidates also:

  • Have difficulty swallowing
  • Previously received or plan to have facial surgery
  • Are pregnant or nursing
  • Have an infection or medical condition near/in the injection area

Younger patients are often more ideal for Kybella treatment because they have greater skin elasticity. These patients often don’t have saggy skin under their chin.

Applications

So far, the FDA has only approved Kybella for treatments that target chin fat. Studies have shown Kybella is most effective when reducing small sections of fat. The FDA is still exploring the benefits of using Kybella for treating muffin tops, love handles, and other fat-heavy areas.

The Kybella treatment often costs between $1,200 and $1,800 for a single treatment.

Before Treatment

Before the procedure, make sure to review your medical history with a healthcare provider. Also inform them of any cosmetic procedures you’ve done to the face, chin, or neck. If you have issues swallowing or bleeding, let them know.

They’ll determine whether or not you’re an ideal candidate for this procedure.

There’s little preparation necessary for the Kybella treatment. Before your appointment, make sure to wash your face thoroughly. This will reduce the chances you’ll develop an infection.

Make sure to avoid acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Both can cause bruising to develop after the procedure.

How Does Kybella Work?

So how does Kybella work to reduce excess chin fat?

First, your healthcare provider will mark between 20 to 50 injection sites under your chin with a marker. Then, they’ll administer a topical numbing agent or ice pack. This will help ease any pain or discomfort.

During the treatment, a licensed medical professional will use a synthetic form of deoxycholic acid to target your fat cells. Deoxycholic acid helps your body naturally absorb fat. This acid is a type of salt found in human bile that improves fat digestion.

Deoxycholic acid works within your digestive tract by destroying the fat cell membrane. Injecting deoxycholic acid into submental fat in the chin accomplishes the same feat. Once the fat is dissolved, your lymphatic and circulatory systems will breakdown and excrete what’s left.

Once injected, the acid will destroy the existing fat cells beneath your chin. Your fat cells are metabolized by the body during the weeks after your treatment. The acid also tells the area it can’t store fat anymore.

It’s important to receive this treatment from a trained healthcare professional. Otherwise, the deoxycholic acid might kill other cells during the treatment.

Kybella injections are more painful for some patients than others. If you’re concerned about your pain tolerance, make sure to discuss it with your healthcare provider beforehand. They can use a topical numbing cream such as lidocaine to minimize your discomfort.

Your Treatment Plan

The treatment will take between 15 and 20 minutes. The number of treatments you’ll need varies on a patient-by-patient basis. You might require multiple treatments to achieve the results you’re hoping for.

Speak with your healthcare provider about your goals before your first treatment. They can help you develop a treatment plan to accomplish those goals.

You can receive up to six Kybella treatments. However, you’ll need to wait at least one month between each treatment.

It takes time for your body to remove dead fat cells. It can take a little time before you notice obvious results. Temporary swelling can also make it difficult for you to notice any changes immediately following your treatment.

Side Effects

A Kybella treatment can cause a few side effects, despite the fact that the treatment is nonsurgical. Common side effects include:

  • Redness
  • Numbness
  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Bruising

The recovery period is often minimal. However, you might require a little downtime depending on the side effects you experience. These side effects often fade within one to two weeks.

In rare cases, more serious side effects can occur, including:

  • Facial muscle weakness
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Nerve issues in the jaw
  • An uneven smile

If you experience any discomfort after your treatment, make sure to discuss any symptoms with your doctor. Contact your healthcare immediately if you experience these more serious side effects.

Chin Up: Everything You Need to Know About The Kybella Treatment

Once you kill those fat cells, they’re not coming back! With a Kybella treatment, you can say goodbye to that double chin once and for all. Make sure to speak with a healthcare professional to determine if Kybella is the right treatment for you.

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