Kybella is the first and only FDA-approved drug that treats submental fullness also known as a “double-chin.” Kybella is used to contour the jawline and permanently dissolve fat under the chin without surgery. Kybella contains a naturally-occurring ingredient called deoxycholic acid, something your body already produces. This ingredient permanently destroys fat cells. Afterwards, those cells can no longer store or accumulate fat. For years, liposuction or surgery were the only options to eliminate the double chin. However, patients wishing to non-invasively melt chin fat without surgery can now do so with Kybella.
Kybella also known as ATX-101 is deoxycholic acid, a molecule which occurs naturally in our bodies to break down dietary fat. When injected, it permanently destroys fat cells. It is not a treatment for weight loss. Just like liposuction, if your weight is not maintained then the few remaining fat cells will enlarge.
Kybella is typically performed as a series of 3-4 treatments every 6-8 weeks in order to produce gradual improvement with very natural looking results. Kybella is delivered to the area of fat through a series of tiny injections with a fine sterile needle using a grid. The injections themselves are not very painful and take about 5 minutes. Anesthesia is not needed, and discomfort is managed with cooling the skin. After the treatment, most patients feel a stinging sensation for about 15 minutes which then resolves. Pure Dermatology is very experienced at getting patients through this short discomfort while the fat cells are being destroyed.
After the treatment, patients have swelling in the treated area for about 5-10 days. Patients can also feel a numb, sore, or jiggly sensation to the treated area that can last 2-4 weeks.
Other common adverse reactions are bruising, pain, numbness, redness and temporary hardening of the area. Less common side effects include nerve injury resulting in uneven smile or facial muscle weakness, temporary trouble swallowing, superficial skin ulceration/erosions, loss of skin pigment or hair in treatment area. Side effects typically resolve themselves in 1-4 weeks without treatment.
Dr. Holcomb is a speaker for Kybella and trains other physicians on how to use it. She also has experience with off-label uses of Kybella to treat small collections of fat like the jowls, bra fat, lipomas (benign fatty tumors), fat on the back of the arms, and small irregularities left after liposuction or C-section. Dr. Holcomb often uses Kybella in combination with other procedures to further improve the appearance of the neck and jawline. ExcelV or Enlighten lasers may be used to improve redness, sun damage, or brown spots of the lower face, jawline and neck to complement the fat reduction properties of Kybella, microneedling may be used to improve the texture of the neck with minimal to no downtime, and chemical peels or topical skincare may also be used to improve the smoothness and tone of the neck and jawline.
Since the degree of improvement and the management of side effects with Kybella is highly dependent on the injector’s experience and understanding of the product, it is advised that Kybella be performed by a board-certified dermatologist like Dr. Holcomb.