What is Kybella?
Kybella is an injectable medication used in adults to improve the appearance and profile of mild to moderate fat below the chin (submental fat), commonly referred to as a “double chin.” It is the first FDA-approved nonsurgical treatment for this area. Kybella is a non-human and non-animal formulation of deoxycholic acid, a naturally-occurring molecule in the body that aids in the breakdown and absorption of dietary fat. When injected into subcutaneous fat, Kybella initiates the destruction of fat cells. Once destroyed, those cells cannot store or accumulate fat.
What is the Kybella treatment like?
Each in-office treatment session with Kybella is typically 15-20 minutes. The desired treatment zone is outlined and cleansed with alcohol. Ice or injectable lidocaine may be used to make the procedure more comfortable. A series of small injections will then be administered into the treatment area. Discomfort with Kybella injections is mild and can be further diminished with ice and over-the-counter ibuprofen or Tylenol.
How long does it take to see results and how long does the result last?
The results from Kybella occur gradually and full improvement is seen over the course of several weeks to months, depending on how many treatments are performed. Once the fat cells are destroyed by Kybella they do not recur, leading to permanent and long lasting results. However, it is possible for weight gain to increase the size of the remaining fat cells in the area, leading to reoccurrence of submental fullness.
What is the recovery time after Kybella treatments?
There are no major activity restrictions following Kybella treatments. However, to minimize swelling or discomfort no vigorous exercise or activity is recommended for 24 hours after your injections. Many patients describe swelling and a sensation of fullness or heaviness in the neck area for a few days to weeks following a Kybella treatment.
Can Kybella be used for other conditions besides submental fullness?
Although Kybella is only FDA-approved for treatment of the submental area, experienced dermatologists may use Kybella off-label in other body areas for treatment of excess fat on body parts such as the stomach, back, upper thighs or knees.
How many treatments will I need? Kybella is typically performed as a series of treatments in order to produce the best results. The total number of treatments and amount of Kybella used will depend on how much submental fat is present initially. A typical treatment regimen includes 2-4 Kybella sessions spaced every 6-8 weeks.
What are the possible side effects and downtime following Kybella treatment?
The side effects following Kybella treatment are mild and limited to the area of injection. The areas treated may experience temporary redness, burning, numbness, bruising, lumpiness or pain following Kybella treatment. Swelling is very common after Kybella treatment and typically lasts several days up to a few weeks. The degree of swelling is directly correlated with the amount of Kybella used during treatment and the amount of fat being treated. Typically, the side effects after the first treatment are the most dramatic and lessen with each subsequent treatment. Rarely Kybella treatment may cause a temporary irritation of the marginal mandibular nerve which innervates the lower lip. Irritation of this nerve may result in temporary asymmetry when smiling.
Can Kybella be combined with other procedures?
Yes, Kybella may be combined with other procedures to enhance the appearance of the neck and jawline. Lasers such as the Fotona Dynamis, Cutera Excel V, or Sciton BBL can help to improve fine lines and wrinkles, treat sun damage and improve redness. If skin tightening is needed, the Fotona TightSculpting procedure can be performed in conjunction with your Kybella treatments for an enhanced result. Finally, neurotoxins and fillers may be used to improve the appearance of the vertical and horizontal neck lines. During your consultation, your physician will help you decide which combination of treatments will be best for you.
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