5 Things You Need to Know About Kybella Injections

Arguably one of the most stubborn and frustrating areas of fat deposits in the human body may be the sub-mental area, responsible for the double chin. A double chin is caused by a collection of fat in the sub-mental area (just under your chin). It’s a major concern for many people as it can be a very obvious facial feature.

In the past, to remove fat under the chin doctors would only have surgical options such as liposuctions, fat excisions, or even complete neck reconstructions (1). But these options were too costly, much too invasive, and came with many risks and side effects.

Doctors and researches struggled to come up with a non-invasive treatment that could successfully target sub-mental fat and reduce the appearance of a double chin, until finally in 2015 a drug called Kybella (deoxycholic acid) was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) (2), specifically to address this issue.

5 Things You Need to Know About Kybella Injections

1. What is Kybella?

Kybella is a medicine that contains deoxycholic acid, a molecule that is naturally found in our bodies. This acid basically plays a very important role in dissolving and breaking down fat in our bodies.

Kybella is administered as an injectable. When it’s injected under the skin, it targets adipose fat cells and effectively destroys them.

Once these cells are destroyed they can no longer store fat, resulting in tissue tightening and no risk of a double chin forming again in the future.

2. How long does Kybella last?

The actual process of getting Kybella should take around 15-20 minutes (3). The number of injections you need will depend on the amount of fat required to be dissolved and your aesthetic goal.

It takes around 4 weeks to be able to see the full effects of Kybella (4).

Several treatments and sessions may be required to reach the final result. Around 60% of people who do Kybella go through 6 sessions in order to reach their final goal and desired look.

The good thing about Kybella is that once it’s injected and it destroys fat cells, no fat can be stored in the area it was injected anymore. This means that when you get Kybella, other than the natural effects of aging, the results can last forever.

3. Is Kybella safe?

Kybella is the only FDA approved substance that is both safe and effective (5) to treat sub-mental fat, and to reduce the appearance of a double chin.

Kybella is nonsurgical and is considered as a minimally invasive cosmetic treatment. No incision or surgery is needed when getting Kybella.

However, like dermal fillers or botox, as a needle is being used there are some common related side effects such as:

  • Pain
  • Swelling and bruising
  • Redness and itching
  • Skin tightness
  • Difficulty or discomfort swallowing

The above side effects are expected to happen but should subside on their own within a few days of the treatment.

Though much rarer, more serious risks could occur such as nerve damage in the jaw, infection in the injection sites, or an uneven smile.

The relation of Kybella to pregnancy and breast-feeding is still unknown, so make sure you tell your healthcare provider if you’re pregnant or breast-feeding.

Even though more large-scale clinical trials are still required to prove the efficacy and safety of Kybella, it’s considered as a safe and successful treatment to get rid of a double chin (6).

4. How much does Kybella cost?

Prices may vary greatly depending on where you’re from or how experienced your doctor is, but on average the price of a Kybella session is around $1500 (7).

In the United Kingdom, Kybella costs around £192 per injection (8). Most people require 2 to 4 treatments to see optimum results.

Bear in mind that you may require several visits in order to achieve your final aesthetic result, so make sure that you clarify with your doctor during your consultation on how many visits they think may be required to reach the end result.

5. Does Kybella really work?

The bottom line is that Kybella is an excellent choice for people who are complaining of a double chin and want a quick, safe, and non-surgical option.

Temporary swelling or bruising is to be expected immediately after the treatment, but the procedure is considered as extremely safe in relation to the successful results it’s possible of achieving.

As mentioned before, more serious complications can happen (though very rare). So make sure that you fully understand the risks from your doctor before undergoing the procedure, and choose a trusted practitioner with a proven record of successful treatments.

Getting rid of a double-chin is a main concern for a large number of people, in-fact so common that a 2015 survey conducted by the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery (ASDS) (9) discovered that more than 2/3 of people involved in the study complained of a double chin.

Written by Dr. Khaled Mahmoud

Khaled Mahmoud completed his dental education and obtained his Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) in 2017. His interests lie in cosmetic dentistry and non-surgical facial aesthetics. He is active in dental research, contemporary cosmetic materials and techniques, and has been a member of numerous public health outreach programs.