Kybella® (deoxycholic acid injection, 10 mg/mL) is a prescription medicine used in adults to improve the appearance and profile of moderate to severe fat below the chin (submental fat), also called “double chin.”
Deoxycholic acid is a naturally occurring enzyme in the body that aids in the breakdown and absorption of dietary fat. When injected into the fat beneath the chin, Kybella® destroys fat cells, resulting in a noticeable reduction in fullness under the chin. Once destroyed, these cells can no longer store or accumulate fat, so further treatment is not expected once you reach your desired aesthetic goal.
When injected into subcutaneous fat, Kybella® causes destruction of fat cells. Inflammatory response helps with emulsified cell reabsorption. Visible results are expected in 2 – 4 treatment sessions, spaced at least one month apart. Once the aesthetic response is achieved, re-treatment is not expected.
Ideal candidates have moderate submental fullness and good skin quality with minimal skin laxity. Careful consideration will be used in clients with thyromegaly; disease or enlargement of submandibular or submental glands; prominent platysmal bands; excessive skin laxity; or scar tissue in the area of treatment.
Contraindications include bleeding disorders or anti-platelet, anticoagulant, or immunosuppressive therapy; pre-existing dysphagia (difficulty swallowing); facial neuropraxia (loss of facial motor and sensory function); pre-existing infection, inflammation or induration in the treatment area. The safety of Kybella® has not been established for use in pregnancy, in breastfeeding, or in patients under the age of 18.
Common adverse reactions include localized mild to moderate swelling, itching, site warmth, redness, bruising, areas of numbness and firmness, and pain. Rare complications include induration, nodule formation, oropharyngeal pain, difficulty swallowing, nausea, lymphadenopathy, syncope, headache, hypertension, and transient marginal mandibular nerve injury that can cause an uneven smile or facial muscle weakness.
How to prepare: schedule Kybella® treatment with your social calendar in mind. Male clients need to ensure a clean shaven treatment surface. Application of topical anesthetic is recommended prior to treatment.
What to expect: during the treatment, the submandibular area is cleansed, marked, and gridded to calculate the total Kybella® dose required and to ensure proper placement. Kybella® comes in 2 ml vials; typical dose is 2-3 vials. Treatment area is iced well prior to treatment. Shallow subcutaneous injections with a tiny 33 gauge needle are carefully placed in a grid pattern. Arnica gel is applied; a chin strap is sent home. Swelling will persist for 3-7 days; sleeping with a chin strap for the first 2-3 weeks is recommended.
Re-treatment can be scheduled when all swelling and numbness in the area of treatment have subsided, typically in 6-8 weeks. Subsequent treatments have less dramatic recovery due to a progressively smaller fat pad.