Thanksgiving is just around the corner, so you’re probably too busy preparing for the holidays to even consider having plastic surgery right now. Fortunately, if your double chin has you feeling like you’re distantly related to Thanksgiving’s signature fowl, we have good news for you: You don’t necessarily need to have plastic surgery to remove it. Instead, you can try a relatively new nonsurgical treatment known as “Kybella®.”
What is Kybella®?
Kybella® is an injectable compound that was approved by the FDA in 2015 to treat submental fat deposits. Kybella® is made from deoxycholic acid, a substance that is naturally found in the human body (this is the same acid your stomach uses to digest the fat in the food you eat). When injected below the chin, deoxycholic acid starts to gradually break down fat cells. Over the course of several weeks, these damaged fat cells are excreted by the body (after being processed by the lymphatic system and liver).
Prior to the development of Kybella®, liposuction was the only way to get rid of a double chin. However, while liposuction is a low-risk and minimally invasive procedure, it still comes with certain inconveniences. Because an incision must be made to perform liposuction, the patient typically needs at least one week to heal. During this time, he or she must wear a supportive garment under his or her chin.
With Kybella®, on the other hand, absolutely no incisions are made in the skin. Instead, the skin below the chin is numbed, then the deoxycholic acid is inserted through a series of injections. Each appointment takes just half an hour (or less), and the patient can simply walk away and return to his or her usual activities immediately afterwards. There’s no need for the use of a compression garment because the fat cells are shed gradually after Kybella®, rather than being removed all at once. Kybella® is often referred to as being a “lunch break procedure” for this reason; you can have the injections administered during your lunch break and return to work afterwards. The only side effects associated with Kybella® are numbness (from the local anesthetic), mild redness, and swelling. These side effects will generally subside after a few hours.
Who is a Good Candidate for Kybella®?
According to the FDA, Kybella® is suitable for the vast majority of patients. You should, however, still talk to your cosmetic surgeon or dermatologist about your medical history. Past procedures (cosmetic or medical) that you have had administered to your face or neck may affect your ability to have Kybella®. Additionally, people with swallowing problems, bleeding disorders, or certain allergies may not be able to have this treatment. Finally, as is the case with most cosmetic treatments, you should not have Kybella® if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant in the near future, or breastfeeding.
If you have an unusually large amount of submental fat or your double chin is caused more by loose skin than excess fat, Kybella® may not be the best option for you. Liposuction is still more effective at removing sizable fat pockets and loose skin requires surgical intervention in the form of a neck lift.
What to Expect When Having Kybella®
While Kybella® is quick and convenient in many ways, you’ll still need to work with your dermatologist to devise a treatment plan. This is because different patients have different needs: Some people have only a small amount of submental fat to remove and therefore require just two or three appointments. Other people have larger fat deposits that can take up to six appointments to completely remove. To figure out how many Kybella® injections you need, your dermatologist will have to examine your chin and jaw area closely.
Once you know how many treatment sessions you will require, you’ll have to schedule them at least one month apart. This is done to give your body time to excrete all of the fat cells damaged by the previous round of injections. Once this process is complete, you’ll be happy to know that your double chin will be gone forever (so long as you don’t gain a significant amount of weight, of course). The fat cells targeted by Kybella® are destroyed permanently and will not regenerate. However, because the body takes a little while to “flush out” damaged fat cells, it’s best to start receiving Kybella® treatments now if you want to be free of “turkey neck” in time for Thanksgiving.
Though Kybella® is noninvasive, its results are anything but subtle. Most patients notice a profound difference in the definition of their chin and jawline after Kybella® has fully taken effect. If you want to dazzle in your upcoming holiday photos, then Kybella® may be just the treatment you’ve been looking for.