What is Kybella?
Kybella is synthetic deoxycholic acid. Deoxycholic acid is a natural substance found in your intestines that emulsifies fat; which is a fancy way of saying that it breaks down fat from big molecules into little tiny droplets. Our bodies use this acid as a way of digesting fats.
The smart people at Allergan, the makers of Kybella, have figured out a way of processing this acid and utilizing it to dissolve unwanted fat in areas of the body. When injected into fat under the skin, it permanently destroys fat cells. Once the fat cells are destroyed, that area can no longer store fat making treatment permanent.
What areas of the body is Kybella indicated for?
Currently, Kybella is only FDA approved for the permanent removal of submental fat (fat under the chin), also called “double chin.” FDA approval means that rigorous testing has taken place and that the product was shown to work and is safe with few risks. It can also be injected into other areas of the body, however this is an “off-label” use. Off-label means that no testing for efficacy or safety was conducted, and as such cannot be guaranteed.
How is Kybella administered?
Kybella is administered via injection into unwanted fat by a provider. It is a very simple procedure. We will first sanitize the treatment area, and then mark out the area to be injected using a grid of dots. At each dot, we will use a very small needle to inject a small dose of the product into the fat. I will then inject the entire area quickly moving from one dot to the next. Total time of treatment is about 15 to 20 minutes.
How many treatments are required?
This varies for everyone based on the amount of fat and the results that are expected by the individual. Typically, my patients require two to four treatments, with a few individuals requiring additional treatments. Treatments are usually done at about 6 weeks apart, however this is not set in stone. The beauty of this product is that treatments can be spread out as far apart as needed based off budget or convenience. Because the product permanently destroys fat cells, once the cells are gone they can not return so patients can spread treatments out as long as they desire.
What can be expected from each treatment?
There is little to no downtime from a treatment. Swelling is the most common side effect. I tell patients that people may notice the swelling for about a week, and the patient will notice the swelling for about two weeks. Other side effects can be discomfort from the injection and numbness in the injection area. We try to minimize discomfort by using cold packs or anesthetics if requested. For a list of all possible side effects, click here.
How do I know if this is an option for me?
Please call the office or go online and set up a free cosmetic consultation. This consultation is very thorough and includes professional photos, assessment of cosmetic needs, and a detailed question and answer session with me. It typically takes about an hour. I detest high-pressure sales tactics, so rest assured there will be none of that. If what we offer doesn’t fit you or your needs, you can leave with no obligation.
Dr. John McRae