Expert Doctor


Submental fullness, more commonly known as “double chin”, is one of the most common cosmetic concerns today. Patients often complain their double chin makes them look older and heavier than they really are. But luckily for them, there is a newly approved solution, which doesn’t require surgery, known as Kybella.



Kybella is a drug approved by the FDA in April 2015. It contains a compound called deoxycholate, which works to dissolve fat when injected into the fat immediately under the skin. Initial approval is for the reduction of fat under the neck and chin, which is also known as the double chin. After injection, the drug breaks down fat, which allows the treated areas to have an improved contour.

Kybella is now available for purchase only by Board Certified physicians who underwent training for safe and proper administration.



There are several options for treating the double-chin areas. Kybella directly reduces excess fat and is done in an office setting without requiring anesthesia.

Liposuction also targets fat but is often done under anesthesia and is the method of choice for larger areas like the abdomen. A patient who needs two, three, four or five liters of fat removed isn’t indicated for Kybella. Liposuction is much more suited for such cases. 

Facelifts, on the other hand, involve repositioning of tissues and removal of excess skin on the face and neck. This is the recommended treatment for generalized facial aging and hanging neck skin. Typically liposuction or fat grafting may be used as an adjunct to facelifting for an overall improved result.



Kybella has a very specific indication and cannot be used in any part of the body to dissolve fat contrary to what most patients think or believe. It is not a replacement for liposuction. The drug is designed for treating smaller areas.  Fat removal with Kybella is permanent but usually requires two to four treatments in order to get the final results.

The great thing about Kybella is the practitioner can really control the amount of the drug that is being injected. The drug can be injected little by little until the desired effect is achieved. This is very beneficial for the patient who may be concerned about an “overdone appearance.”



As with any other procedure which involves the use of injections, there is a little bit of discomfort when Kybella is injected. There may also be some stinging and burning sensations as well as swelling and some tenderness. The drug kills the fat cells and breaks them down allowing the body’s defense mechanisms to take over and attack the dead cells. This process results in inflammation, hence the side effects.

Care must be taken to avoid other risks including injury to skin or nerves. This requires experience, proper training and appropriate licensing and certifications.



After the injection, the patient may feel some discomfort that will last for a couple of days. A cold compress may relieve the discomfort. Patients are also advised to avoid the gym for the next few days. Strenuous exercises must be avoided but light exercises are just fine. Normal activities may be resumed the next day. Full recovery usually takes place after a couple of days.



Results will become apparent after about three to four weeks. But complete removal of the dead tissues from the system takes a few extra weeks.  When a patient needs two to four treatments, an interval of at least a month is recommended. Since Kybella works to destroy fat cells, retreatment is rarely required once the results are achieved. 



Doctors and patients alike are excited about this new drug but the big issue will be the price. Price is one of the key things that helps determine whether or not a product catches on in the marketplace.

Patients are encouraged to do some research first instead of just going to anyone who claims that they can do the treatment. Patients should find a board-certified plastic surgeon, board-certified dermatologist or board-certified facial plastic surgeon since they are the core practitioners in aesthetics who are trained well enough to perform a Kybella injection.


Written by Cosmetic Town Editorial Team - AA

Based on an exlcusive interview with Dr. Lawrence Iteld in Chicago, IL