Double Take: Can Kybella Really Melt Your Double Chin?

By | August 31, 2022

Kybella is an FDA-approved procedure that gradually destroys the fat cells under your chin through a series of injections. We dive into how effective this chin-slimming procedure is — plus the deets on cost, safety, and side effects.

Double chin got you down? You’re not alone. Some folks don’t mind a little squish, while others don’t love side-profile pudge.

Unfortunately, face and jaw exercises won’t specifically target the stubborn patch of fat under your chin. But Kybella can.

Kybella = a noninvasive treatment dissolves under-chin fat for a cool $1,000+ per session. Still, you might be wondering: How does it work? And is it permanent?

Let’s dive right (ch)in and find out.

What is Kybella

To get crystal clear on Kybella, we spoke to cosmetic dermatologist Dr. Michele Green. She offers this and several other cosmetic services at her NYC office.

Kybella, she explains, is an injectable medication used to dissolve double-chin fat. It’s much less invasive than surgical procedures like liposuction. And it’s actually effective.

Fat cells in the treatment area are dissolved through a chemical process called lipolysis,” Dr. Green explains. She says your body then metabolizes — aka, burns — those fat cells for the next 4-6 weeks.

A Kybella treatment involves a series of injections in the target area. Most folks need 3-5 sessions to get the results they want.

What areas does Kybella target?

Kybella is only FDA-approved for double chin (er, excuse us, “submental fat“). However, Green says some providers also use it to dissolve pockets of excess fat in other areas of the body:

Some docs also use Kybella to shrink fatty tumors.

Does Kybella work?

Yes!

“The fat cells that are dissolved with Kybella injections are permanently destroyed,” says Dr. Green.

Though it might take a few treatments to see your desired results, Kybella can shrink your double chin.

Exactly how does Kybella work?

A quick science lesson:

  • Kybella is made from synthetic deoxycholic acid, a type of bile acid.
  • Bile is a fluid typically produced by the liver.
  • Bile emulsifies fats, breaking them down so the body can absorb them.

When a doc injects your double chin with Kybella, a synthetic bile acid, it causes resorption of the fat. The fat cells are destroyed, and their components are cycled through the bloodstream and broken down just like dietary fat.

Bottom line: Kybella triggers fat digestion — but outside of your digestive tract.

How much does Kybella cost?

Since Kybella is a cosmetic procedure, health insurance won’t cover it. Your out-of-pocket cost will vary according to…

  • your overall treatment plan
  • number of treatments
  • treatment location

A single session costs anywhere from a cool $1k to a not-so-cool $2,500. If you need 3 to 5 sessions, as most folks do, prepare to spend $3-10k in total.

Risks and side effects

Dr. Green says Kybella is extremely safe and that side effects tend to be minimal. But that’s no guarantee that you *won’t* experience discomfort.

Common side effects include:

In rare cases, Kybella may also cause nerve damage and trouble swallowing. In clinical trials, nerve damage dissipated in ~44 days, and swallowing difficulties resolved within 3 days.

It’s also possible for your double chin to return if you gain weight after Kybella injections.

“The best way to maintain the cosmetic results of Kybella is to adhere to a regular exercise schedule and healthy diet,” says Dr. Green.

Where to get Kybella

You can get Kybella at many med-spas and cosmetic surgery centers.

This treatment must be administered by a Kybella-trained plastic surgeon, nurse practitioner, physician’s assistant, or registered nurse. You can find a local provider on the Kybella website.

How to prepare for Kybella

Kybella is noninvasive, so not much prep is needed.

However, Dr. Green says it’s important to discontinue blood thinners (aspirin, Aleve, or coumadin) and multivitamins before your appointment. This helps to prevent post-treatment bruising.

What to expect after treatment

Expect swelling at the injection site for a few days, says Dr. Green. She recommends sleeping at an elevated angle the night after your injections to reduce pressure and tenderness.

But the most important thing to expect after treatment? A reduction in your double chin!

“One of the greatest benefits of treatment with Kybella is that the cosmetic effects are permanent,” Dr. Green says. #Score!

Alternatives to Kybella

Wanna shop around? Here are some alternatives to Kybella.

Neck liposuction

Neck liposuction is the surgical removal of under-chin fat. Although much more invasive than Kybella, lipo is a “one and done” procedure, so you won’t need multiple sessions.

Both neck lipo and Kybella offer good results, so it’s really a matter of your budget, risk tolerance (surgery is inherently higher risk), and how quickly you want to see results.

CoolSculpting

CoolSculpting is pretty similar to Kybella. With CoolSculpting, cold temperatures are applied to the target area to destroy fat cells.

CoolSculpting is the least invasive option because it requires no injections or surgery. But it’s also slower, often taking several months to yield results.

Frequently asked questions

How long does Kybella last?

Technically, forever. Kybella permanently destroys the fat cells targeted in each treatment session.

However, providers recommend that you avoid gaining weight to prevent the remaining fat cells from enlarging.

Does Kybella work?

If fat is the cause of your double chin, Kybella will work. That’s because Kybella permanently destroys fat cells in the areas of injection.

However, Kybella may not help if your double chin is due to loose skin.

How much does Kybella cost?

Each Kybella treatment can cost between $1,000 and $2,500. Most people need 3-5 rounds of treatment for the best results.

Is Kybella or Coolsculpting better?

Both Kybella and Coolsculpting are effective nonsurgical treatments.

Kybella requires injections but typically offers faster results. CoolSculpting is completely noninvasive, but it can take months to work.

tl;dr

If you don’t quite love the chin you’re in, you’ve got options — and Kybella is a good one.

Kybella non-surgically destroys under-chin fat cells, giving you a sleeker profile. However, it’s pricey and might cause unwanted side effects.

Other neck-slimming options include liposuction and CoolSculpting.

Any one of these can have you swapping out your double chin for a double-take in the mirror (hey, good lookin’), but ultimately it’s up to you to decide which is the best fit.

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