Kybella by Kythera

What is Kybella?

Kybella is the first FDA-cleared, non-surgical treatment for submental fat, or fat underneath the chin.  It is administered as a simple series of injections over a period of weeks to months to help minimize or eliminate unwanted fat from the neck and chin area.  Kybella was known formerly during its development as ATX-101 and is also known as deoxycholate or deoxycholic acid, a naturally occurring molecule in the body that is known to break down dietary fat.


Is Kybella available in the U.S.?

Kybella was FDA-approved in late April 2015 for the treatment of unwanted fat in the chin area.  In July 2014, Kybella was accepted for a NDA (New Drug Application) by the FDA, meaning that the FDA is reviewing Kybella and its related clinical studies for approval as a new drug in the United States.

Is Dr. Palm an expert at Kybella?

Yes!  Dr. Palm was selected among a few dermatologists and plastic surgeons across the country to serve as a speaker, physician trainer, and clinical investigator for Kybella.  She teaches other physicians how to use the product and is currently conducting the CONTOUR study at our practice Art of Skin MD.  If you are interested in participating in the study, contact us today.

How does Kybella differ from mesotherapy?

Mesotherapy describes the use of chemical injections into the fat layer to diminish the number of fat cells.  Mesotherapy has been performed in the U.S. with non-FDA-approved products, typically compounded through pharmacies.  Most commonly, these mesotherapy compounds included chemical compounds such as dexycholate (deoxycholic acid) or phosphatidylcholine.  Kybella would represent the first FDA-approved drug for use in non-invasive fat reduction.

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Where can Kybella be injected?

Kybella is FDA-approved on label for the diminution of small, unwanted fat deposits underneath the chin called "submental fat."  The company that produces Kybella is very clear in its training to physicians that this is the intended area of usage.  However, skilled physicians in the future are likely to use Kybella in areas other than the submental area of the chin.  It is likely that small areas of unwanted fat deposits can be treated successfully, including the neck, jowls, arms, or even areas of the body.  Small irregularities caused by improperly-performed liposuction could be improved by Kybella.


Are results from Kybella seen immediately?

Kybella is typically performed as a series of treatments in order to produce the most dramatic and natural looking results.  Fat reduction in the area of treatment is gradual and improves over a period of weeks to months.


Will my skin sag if fat is eliminated with Kybella?

No.  As demonstrated in the clinical studies submitted to the FDA, as the fat reduction occurs in the chin and neck area, the skin retracts or tightens to provide a more defined chin and jawline.


How long does Kybella last?

Kybella's active ingredient, deoxycholic acid, has been shown to naturally break down fat in the body.  Therefore, the elimination of fat cells related to Kybella treatment should be permanent.  However, weight changes due to diet and exercise habits could increase the size of remaining fat cells.  Therefore, large weight gain could result in the recurrence of unwanted fat in previously Kybella treated areas.


What are the possible side effects and downtime following Kybella treatment?

The side effects following Kybella are mild and limited in nature to the area of injection.  The sites of injection may experience temporary redness, burning, or pain following Kybella treatment.


What is the Kybella procedure like?

Kybella treatment is performed in the office setting.  The area of treatment is cleaned with an antiseptic cleanser - for Dr. Palm this includes a cleanser and alcohol swab.  Following proper preparation, the neck area is treated with a series of small injections using a very fine needle, causing minimal discomfort.  The procedure is short and straightforward and completed in a manner of minutes.


Are Kybella injections painful?

Kybella involves a minimal amount of discomfort during injection of the solution but otherwise is extremely well-tolerated.  To increase patient comfort during the procedure, Dr. Palm injects small numbing dots of local anesthetic called lidocaine.  Additionally, she provides cooling of the skin, which distracts from any mild discomfort during the procedure.


Can I use Kybella with other procedures?

Yes, Kybella may be used by experienced, core-specialty physicians in combination with other procedures to enhance the neck and jawline.  Kybella may be used in some patients as an alternative to liposuction.  As Kybella eliminates unwanted fat in the submental area, it may be combined with other neck rejuvenation procedures to produce a more pleasing jawline and neck.  For example, Ultherapy may provide additional skin tightening and lifting to complement the contouring effect from Kybella.  Skin resurfacing treatment options such as ResurFX or ECO2 laser skin resurfacing may be used to further improve fine lines and wrinkles of the neck and jawline area.  Lastly, a photo facial or IPL may be used to improve redness, sun damage, or brown spots of the lower face, jawline and neck to complement the fat reduction properties of Kybella.


How much does Kybella cost and how much do I need?

Prices for Kybella depend on the severity of chin fat to be treated and the number of treatment sessions.  At Art of Skin MD, we charge by the amount of Kybella used, ranging typically from 1 vial (2cc) for extremely small chin fat areas to around 5 vials (10 cc) for larger necks.  This pricing is similar to charging Botox by the unit, so patients are only charged for the amount of Kybella they receive.  As the degree of improvement with Kybella is highly dependent on the injector's experience and understanding of the product, it is encouraged that Kybella is performed a board-certified dermatologist skilled in advanced cosmetic procedures such as Dr. Palm.