As they get older, many people discover they have grown a second chin. A double chin can make a person look much older, and can also make a person look much heavier, neither of which is particularly desirable. A surgical liposuction and chin lift procedure can restore the chin to its normal state, but surgery is expensive and painful. Kybella injections offer a minimally invasive, affordable alternative.
Kybella is a minimally invasive FDA-approved procedure to treat double chins. It consists of a solution of deoxycholic acid that is injected into the double chin. It is a natural component of the human body that acts to break down fatty tissue. Once injected into the double chin, it destroys the fatty tissue, allowing the sagging skin to retract into a more normal position.
The old theory was that a double chin was simply due to excessive body fat, and therefore diet and exercise could effectively get rid of one. However, double chins are not primarily caused by being overweight. Many slim, athletic persons develop double chins and many overweight people do not develop them. They are highly resistant to diet and exercise programs. The appearance of a double chin is caused by abnormal accumulation of fat in the chin area accompanied by an excessively lax under-chin skin, leading to sagging and bulging. The development of this condition appears to be primarily genetic. If your relatives have double chins, it’s likely you will develop one too. In some families, double chins occur during middle age, but in others they can occur as early as the mid-20s. In a minority of cases, a double chin may be due to hypothyroidism, so if you have other typical symptoms (e.g, fatigue, feeling cold) you may wish to consult your doctor.
Each treatment session takes less than 30 minutes. After numbing the area with a topical agent, the doctor will inject Kybella into multiple sites under the chin. Most patients need two to four, sometimes up to six, treatment sessions to completely eliminate their double chin. Treatments are administered once every 4 to 8 weeks.
After each treatment session, there will be some swelling, redness, bruising, and pain in the chin area. These side effects can subside after 2 days or, rarely, last for up to 3 weeks. Older individuals and those with very large double chins tend to experience a longer period of swelling. Ice pack application can help reduce the swelling. Patients can, if they desire, return to work immediately after treatment. A scarf or turtleneck can be used to hide the swelling. A more practical approach is to be treated on Friday and allow the swelling to subside over the weekend before returning to work. Due to the swelling and the fact that Kybella takes time to work, a reduction in the size of the double chin will not be immediately apparent.
In clinical trials, eight percent of patients experienced an improvement after only one treatment. After four treatments, 55 percent of patients experienced an improvement, and after six sessions, 77 percent had improved. Around 16 percent of patients experienced a dramatic improvement (grade 2) after six treatments. The vast majority (79 percent) of patients reported being very satisfied with their appearance after treatment.
Kybella permanently destroys the fatty tissue in the skin. Retreatments are not necessary, and it is very unlikely the double chin will re-occur. In patients with large double chins, some type of non-invasive skin-tightening procedure after treatment for the double chin can help improve the patient’s profile even more.
The safety of Kybella was established in clinical trials that treated 1,600 patients for double chins. It is quite safe. The most common side effects of Kybella include temporary redness, bruising, swelling, and pain at the sites of injection. Very rarely, damage to a facial nerve may occur, which can lead to a lopsided smile, facial muscle weakness, or difficulty swallowing.
How to reduce double chin without Kybella? As mentioned above, diet and exercise will not eliminate or reduce a double chin. Plastic surgery, such as liposuction with or without a chin lift, is the only effective alternative to Kybella. However, these procedures are invasive, painful, and have long recovery times. They can also be much more expensive than Kybella. After a chin liposuction procedure, patients usually need to rest at home for 3 to 4 days and cannot return to work for a week. If a chin lift is also performed, patients usually cannot return to work for at least 2 weeks. Even after returning to work, patients need to avoid strenuous activity for several weeks, and may need to wear a special chin strap during this time period. Risks of liposuction and neck lift procedures include reactions to anesthesia, infections, and scarring.