Curious about Kybella? So was I. When I first learned about the FDA-approved treatment that promises to diminish fullness under the chin—aka the dreaded “double chin”—I was obsessed.
I swear, I was shaken to my core every time I accidentally open the front camera on my phone: needless to say, I was very eager to try this treatment. But first, I needed to do some research to find out what I was getting myself into.
How It Works
I talked to Dr. Julie Russak, CB expert dermatologist and head of the Russak Dermatology Clinic to get a few more details (I eventually booked my treatment with her office). Naturally, the first thing I had to know was how this injectable worked to dissolve fat. “Kybella is synthetic deoxycholic acid, which is a bile acid that breaks down fat,” Dr. Russak explained. When injected, Kybella kills the fat cells in the submental area for a permanent reduction of the “double-chin.” Essentially, this non-invasive procedure dissolves the fat by destroying the cell membrane of the fat cells. And it’s 100% permanent. Not too shabby!
How It’s Done—Quick and Easy
To complete my first procedure, 37 separate needles were used for my injection. And while this might sound terrifying, I can assure you it actually wasn’t. The procedure is actually fairly fast. Not only were the needles super tiny, but Dr. Russak and her team worked together to get the procedure done quickly and seamlessly. It took one minute and 30 seconds from the first needle to the last.
Before the needles begin, a topical numbing medication is applied under the chin for about 15-20 minutes. Then the patient will ice the area for about five minutes. After that, the doctor will mark the skin with a temporary tattoo, which acts as a guide for your physician to inject the area.
Kybella is injected right into the subcutaneous fat (or your chin area). At first you will typically feel a burning sensation and you might begin to have a bit of swelling in the area. After the injections, you will ice for about 15 minutes. Then you are all cleared to head home.
During both my initial and second procedure, I did experience the sensation of light burning at some of the injection sites but it wasn’t too uncomfortable. Definitely not traumatic or painful. If you have an extreme aversion to needles, it might be an issue for you—but remember, it’s over fast.
For my second procedure (Dr. Russak usually recommends a four to six week window between sessions) far fewer injections were necessary due to the reduction of fat from the first session.
How I Felt Immediately After
Following my first procedures my chin and neck swelled up and felt tender. For the next ten days you could describe my neck as looking like that of a bull frog’s. I used scarves and hair trickery to hide it when it felt necessary but the after-effects of Kybella didn’t interfere with my day-to-day, and there was relatively little down-time.
One interesting side effect after my first session, I will say, was that my neck felt super jiggly—as if there was some sort of Jello-esque liquid sloshing around inside of it. You may be thinking that’s because I just had lots of liquid injected into it but actually, the amount of Kybella administered, even with 37 needles, is a lot less than you’d think. I’m talking less than a tablespoon. I was truly quite tickled by the jiggling. It didn’t hurt, it just felt silly and it wasn’t visible to others. Just a new sensation I’d never experienced. I didn’t get the jiggle after the second session, which I received about six weeks after the first.
Three days post-procedure, I was instructed to apply moisturizer to the treated area and gently massage for a few minutes twice a day for five days in order to reduce swelling. The swelling lingered for a longer period after my first session than it did after the second. But once that subsided, I started to see results after about three weeks and I could see them steadily increasing over time.
Results, Results, Results
The results so far have been subtle and I still have a ways to go when it comes to achieving my desired look because I had a lot of submental fullness (a rounded under-chin) to begin with. That’s why it has been recommended that I do one or two more treatments to really get the stunning effect of that completely smooth neck and jawline I so desperately can’t wait to achieve. A refined jawline can make quite the difference on a person. And, as mentioned earlier, it would also be nice not to internally shriek in horror every time my phone’s front camera pops open. This is a moment I’m sure many can relate to—that moment when we’re forced to confront our double chins.
While my goals haven’t been achieved just yet, many people see very impressive results after two treatments. It just all depends on the amount of submental fullness you’re working towards dissolving. Some people can achieve their aesthetic goal after two treatments, and others may need up to six. That’s why it’s important to talk to your doctor about your expectations and set realistic goals for your Kybella treatments.
Candidates For Kybella
According to Dr. Russak, the best candidate for Kybella is a patient who is bothered by the fat under the chin but does not want to have surgery. “Every patient needs to be evaluated by a healthcare professional to discuss whether or not Kybella is the right treatment,” she explains.
The cost of Kybella all depends on where you get treated. It can range anywhere from $1,000 to $1,800 per treatment. While that might sound a bit pricey, don’t forget that it’s an alternative to invasive surgery, and it’s permanent.
The Bottom Line
The 37 tiny needles used to administer Kybella wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be, but results aren’t immediate. Patience is key with this procedure as the results continue to develop for months after each treatment. For now, I’m happy with my results, but I can’t wait to see the results after the next go around. So far it’s been worth it. I am absolutely seeing results and it’s made me more confident about my chin. I’ll be sure to keep you posted about my Kybella journey.
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