Frequently Asked Questions: Kybella

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The Derm Institute is designated by Allergan as a Kybella Center of Excellence


1. What is Kybella?Kybella

Kybella is an injectable formulation of deoxycholic acid, a naturally occurring molecule I the body that aids in the breakdown and absorptions of fat.  When injected into areas of unwanted fat, Kybella causes the destruction of fat cells.  In 2015, the FDA approved the use of Kybella to treat submental fat, otherwise known as a double chin.  At The Derm Institute, we call it mini-liposuction in a syringe, and we have been designated by Allergan as a Kybella Center of Excellence due to Dr. Chiu’s extensive experience and pioneering techniques.

2. What areas can be treated with Kybella?

Kybella is most commonly used for the removal of fat underneath the chin.  At the Derm Institute, we are the South Bay and Los Angeles’ Kybella Center of Excellence.  This means Dr. Chiu has extensive experience in contouring the lower jawline, double chin, and also uses Kybella for other areas of body contouring, such as the armpit fat, bra bulges, and lower buttock fatty folds.

3. Are there any off-label uses for Kybella? If so, are they safe?

Off label, Kybella can be used for other smaller areas of unwanted fat on the body.  Dr. Chiu has used it with great results in patients for:

  • Armpit pooches
  • Back fat
  • Bra bulge
  • Inner knee fat
  • Lower buttock fatty folds

4. Kybella vs. liposuction for double chin? Which would you recommend and what is the difference?

If you have a double chin or other small area of stubborn fat where you want more contour and definition, then consider Kybella a safe alternative to liposuction and surgery.  Only you and Dr. Chiu can decide if Kybella is the right treatment.  Typically, Kybella treatment requires 2-4 sessions.  Liposuction typically requires 1-2 sessions, but some patients do not like to undergo surgery, or have scars from liposuction.  Kybella treatment does not leave any scars as it is injected through a very small syringe.

5. What is recovery like for Kybella injections?

There is some swelling right after Kybella treatment, which typically is most prominent in the first 2-3 days and is typically completely resolved in a week.  After day 3, most swelling is not noticeable to others, although a scarf or a mock turtleneck can help camouflage.  Dr. Chiu recommends scheduling Kybella treatments on Thursdays or Fridays to allow healing to occur over the weekend.  Over the following month, you may feel (but not see) some bump under the skin of the treated area.  This firmness signifies Kybella is working to dissolve the fat.  Once the fat is dissolved, your body will naturally absorb the fat cells.

6. How long do results from Kybella injections last?

The results gained with Kybella are considered long term and the fat will not return once dissolved if the weight of the patient remains stable.  FDA studies show maintenance of improvement at 5 years after treatment when patients maintained a stable weight.

7. What do I do if I gain weight after using Kybella?

Because double chin fat, or any area treated with Kybella is composed of fat cells, with significant weight gain, the fat area can possibly but not always return.

8. Are Kybella injections painful?

There is little pain during the Kybella procedure.   There is a slight burning sensation when the product is administered, but at The Derm Institute, we use topical numbing and ice to ensure comfort for our patients.  Two to four sessions are recommended with a follow up of 6 – 8 weeks between each treatment.  Dr. Chiu and staff try to make each treatment as comfortable as possible.  Before treatment begins, Dr. Chiu’s medical assistant will ice and numb the area with a numbing cream. This helps with any discomfort during the Kybella procedure.  there is some pain associated with the reaction that causes the fat breakdown.  This is not severe but may cause the area to become tender.  Dr. Chiu has a post-care plan for Kybella patients:

  • After the treatment, DO hold ice packs on the areas that are treated with Kybella gently for a few times that day.
  • Treated areas may be red, inflamed, swollen, and bruised for the first 2-7 days.
  • DO resume all normal activities include exercise as long as it is comfortable for you.
  • DO take ibuprofen, motrin, or advil if needed for discomfort after the treatment.
  • If bruising occurs, apply topical Arnica gel, drink fresh pineapple juice, and/or take Bromelain supplements to help bruising resolve faster.
  • Bruising can be covered with makeup.

9. How long is a Kybella treatment?

Kybella is an incredibly quick and easy “lunchtime” procedure.  Most patients are in and out within 30 minutes, most of the time is used to allow topical numbing to work.

10. How many Kybella treatments do I need to see results?

Every patient is different.  As an expert injector for Kybella, Dr. Chiu will help you evaluate what areas are bothersome.  Most patients need 2-4 sessions spaced 6-8 weeks or more apart.  Dr. Chiu’s extensive experience and expert technique with Kybella allows for contouring of the jawline and faster noticeable results, even after one session.