In the age of Instagram selfies, front-facing Snapchat videos, and LinkedIn profile photos, the disappearance of your chin and jaw into your neck is an anathema. And up until now, other than urban myths about chewing gum and invasive surgery like liposuction, a double chin has been an untreatable part of life for some. This year, that changes, thanks to a new treatment called Kybella that literally melts fat away.
“The double chin is caused by two things,” says Dr. Terrence Keaney of the Washington Institute of Dermatologic Laser Surgery. “In certain individuals there are more fat cells, and in others they just enlarge.” While poor health is a common reason for the double chin, says Keaney, genetics also come into play. For the latter, no matter how fit you are, a double chin still develops.
What Is Kybella?
Simply put, this treatment dissolves your double chin. Kybella was approved by the FDA a year ago for this purpose as a series of two to three injections of deoxycholic acid separated by one to two months. “The deoxycholic acid dissolves the fat cells and then the body processes and removes the fat,” Dr. Keaney said. “We wait one to two months in between treatments to let the body kind of finish processing, and then we’ll inject more if needed.” Needles target specific areas of the fat. The injection dose depend on the size of the area treated, while the number of treatments is related to how thick the area is.
What’s the Downtime?
Dr. Kearney says that the procedure itself is quite fast. Within 15 to 20 minutes, patients are typically done. Other than a numbness, patients can decide to go back to work but he advises for the first treatment, they plan on leaving about three days before expecting to return to normal. During this time patients can expect swelling of the treated area, redness, and post-injection tenderness.
Is it Risky?
According to Dr. Keaney, if working with a properly trained physician there is no risk with Kybella. Other than the aforementioned swelling and redness, the doctor points to temporary numbness as another possibility. “If injected in inappropriate areas like outside of the submental space, you may temporarily injure a nerve,” he says.
How Much Does Kybella Cost?
“Like any aesthetic treatment there’s significant variation cost due to how much product is required, where you live, and the shape of your neck,” says Dr. Keaney. In essence, there’s no Blue Book value. That said, others have offered a price range of about $2,000 to $4,000 for Kybella.