While wrinkles or sun spots may be obvious signs of aging, something that doesn’t come to mind as easily – but could age our appearance just as much – is a double chin. The chin area tends to accumulate fat over time, and existing facial fat pads can slide down to further contribute to that dreaded “turkey neck”. But an injectable treatment has been formulated specifically with this location in mind: Kybella®. Albuquerque’s Western Dermatology Consultants explain why the area under the chin is so hard to debulk, and how Kybella® can do exactly that.
Have you ever had moments of frustration when – despite employing your best possible weight loss efforts and actually seeing smaller numbers on the scale – certain localized pockets of fat tend to stubbornly stay right where they are, or don’t get smaller past a certain point? There’s a name for it in the medical community, and it is “diet-resistant fat”.
Aside from weight fluctuations, genetics and the aging process play a role in where diet-resistant fat can accumulate, and as the name suggests, no amount of dieting, or even exercise, can knock it out of place. Or if these measures do end up making a difference, they are not likely to stay effective for very long, as dieting and exercise only affect the size of fat cells – they do not eliminate them.
A double chin is one of the most common areas where diet-resistant fat can be found. As recently as 2015, a survey by the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery (ASDS) found that nearly 70 percent of respondents are bothered by their submental fullness (in simple terms, what we would call chin fat or a double chin) – notably, these individuals reported that they were just as concerned with their submental fullness as they were with their crow’s feet, a common age-related cosmetic concern.
Manufactured by Allergan, Kybella® is the first and only form of injectable treatment that has been approved by the FDA to treat submental fullness. It has proven to be particularly popular with those patients who would like to get rid of their double chin, but are hesitant about undergoing surgery to do it.
Deoxycholic acid, the active ingredient used in Kybella®, is a synthesized version of the same compound that is naturally found in the body. It is an enzyme that helps the body break down and absorb dietary fat cells by triggering a process known as osmotic lysis or cytolysis, where a cell bursts due to excess water accumulation inside it.
In the hands of an appropriately licensed, skilled, and experienced injector, Kybella® can induce osmotic lysis in the fat cells of the areas it is injected into. It is important for patients interested in Kybella® to note that it is only FDA-approved to be used in the submental region, so application in any other area or for another purpose is considered off-label use.
Once it is injected into key areas under the chin, the injectable works to destroy fat cells over time, after which the body naturally processes away the leftovers. While patients might notice reduction in fat after just one treatment, multiple sessions may be necessary to achieve treatment goals. Each patient may receive up to six treatment sessions with Kybella®.
While a single Kybella® treatment session may include up to 50 injections, the whole process only last about 15 to 20 minutes. Most providers also use a topical numbing cream, and local anesthesia may also be administered on patient request. The treatment sessions are short enough to be performed over a lunch break in a doctor’s office, and require no prescribed recovery time after them.
The most common side effects are temporary and injection-related. These include swelling, bruising, numbness or pain, redness, or hardness. If required, side effects can be managed with ice packs and/or over-the-counter pain relief.
Western Dermatology Consultants would be happy to assist anyone looking to learn more about Kybella®. To request a consultation, contact the practice online or by phone at 505-855-9267.