“How Long Does It Last?” 10 Common Questions About Kybella

Millions of Americans are fed up with stubborn body fat that they can’t get rid of. Sometimes, no matter how much you hit the gym or adhere to a strict diet, the fat just won’t respond. That’s why body sculpting treatments are becoming more and more popular. At Physician Artistry in Sterling, VA, we offer one of the newest and most popular body sculpting treatments around: Kybella. This minimally-invasive, FDA-approved injectable treatment can melt away a double chin in mere months.

“How Long Does It Last?” 10 Common Questions About Kybella

1. What Is Kybella?

Kybella is the brand name for a synthesized version of a compound called deoxycholic acid. In the body, deoxycholic acid is what’s known as a bile acid. It helps the body break down and absorb fat.

When it’s injected by a trained medical professional, this bile acid can kill fat cells outright. Because deoxycholic acid occurs naturally in the human body, the side effects of such injections are minimal and generally boil down to the same thing you’d expect from any other injection: mild bruising.

2. How Does It Work?

In order to fully understand how Kybella works, we first must understand how fat in the human body works.

Storing Fat

Body fat is stored in fat cells. It’s easy to assume that when we gain weight, we gain more fat cells, and vice versa for when we lose weight. That is not the case, however. In fact, the number of fat cells in the human body remains more or less consistent once we are out of adolescence. That means that when we gain weight, our body is storing fat in its existing fat cells, which expand to accommodate the need.

Losing Weight

When we lose weight, the body dissolves that fat to consume nutrients and the fat cells shrink. The cells themselves are still there, though, and they can only shrink so much. That’s why many people experience so much frustration over stubborn deposits of body fat in common areas like the belly and thighs. It’s also what makes a double chin so difficult to get rid of. It’s possible for the body to destroy fat cells on its own, but it requires extremely rigorous exercise to force it to release the chemicals that make this happen.

How Treatment Works

Deoxycholic acid can kill fat cells without all the blood, sweat, and tears. In the human body, it breaks down dietary fat for absorption in the intestines. When it’s injected during this treatment, it will attack the fat cells that make up a double chin, breaking them down and killing them. The body will then metabolize the dead cells, flushing them away from the area and processing them out of the body. What’s left is a more contoured, youthful-looking jawline and slimmer profile.

3. What Is Treatment Like?

The Kybella treatment consists of a series of injections into the “submental fat” that makes up a double chin. Before the treatment begins, our professionals will mark the injection sites on your skin and administer a numbing treatment. The needles used to inject the deoxycholic acid are very thin, so with a numbing agent, the only thing you’ll feel is the slightest pinch.

Each treatment usually consists of between twenty to thirty injections, though sometimes more are required depending on the size of a patient’s submental fullness. One treatment usually takes between fifteen and thirty minutes and you’ll be able to walk out the door and go back to your daily routine with minimal recovery or downtime.

4. How Many Treatments Will I Need?

The number of treatments required for each person depends upon the size of their submental fullness and their own aesthetic goals. You can receive up to six treatments, but they must be spaced at least one month apart. Many people start to see results forming after two to four treatments. In clinical trials, 59% of patients did the full course of six treatments, but if your submental fullness is smaller or your goal is just to slim it down a bit rather than get rid of it entirely, you’re unlikely to need all six.

5. Are There Any Side Effects?

As we mentioned above, deoxycholic acid is a naturally occurring compound in the body, so these injections are handled well by almost everybody. The only side effects you can expect from this treatment are what you might expect from receiving several injections in a localized area: there may be some mild soreness and mild bruising in the area of treatment. You may also experience some swelling in the treated area, but this is actually good: the inflammation is the result of the deoxycholic acid doing its work on your fat cells.

6. How Long Before I See Results?

This treatment is not an instant cure for a double chin. It takes time for the deoxycholic acid to work its magic and more time still for the body to flush the destroyed fat cells out of the area and metabolize them. It will take some time before you start to notice your initial results, and those results will continue to improve over time. Many patients will see something approaching their final results after two to four treatments. In other words, it can take between to and four months for the injections to work their full magic and melt away a double chin.

The Upside of Waiting

The upside of the wait for results is that it gives the skin around the jawline time to adapt and mold to the new shape of your chin. That means that, as long as your skin still has good elasticity, there should be minimal sagging even though a double chin has been flushed away.

7. How Long Will My Results Last?

As we mentioned above, fat cells are almost as hard to create as they are to destroy. That means that, once the injections have cleared away your double chin, it won’t come back easily. There are exceptions to this, of course. Extreme weight gain can result in the creation of new fat cells, allowing the body to regrow a double chin. Inevitably, not all fat cells will be destroyed, so any considerable weight gain will cause the remaining cells to grow. This could also result in the reappearance of a double chin.

Overall though, the results of this treatment are intended to be permanent. Some people choose to come in from time to time for maintenance treatments, but most remain happy with their results for years. In fact, in a clinical trial, 82.4% of participants reported improved satisfaction in their personal appearance due to this treatment.

8. Can It Treat Other Areas?

For now, Kybella is only approved by the FDA for use on double chins. There is research in progress to find out if it can be safely effective on other areas where stubborn fat deposits are common. Physicians agree that deoxycholic acid injections are best suited for small areas of treatment where pockets of fat collect, like the chin.

Some think it may be effective for treating lipomas, too. However, deoxycholic acid can break down tissues other than fat cells, which is why for the time being this treatment is only approved for use on double chins and should only be administered by trained professionals.

9. Who Is a Good Candidate for This Treatment?

The first question to answer when asking yourself whether you’re a good candidate for Kybella is what you hope to achieve with the treatment.

People Who Are in Good Overall Shape

It’s important to remember that body sculpting treatments like this, CoolSculpting, and EmSculpt are not weight loss treatments but cosmetic treatments designed to help people look their ideal selves. If you are obese and hoping to lose weight, it’s best to speak with your physician about a weight loss plan.
The best candidates for this treatment are at a healthy weight and maintain an overall healthy lifestyle, but have submental fullness that doesn’t respond to diet or exercise.

People With Realistic Expectations

People with realistic expectations will be most satisfied with this treatment; for example, two treatments are unlikely to completely rid a patient of a double chin; but they will make a noticeable improvement.

People Who Have Ruled Out Invasive Surgery

While we believe that this treatment is highly preferable to invasive surgeries like liposuction, it’s best to rule it out entirely before pursuing this option. Once you’re sure the minimally-invasive route is what you want, you’ll be a great candidate.

10. Who Is Not a Good Candidate?

As mentioned above, anyone whose goal is to lose a lot of weight should speak to their physician rather than pursue body sculpting treatments. Beyond that, there are a few more people for whom this treatment may not be the right choice.

People Whose Double Chin Is Not the Result of Stubborn Fat

It’s important to note that not all double chins are the result of excess submental fat. In fact, as we age, almost all of us will naturally develop a double chin. This is due to the loss of elasticity in the skin, the degradation of neck muscles over time, and other factors. If your double chin is not the result of excess submental fat, this treatment will not be effective on it.

People Who Have Previously Had Surgery on the Treatment Area

People who have previously had neck surgery, whether medical or cosmetic, including facelifts, should be evaluated by a physician prior to receiving this treatment. Scar tissue, even under the skin, can affect the results of deoxycholic acid treatment. That doesn’t mean you should rule this treatment out; many people who have previously had neck surgeries can still be great candidates. It just means that you should have a more comprehensive evaluation before undergoing it.

People Who Are Afraid of Needles

Finally, and perhaps obviously, this is not a treatment for people who are afraid of needles and shots. The treatment consists of several shots, quickly administered within a tight time frame.

Get Started Today

An injection that can simply melt away the fat that makes up a double chin sounds almost impossible, but this treatment does it by harnessing the body’s own chemistry. This makes it both safe and effective for just about everybody. It’s minimally invasive, which means you’ll be able to receive a treatment and go right back to your day. The same can’t be said for more invasive, and more expensive, procedures like liposuction.

If you, like millions of other Americans, have tried diet and exercise but still have a stubborn double chin hanging around, contact us at Physician Artistry in Sterling, VA to schedule a consultation. We’ll help you melt that double chin away in no time.