Kybella is a relatively new drug — approved by the FDA in 2015 — that dissolves the fat pocket that causes a double chin, also known as submental fat. It’s injected directly under the chin, and, according to one study, as many as 82% of people who got the injections were happier with how they looked afterward. Here’s what you need to know.

Kybella literally dissolves fat cells

The history of Kybella, which is actually deoxycholic acid, goes back to France in the 1950s. Researchers then were looking for ways to dissolve fat that was causing complications for people who’d experienced trauma. Small amounts of fat can enter the bloodstream after a traumatic event and possibly cause issues in the respiratory system.

Those researchers used a compound called phosphatidylcholine. Later, in the 1980s, researchers began looking at phosphatidylcholine for possible cosmetic uses. They combined it with deoxycholic acid — eventually bodybuilders began injecting the combination before competitions.

In the early 2000s, a group of researchers discovered that it was actually the deoxycholic acid that broke down the fat cells. Deoxycholic acid occurs naturally in bile, an acid that helps break down fat in your digestive tract — but the deoxycholic acid that is Kybella’s active ingredient is synthetic.

When it’s injected directly, deoxycholic acid destroys the cell membranes of fat cells. The lymphatic and circulatory systems then clear away the debris — both the destroyed fat cells and the deoxycholic acid itself — left behind. It’s excreted naturally as waste.

Kybella requires shots, and lots of them

It would be nice to visit a medical spa, get a shot, and walk out with a slimmer chin. Unfortunately, that’s not exactly how Kybella works.

Most patients need between two and four treatment sessions of Kybella in order to see the desired results. Each treatment usually consists of about 20 injections. The number of injections depends on the amount of submental fat to be dissolved, as does the number of treatment sessions.

Although the possibility of 80 or more injections may seem daunting, many people are finding it a better alternative than liposuction, which is the only other FDA-approved way to get rid of a double chin. Because liposuction is a surgical procedure, it carries its own set of risks that many patients who seek Kybella are not prepared to take on.

Kybella is nonsurgical and noninvasive, and was shown to be safe in clinical trials. For many people, getting all those shots is a fair trade for a procedure that eliminates submental fat.

The double chin is gone for good

Because Kybella treatments involve injecting fluid into your chin, swelling is likely. It will go down as the deoxycholic acid works and is cleared by your lymphatic and circulatory systems.

All of the shots can cause bruising, which generally heals quickly. Most patients are back to normal within a week or two after a treatment.

The good news is that once those fat cells are destroyed, they don’t come back. You may need a few Kybella treatments, but after that, there’s no maintenance or worries about needing more treatments later.

In the clinical trials of Kybella, there were some instances of nerve damage. The staff at Vermont Med Spa will discuss all of the possible side effects and risks of Kybella with you prior to treatment.

If you’re bothered by the appearance of a double chin, consider booking an appointment online or by phone at Vermont Med Spa so you can learn more about Kybella.


We're happy to answer any questions you may have, feel free to call us at
(213) 335-3542