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In late April, 2015 the Food and Drug Administration approved a new drug known by the trade name Kybella for the noninvasive treatment of fat beneath the chin. This exciting new drug is a game-changer in facial aesthetics as it is the first product that allows us to permanently reduce fat under the chin without liposuction or surgery. Dr. Biesman and his team were part of the Clinical Trial that led to FDA approval of this drug and thus had early experience treating patients with this exciting new product. Dr. Biesman is pleased to have been included in the first group of physicians to obtain access to Kybella. He trains other physicians in the proper use of this product. Here are a few FAQ’s about Kybella:
- What is Kybella and how does it work? Kybella is a purified, naturally occurring product used by our bodies to break down fat in our digestive system. It causes permanent destruction of fat cells.
- Who are the best candidates for treatment? The best candidates are those individuals who have mild to moderate amounts of fat in the area under their chin and good quality of the overlying skin.
- How long do the effects last? In the clinical trial >90% of patients had meaningful fat reduction after 2 years and >80% had meaningful fat reduction after 3-4 years
- How is the drug administered? Kybella is injected through tiny needles. The treatment takes just a few minutes.
- Is there any need for anesthesia? Some patients prefer receiving local anesthesia pror to Kybella treatment while others choose to only use ice on the treatment area immediately before and after injection.
- How many treatments are required? The number of treatments required will vary with the amount of fat present. Up to 6 treatments may be required but most patients will require 2-3 sessions
- How far apart are the treatment sessions spaced? Typically about 6-8 weeks
- Are there side effects from treatment with Kybella? Common side effects include swelling, temporary numbness in the treatment area, and mild discomfort after injection. As with any injection, bruising can occur at the injection site. More serious complications are rare. No permanent side effects or injuries occurred in the US or European clinical trials.
- If you remove the fat will my neck skin hang lower? This question was specifically investigated in the clinical trials by evaluation of patients as well as by MRI scans. Just as occurs following liposuction, the skin adheres to the underlying neck structures rather than hanging down in an “empty bag”.
- Are there other procedures that complement Kybella to provide comprehensive neck rejuvenaton? YES! Kybella can be used in conjunction with botulinum toxins to relax lines caused by neck muscle (this does not interfere with speaking or swallowing), noninvasive skin tightening such as Thermage or Ultherapy, and even laser resurfacing to provide comprehensive neck rejuvenation. There will always be a role for surgery but we are a big step closer to nonsurgical neck rejuvenation.