Kybella’s One-Year Anniversary

kybella_got_fatIt is hard to believe, but it has now been one year since the FDA approved Kybella as the first and the only injectable treatment for fat in the “double chin” or submental area.  This approval came after rigorous trials for effectiveness and safety, including MRI studies to image and document the loss of fat in that troublesome area.

I completed the approved training program to use and administer this treatment in November.  Since then, I have been seeing excellent results among the patients whom I have treated with Kybella.

The best candidates for Kybella are those with mild to moderate “double chin” fat and still having good skin elasticity.  Unfortunately, if people already have very loose skin in the neck and submental area, then even if the fat removal process is successful, they will still have loose skin hanging.

On the positive side, those with mild to moderate “double chins” can see a significant impact with Kybella therapy. Typical treatments involve the use of 1-2 vials of Kybella, or 10-20 injections, to the area per treatment session.

I have found that most patients need 2 treatment sessions to achieve their desired goal of losing most of the fat in that area.  I have had several patients who wanted a third session to eliminate as much as possible fat there.  In exceptional very mild cases, one treatment had done the job, but this is unusual overall.

kybella_procedureAfter applying a topical numbing cream to the “double chin”, I mark out the anatomy of the area to define the treatment zone and avoid any important area such as the thyroid gland, major blood vessels and nerves.  Then a grid is applied over the area which guides my injections at intervals of 1 centimeter.

Most people will need 15-20 injections with the first treatment.  Subsequent treatments may involve fewer injections as there will be less fat in the area.

As soon as the injections start, you will feel a burning sensation, which is perfectly normal.  This sensation is due to the action of the deoxycholic acid chemically acting on the fat and virtually “melting” the fat.

After the injections are complete and I clean up the area with alcohol, a cold pack is immediately applied.  The cold pack will decrease the burning sensation and make the next several hours much more comfortable.

kybella_ice_packAfter the burning feeling goes away in several hours, the treated neck area will look red and swollen for several days to several weeks with the average running about a week.  It will look worse than it feels.

In the first phase, the “double chin” will feel mushy or jelly-like as the previously firm fat is in a liquid state.  Your body then starts the process of reabsorbing the fat, which will take several weeks.  As a result, I generally space the planned treatments about 4-6 weeks apart to get the maximum benefit.

The personal care after the procedure involves the cold pack for the first day for the burning, but cold packs can be continued over the next week if needed to keep swelling and redness down.  I would emphasize that the burning, redness and swelling are all normal and part of the fat melting and removal process.

If you have any residual pain (which generally will be mild), the use of Tylenol, Aleve or Advil should be enough.  Some people will have numbness that persists in the treated area, but that also returns to normal over the course of days to weeks.

In addition to the loss of “double chin” fat, over the past year I have noticed that the skin in that area also appears to tighten up perceptibly.  Some doctors feel that it is from the loss of fat pulling down the skin there, while others feel the inflammation is caused by the melting and reabsorption process, which also results in tightening.  Either way, the effect appears to be real and better in those who have good skin elasticity before the treatment.

kybella_before_afterOn this one year anniversary, it is exciting to know that we have a new tool to treat a stubborn area about which both men and women of all shapes and sizes commonly complain.  Kybella represents an excellent opportunity to treat the “double chin” in a minimally-invasive way that previously would have required liposuction or surgery.

I have had many people who have had consults on the procedure but who are waiting for the fall, as they feel that the neck will be easier to cover up for the period of redness and swelling after the treatment.  Others signed up right away, as they were “sick and tired of this double chin”.

Either way, Maine Laser Skin Care was one of the first offices in Maine trained and approved in the use of Kybella, and are currently the only provider in the greater Augusta and Waterville areas.  Similar to Botox, Juvederm, Voluma, and our other laser and aesthetic procedures, we are available to treat your “double chin” with Kybella during any of our office hours.

All you need to to to schedule a free and confidential consultation is call us at  (207) 873-2158.  That call will be your first step to getting rid of that neck problem that has been bugging you all these years.

About Dr. John Burke

John Burke M.D. has practiced medicine for over 25 years, and is the founding partner of MidMaine Internal Medicine. He established Maine Laser Skin Care in 2004 after devoting years to learning the latest in laser and dermatologic technology. Dr. Burke has treated patients from all over the United States. He is one of Maine's busiest practitioners in laser treatments, and in the use of Botox for upper facial lines and excessive sweating.
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