Kybella is a noninvasive method of contouring the neck in patients. Kybella is designed to treat the superficial tissues in the neck by using a product called deoxycholic acid. The use of the product has been shown in multiple clinical studies to be effective in destroying fat.
Kybella is currently FDA approved for treatment of the supra or pre platysmal fat. Fat which is deep to the platysma sometimes referred to as subplatysmal fat is not recommended for use of Kybella. The reason this procedure can not be placed in these areas is that vital nerves and structures run through these areas and may be damaged with Kybella. Off label use of Kybella has been reported in the abdomen, underarm areas, legs and love handles.
Since Kybella does not involve surgery, any trained provider can inject it. However, there are clear advantages to having a trained facial plastic surgeon such as Dr. Anil Shah located in Chicago perform the procedure. First of all, Kybella will destroy anything in its path, which includes fat, but can include nerves and muscle. 4% of patients in the study demonstrated nerve weakness, albeit temporary. An expert at facial anatomy will potentially provide the patient with an additional margin of safety. In addition, not all patients are candidates for Kybella. For example, patients with deeper fat (called post platysmal fat) will not see any improvement with Kybella. Either will patients with laxity in their skin. If a patient sees a non surgeon provider, they may have been better off with an alternative treatment.
Who is a good candidate for Kybella?
Kybella is best used in patients seeking removal of preplatysmal fat of the neck. It is a nonsurgical alternative to liposuction. Patients with laxity of skin or platysmal bands are not good candidates since these conditions can be exacerbated with use of Kybella. Kybella is part of noninvasive neck contouring
What are the benefits of Kybella?
Kybella is relatively safe procedure with little to no downtime that is effective in the removal of preplatysmal fat in the neck. It offers patients a fairly reliable nonsurgical alternative to fat removal of the neck and other areas.
Is Kybella safer than neck liposuction?
Not necessarily. Neck liposuction can be done safely in the office by an experienced physician under local anesthesia with minimal downtime. Neck liposuction has the potential for hematoma (collection of blood), nerve and vessel damage but these risks are low in an experienced physician’s hands. Kybella has similar risks except for collection of blood. In a nonsurgeon’s practice Kybella will be the only alternative. Patients should look at a surgeon’s rate of complications with both Kybella and neck liposuction as well as recovery times to get a complete picture of safety profile of both.
If I have a large neck will 1 session of Kybella be effective?
Likely not. Kybella often requires multiple sessions to remove fat. Neck liposuction typically removes the fat in 1 session. Depending on the degree and amount of fat present in the neck, Kybella may be more or less expensive than neck liposuction.
Is Kybella as effective as neck liposuction?
Kybella is not as effective as neck liposuction since neck liposuction can lead to contouring of the neck in BOTH pre and postplatsymal areas and can directly remove fat here.
How does Kybella compare to other noninvasive neck contouring procedures?
Other neck contouring procedures such as Necktite or Facetitie remove fat and have the added benefit of a contracture component which can help reshape the neck in patients with older skin. Patients with Necktite or Facetite have more potential downtime and the procedure is more invasive. For more information about Necktite and Facetite, please click here.
Procedures that heat the neck such as Ultherapy and Thermage are not as effective in removing fat as Kybella but can contract the skin in some patients. Coolsculpting mini can remove some fat in patients but is not as effective in this area as Kybella. Coolsculpting does not contract the skin (since there is no heat).
How does Kybella differ from Lipodissolve?
Lipodissolve was a product that had a combination of phosphatidylcholine and deoxycholate while Kybella is just Deoxycholic acid. Lipodissolve had issues with permanent scarring, skin deformation and deep painful knots where the product was injected and was not FDA approved for removal of fat. Although Kybella is also a version of injection lipolysis, its chemical structure appears to be much more stable and predictable with a much improved safety profile. Kybella is FDA approved for injection lipolysis in the neck.
Interesting Facts About Kybella
- Kybella is an injection in the neck.
- Kybella is Deoxycholic Acid used to destroy fat cells
- Kybella can only be used in the pre-platysmal fat and requires multiple injections.
- Some patients may experience some bruising and swelling.
- There are some risks in using Kybella but for patients who do not want to have a surgical option on the fat in the neck, Kybella can be adventitious.
- You can remove fat without incision.
- Some patients will require multiple treatments.
- Kybella is only FDA Approved for the submental area under the neck, however doctors can use Kybella off-label in other areas, including the abdomen, underarms, saddlebags, legs and other areas to spot treat areas where patients have persistent fat.
- Since Kybella can destroy fat, you want to make sure not put it near any associated nerves or blood vessels.
- The person injecting Kybella needs to have knowledge of the anatomy of the neck.
- One of the weaknesses of Kybella is it does not treat post-platysmal fat which is fat deep into the platysmal muscle.
- For patients who have post-platysmal fat are not a good candidate for Kybella.
- Patients with waxiness skin to the skin, platysmal bands are also not good candidates for this treatment because it could make those conditions worse.