The submental area. At first, it sounds like a Freudian psychoanalytic term; an element in a hierarchy of hypermental, mental, and submental.
But the submental area is actually the triangular space under the jaw, that place where chins go to multiply. And that’s the site where Kybella, a recently developed cosmetic procedure, does its work.
There’s nothing more grandmotherly than a double chin. And grandmotherly is the last look that many people want to project. That’s why Kybella has found a welcoming market among those self-conscious women (and men) who really want to reduce their chin allotment down to one, but also want to avoid the surgery of a typical neck lift.
Until 2015, when Kybella became the only FDA-approved injectable treatment for submental fat reduction, liposuction was the gold standard for reducing a double chin. And liposuction remains the top choice for most of those seeking a cosmetic treatment that will turn a double chin into a taut chin.
But Kybella offers a non-surgical procedure, one that can be as effective as liposuction, and one that can be financially competitive with liposuction.
The active ingredient of Kybella is deoxycholic acid, a substance similar to the bile that the body naturally produces. Deoxycholic acid dissolves the membranes that hold fat cells together.
As those cell walls dissolve, the excess fat is metabolized and disposed of by the body’s natural processes. The results last because the submental area’s ability to store fat is permanently lost.
Individual human biologies are variable, and the number of treatments required for a significant amount of fat reduction is likewise variable. Most treatment plans require a commitment to a minimum of at least two Kybella treatments, and some cases may need up to four additional treatment sessions. Typically, each session is scheduled about a month apart.
Each treatment consists of approximately 20 separate injections. The specific injection sites are identified for the administering healthcare provider by a grid overlaid on the treatment area by a temporary tattoo.
Allergan, which makes and markets both Botox and Kybella, advises that its clinical studies show that Kybella works best on younger patients, whose submental fullness is hereditary, rather than composed of dietary fat.
Resilient skin also helps qualify a candidate for Kybella. Check with your healthcare provider if you have any trouble swallowing and be sure to disclose any current medical conditions.
It’s very important to me that my patients know all possible side effects (as well as possible outcomes!) before undergoing any procedure. We’ll discuss your precise situation in more detail at your consultation, but the most common side effects of Kybella are swelling and bruising. They are inevitable but temporary. Swelling and bruising lessen with each successive treatment session. The application of an ice pack will also help reduce it.
Downtime is minimal with Kybella. Rarely, an injection will cause a minor nerve injury, but these are temporary and soon resolved.
Rather than pit these two procedures against each other, it is better to understand how the two complement each other.
Put simply, each procedure has the uncanny ability to reduce a double chin. Most times, patients who ask me about Kybella injections are looking for results without undergoing surgery. Plus, there is almost no downtime with Kybella.
Liposuction is a surgery and requires anesthesia and time in the surgery center. But, in my professional opinion, liposuction tends to offer more accurate and predictable results than Kybella, making it worth the extra downtime and slight discomfort. Liposuction does have some temporary post-surgical swelling, some hidden incisions, and bandaging. Kybella requires no incisions or bandages.
Both procedures yield clear results. With liposuction, patients typically see a positive change within two weeks of their surgery, with full results taking six months to a year to fully manifest. Kybella usually takes about three months to obtain visible results.
Comparing the cost of the two becomes trickier. On its face (no pun intended), liposuction appears to be the more expensive of the two. After all, it is a more involved procedure and takes more time.
So Kybella is less expensive? The answer is perhaps. Kybella injections treatments usually involve more than one visit to the office. Depending on how severe your double chin is, you often have multiple injections for several months.
Many times, because of a larger number of injections, Kybella costs can be equal to liposuction surgery.
A significant amount of fat reduction along the jawline will become noticeable a few weeks after the first treatment session. Most patients report that it is the second treatment that really turns the corner toward the contouring of a new chin profile.
Some cases have required up to six Kybella treatment sessions.
On average, one Kybella treatment costs $1,200 to $1,800 per treatment. Your exact price will depend on your exact treatment plan.
We’ll go over your expected costs, as well as any financing plans, during the initial consultation.
As a cosmetic procedure, Kybella is generally not covered by insurance.
The results of double chin reduction through liposuction will be visible sooner than the results of Kybella treatment. But for those who want an improved chin profile without surgery, Kybella is a viable alternative. During your consultation, we’ll go over both options and determine which is right for you.
Though this procedure is non-surgical, there are still risks to be considered. Any medical injection should be left to trained professionals. Being board-certified means your cosmetic surgeon has admitting privileges at a local hospital should rare complications arise.
While medspas may offer Kybella treatment, there is no assurance the person who performs the procedure is properly trained or certified. When it comes to your health and appearance, only work with someone you trust.
Dr. Sepideh Saber, MD, FACS, is an American Board of Plastic Surgery-certified plastic surgeon practicing in the greater Los Angeles area. She graduated from Stanford University’s world-renowned medical school and did her plastic surgery residency at the equally lauded University of Southern California (USC). She then completed a fellowship at New York University (NYU) in the extremely challenging and delicate disciplines of hand surgery and microsurgery.
Dr. Saber offers a more sensitive, female perspective for patients of all ages, genders, and orientations. Former patients from all walks of life have praised not only their treatment outcomes but her caring, thoughtful approach to a wide array of appearance and health-related matters.
To request a consultation, call 818-818-2939 or schedule a consultation online.
Dr. Saber takes her patients’ safety very seriously. Her facility’s Covid-19 patient safety procedures exceed all CDC and World Health Organization recommendations. Masks are required in our office at all times during the coronavirus pandemic.
The practice of Dr. Saber is located in Encino, CA for patients throughout the Los Angeles area. We are also convenient to Encino, Woodland Hills, Sherman Oaks, Calabasas, Burbank, Glendale, Hidden Hills, Agoura Hills, Northridge, North Hollywood, Malibu, Topanga, Canoga Park, Reseda, Valley Glen, Chatsworth, West Hills, Winnetka, Universal City, Bel Air, Beverly Hills, Downtown Los Angeles, Silverlake, and Echo Park.