Millions of Americans are frustrated with the appearance of stubborn body fat. Sometimes, no matter how many trips to the gym you make or how many carbs you cut, it just won’t go away. A double chin can be a particularly frustrating area to try to slim down. Luckily, there’s an injectable treatment that can literally melt a double chin away in just a handful of months, and we offer it at aNu Aesthetics™ & Optimal Wellness in Kansas City, MO. It’s called Kybella, but how does it work? Can it really get rid of a double chin for good?
How Kybella Works: Why It’s a Permanent Solution
Kybella is actually the brand name for a synthetic version of a compound called deoxycholic acid, which occurs naturally within the human body. It’s a bile acid whose usual job is to help the digestive system break down and absorb dietary fats.
When injected into the fat that makes up a double chin, also known as submental fat or submental fullness, it does the same thing, breaking the fat cells down so the body can process them and flush them away. In order to fully understand this process, we first must understand the unique properties of fat cells in the human body.
The Science of Body Fat
Body fat is stored in specialized fat cells. It’s easy to assume that when we lose weight, we’re losing fat cells, and when we gain weight our body is producing new fat cells. That’s not the case, though. Instead, when we gain weight our bodies simply store more fat in our existing fat cells, which expand or shrink depending on how much the body is asking them to store. In fact, the number of fat cells in the human body stays more or less the same once we exit adolescence. It’s incredibly hard to force the body to destroy fat cells or to make new ones.
That’s where Kybella injections come in: by injecting deoxycholic acid directly into submental fat, it can go to work on those fat cells, attacking and killing them. The body then clears out the destroyed cells and the size of the submental fullness shrinks, leaving behind a more contoured, younger-looking jawline.
A Permanent Solution
Because the human body almost never creates new fat cells, there’s nothing to replace the ones destroyed by a deoxycholic acid treatment. In other words, the fat destroyed by a Kybella treatment is gone for good. The results are permanent.
That doesn’t mean, however, that a double chin could not reappear down the line. Deoxycholic acid does an excellent job of destroying fat cells, but it doesn’t destroy 100% of them. Those remaining fat cells are still capable of storing fat, and they’ll still expand in the event of weight gain. That’s why we recommend this treatment to people who are generally in good shape. People who maintain a constant weight will see their results last for as long as the maintain their healthy lifestyle.
In addition, there are a handful of other potential causes for a double chin that have nothing to do with submental fat, but we’ll discuss those later on.
The Kybella Treatment
A deoxycholic acid treatment is minimally invasive, consisting of a series of injections via a very thin needle directly into the submental fat. But what can you expect from a full treatment when you come to our office?
Your First Treatment
When you arrive, one of our professionals will prepare you by treating the area of treatment with a numbing agent and marking the places where the deoxycholic acid will be injected. The treatment usually consists of between twenty and thirty injections, but it can be as many as fifty depending on the size of the submental fullness being treated.
The entire process usually takes between fifteen and twenty minutes, and once it’s over, you can go right back to your daily routine. That means that, if you’re so inclined, you could get a deoxycholic acid treatment over your lunch break and be right back to work within the hour with no one the wiser.
Do I Need to Prepare?
Unlike with invasive surgical procedures like liposuction, there is no need to prepare for a deoxycholic acid treatment ahead of time. It’s a good idea to avoid taking ibuprofen and acetaminophen before the treatment as they thin the blood, which may increase the chances of post-treatment bruises forming. Aside from that though, there’s no fasting or any other preparation necessary prior before coming to our Kansas City office.
How Long Before I See My Results?
The results from a deoxycholic acid treatment are not instant; it takes a few weeks before they become noticeable. This is because it takes time for the acid to destroy fat cells and longer still for the body to process them through the lymphatic system and flush them from the body. People usually start to see noticeable results within three or four weeks after their first treatment, and those results can improve over time as the body continues to flush the destroyed fat cells away from the area of treatment.
The upside of the wait, however, is that it gives the skin around the area of treatment time to mold around the new contours of the jawline, resulting in a smooth, natural look.
How Many Treatments Will I Need?
The number of Kybella treatments required varies from person to person. It depends both on the size of the submental fullness being treated and each individual patient’s goals. When you visit our office for your initial consultation, we will discuss your goals and draw up a treatment plan for you that includes the number of treatments you’ll need.
Deoxycholic acid treatments must be spaced at least one month apart, and each individual can receive a maximum of six. In clinical studies, 59% of people went through a full course of six treatments to achieve their intended look.
What About Side Effects?
Deoxycholic acid is a chemical that occurs naturally within the human body, which means side effects from this treatment are extremely minimal. You may notice some swelling in the treated area post-treatment, but that’s normal and actually very healthy: it’s the result of the acid going to work on the fat cells.
Why Only for Double Chins?
Currently, deoxycholic acid injections are only cleared by the FDA for treating a double chin. Research is ongoing to see if it can be used to destroy other stubborn fat deposits, and there are other body contouring treatments like CoolSculpting and EmSculpt that can take care of them for you, too. For now though, Kybella is limited to double chin treatments only.
Who Is a Good Candidate for This Treatment?
Because deoxycholic acid occurs naturally in the body, almost everybody tolerates this treatment very well. Still, there are people who are better candidates than others, and some people who are not candidates for it.
People In Good Overall Shape
It’s important to note that this and other body contouring treatments are not meant for weight loss. They are aesthetic treatments only, destroying fat cells to slim down highly targeted areas. If you hope to lose weight, you should speak with your physician and formulate a healthy diet and exercise plan that works for you.
That said, deoxycholic acid treatments are most effective for people who are already in good shape but just can’t seem to get rid of a double chin. The biggest reason for this is that people who are at or near their target body weight tend to have healthy habits. As mentioned above, the appearance of submental fat can return post-treatment in the event of weight gain. If you eat well and exercise regularly already, you won’t have to change your habits to maintain the look achieved by your treatment.
People With Submental Fullness That’s the Result of Body Fat
Not all double chins are caused by body fat. In fact, most of us will develop the appearance of a double chin as we age and our skin loses elasticity. In cases like this, deoxycholic acid injections won’t do much good as there isn’t enough fat present to make a difference.
There are other conditions that can cause the appearance of a double chin, too. The loosening of muscles due to age can cause it, as can a weak chin bone. There are other, surgical options like neck lifts and chin implants to rectify these conditions, but deoxycholic acid is only approved for the treatment of submental body fat.
People Who Have Ruled Out Surgical Options
There are other options, including liposuction, for removing a double chin that can remove even more fat cells. They are, however, far more invasive and require lengthy downtime for recovery. They also don’t offer quicker results: liposuction causes inflammation that can take weeks to subside, which means the wait is just as long to see results as it is with a deoxycholic acid treatment.
People Ready to Commit
As mentioned above, a full course of deoxycholic acid treatments can take up to six months to complete. It’s important to know going in that this is a commitment, and to achieve your optimal results you must make and keep multiple appointments over the course of up to half a year.
Women Who Are Pregnant or May Become Pregnant
While deoxycholic acid is a naturally occurring chemical in the body, there have been no studies on how this treatment affects a growing fetus. For that reason, women who are pregnant or may become pregnant are advised to wait until after pregnancy to start their treatment.
People With Double Chins That Aren’t the Result of Body Fat
As mentioned above, age and other conditions can result in the appearance of a double chin. These conditions can be treated with surgical options, but Kybella does not firm up the skin. If your submental fullness is not the result of body fat, you should speak to your physician about other aesthetic options.
Visit Us Today!
A twenty-minute, minimally invasive treatment that can melt away a stubborn double chin might seem too good to be true, but Kybella is the real deal. It’s approved by the FDA, and in clinical trials, a whopping 82.4% of people reported increased satisfaction with their appearance after undergoing the treatment. It can give you a stronger jawline and more youthful profile in just a few short months.
If you’ve tried diet and exercise and are ready for a proven solution to a double chin, contact us at aNu Aesthetics™ & Optimal Wellness in Kansas City, MO to schedule your initial consultation today!