My Kybella Experience!
I have undergone 2 Kybella treatments to get rid of my double chin and have been so happy with my results I had to share my experience.
Since I was in high school I noticed that I hated the way my profile looked, and that insecurity was solidified by my senior photos. I felt even more self-conscious about what I already knew was there - a big heaping helping of chin fat. But looking around the dinner table at family parties, I realized almost everyone in my family had a double chin – it was hereditary!
For years I was searching for the right option for how to treat the area, but didn’t have the funds, the guts, or the pain tolerance to undergo any treatment. I researched CoolSculpting, Ulthera, ThermiTight, liposuction (by a plastic surgeon), and lastly, Kybella. Surgery seemed too serious, and after some research, CoolSculpting had too many varied reviews that didn’t provide an absolute, concrete results. Therefore, I landed on Kybella, a non-surgical treatment that would supposedly break up the fat cells that had an average price around $2,000 to $5,000 depending on how many treatment sessions were needed. I came to find that the dermatologist I used to see as a teenager for my acne offered this treatment, so they were a natural fit for me right away.
When I first went to my dermatologist to talk about getting rid of my double chin (or submental fat) I met with the physician first, and then the nurse who was going to perform the procedure. I felt very comfortable talking with the nurse about what to expect and how it would help me finally feel good about my profile and the silhouette of my face. The nurse told me that Kybella is the brand name for deoxycholic acid, which is found in the gallbladder naturally, that is an enzyme that digests fats. The enzyme literally destroys the fat cells where it is injected, in this case the under-chin area. This permanent treatment causes “lysis” or cell death of the fat cells, not actual melting, that is then removed from the body by absorption. Therefore, permanent! No more fat cells exist there! She also reassured me that if I gained or lost weight I wouldn’t look disproportionate, where the sides of my jaw would look fat and the middle would remain the same as the post-treatment. Phew! What was even more reassuring was that this treatment has been approved by the FDA after rigorous clinical trials for almost 3 years now, and Kybella injections are being done all over the United States for submental fullness like mine, and even some non-approved areas as well.
She felt my “submental area” (which is my double chin) to examine how many treatments I would likely need based on how much fat she could feel. She told me I might need 2-3 treatments total. She warned me that separate treatments are required to avoid side effects like numbness, issues with my nerves in my face (like nerve injury), etc. She said she would inject 4cc of the material (what looked to me like a full box of Kybella) and would be most painful/tender and swollen afterwards, not during the actual procedure. The procedure was going to cost me $900 per session of treatment, which was considerably less (and around the average cost I had researched) than I had found for chin lipo or CoolSculpting.
When I decided to do my first treatment, I was given a temporary tattoo under my chin with a sticker that would map out the treatment area. I was then given some ice to hold to the area, because a numbing paste could deactivate the enzyme and wouldn’t help to negate the pain because the injection is done deeper in the tissue. After she put the temporary tattoo grid on my neck she marked the edges of the areas she needed to treat so she didn’t go outside of the areas that didn’t need to be treated. Then she double-checked the area by pinching under my chin because she was ensuring the injection sites were correct. I was given an ice pack to try and "numb" the skin so I wouldn't feel the needles as much, but knowing that I was getting rid of this excess fat that I couldn't get rid of with weight loss was enough motivation to fight through the pain.
With each injection, she pinched the skin being treated and then injected Kybella into each dotted marking. I could feel the pain and a throbbing sensation after the 3rd injection was done and just used the squeeze ball she provided to help divert some of my attention. She quickly did the multiple injections by moving swiftly from one site to the next, and I tried to concentrate on the music in the background and my breathing.
The next day my neck became swollen and lasted for at least 6 days afterwards, but luckily the aching of my neck only last a few days. The swelling was definitely the worst by day 2 after the procedure, as I was told I would see and feel. I was told afterwards to avoid any anti-inflammatory medication, because the swelling is actually the action of the fluid going into the fat cells to cause them to burst. So as unsightly as it was, the swelling, as she said, was a good thing. When she first told me about the common side effects, I honestly wasn't sure what she meant by "bullfrog neck" until I could see if for myself. I did feel some numbness or numb-like feeling of my chin/neck area for almost a month after the first injection, and again after the second, but it subsided eventually to the point I barely remember the experience.
I couldn’t be happier with my results, and although I’ve heard of people needing more than 3 injections of Kybella, I was very lucky and was able to get the results I wanted in only 2 treatment sessions. About 2 months after my final treatment I was feeling so much more confident about how I looked and was determined to find an excuse to do a re-take on my high school senior photos.