In order to get the inside scoop on the hottest new injectable to hit the market since Botox, I talked to Dr. Leslie Baumann, renowned Dermatologist, physician researcher, and author of Cosmetic Dermatology: Principles and Practice. Read the transcript from our interview below.
Do you have any financial interests/relationships in Kybella or Kythera biopharmaceuticals?
Only that I was one of the researchers for the FDA trial that led to approval.
When did you first start injecting Kybella?
4 years ago on the research trial.
About how many patients have you injected with Kybella?
About 40 so far.
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What kind of training or education was required in order to begin injecting Kybella?
For the research trial training we all flew to a city and watched videos and then watched live injections. Now that it is approved I am one of the trainers to teach other doctors to inject. The doctors have to be chosen by the company to be a leader in the field and board certified in dermatology or plastic surgery or facial plastic surgery. Or oculoplastic surgery. They are not training dentists, OB/GYN, internal medicine etc. Only those with significant experience with injectables such as HA fillers. To train the doctors, they watch a slide presentation given by the trainer (such as me) and then watch live injections.
How are doctors recruited?
They are chosen more than recruited based on their reputation and experience.
Briefly describe your experience and personal opinion of Kybella.
I LOVE LOVE LOVE it! I saw amazing results in the research trial and the results seem to be permanent. I have seen patients 4 years later and the fat has not returned. There are tricks to use to make the injections less painful. The only downsides are: 1. Swelling for the first week. 2. Skin numbness for 4-6 weeks, 3. Possible bruising but I have not seen much of this 4. We do not really know yet how many injections someone with only a small amount of fat or a very large amount of fat will need. Only patients with a medium amount of fat were included in the trial. For this reason, it is difficult to predict cost. Some doctors charge by syringe, and some charge by treatment course.
In your practice, what types of patients have gotten the best results? Is there a certain body type, race, gender, etc. that gets better results?
A person with a clump of fat under the chin that when pinched is between ½ and 5 inches in diameter. The fat must be over the muscle and not under the muscle. It is ok if they have some skin sagging because in the study skin sagging did not get worse.
How long have results lasted?
At least 4 years. Should be permanent because fat cells do not regenerate.
Do patients need to maintain a special diet or exercise regimen to maintain results?
No, but of course it is always a good idea so the rest of the body does not get fat. We have Liposonix and Ultrashape treatments for the body fat.
How many treatments do those you’ve injected usually need to be happy with results? How do you space out the sessions?
Once a month. Usually need 3 if a minimal amount of fat. 5-6 if a lot of fat.
What kind of needle do you use?
½ inch 30 gauge. Same as with HA fillers. Very small.
How many injections are necessary per session?
This is determined by a grid and depends on the diameter of the area. Usually 5- 25. However, I numb the area first so they do not feel the injections.
What are some of your contraindications to injecting Kybella?
You can only inject it in areas that do not have large motor nerves that are responsible for movement. For this reason, it is only approved in the chin. Bleeding disorders and unrealistic expectations are the biggest contraindications.
What side effects or adverse reactions have you noted with Kybella?
Swelling. They should expect a lot of swelling the first week. That is really the only side effect I have seen besides numbness in the treated area for 4-6 weeks. However, this is a nice side effect because they do not feel the subsequent injections as much. Numbness is temporary.
Were you warned or knowledgeable about these before the fact?
Yes. I did the research trials. We were warned when we were trained. The company did such a great job of communicating the side effects. How do you treat unwanted complications? Time. Swelling and numbness go away.
How do you counsel your patients undergoing this injection beforehand?
I tell them not to massage the area after injections. It seems that manipulating the area makes it swell more. They can take a Tylenol if they feel any soreness the night of the injections.
How much does Kybella cost in your office or more generally?
$800 a syringe but there are packages depending on how many syringes you need.
What do you think of the cost? Is it reasonable for the results achieved?
Yes absolutely. This is so much safer than liposuction, does not cause a scar, you do not have to wear a neck compression garment, there is not oozing of fluid from the wound. Much less downtime. Neck liposuction can be $5,000-$8,000
How popular do you think Kybella will be in the future?
Very popular. I think this is the next Botox as far as how it will change the industry. We will start thinking about facial volume from a different perspective. Right now we have been thinking about adding volume, with Kybella we can also remove volume.
Is it a procedure that is in demand in your office?
YES! I have already done a lot of patients.
Are there competitors or alternative treatments to Kybella on the horizon that you know of?
Not allowed to say. I do a lot of research trials for the FDA.
There you have it folks. The down and dirty about the newest FDA approved injectable that’s proven to reduce the fat under your chin. Do you still have unanswered questions regarding Kybella or the procedure? Click here for a more extensive article and simple infographic.