Kybella: The Cure for the Double Chin

Kybella Treats Double Chin Fat

Those of you who are in the know with the latest beauty and skin care trends may or may not have heard about a revolutionary new injectable called Kybella (ATX-101 in the clinical trials). What’s all the hype around this product? It’s basically the new Botox but for double chins. In the medical field we call this “submental fullness,” and the FDA just approved a product to treat moderate to severe double chins. (1)

No matter how hard you workout and try to lose weight, sometimes it’s just impossible to get rid of that potato hanging out on your neck. The Peter Griffin look is cool and all, but a big piece of chin fat is not attractive. Introducing Kybella, this injectable literally dissolves that stubborn chin fat.

A magical fat dissolving injectable drug you say? Yes, that’s exactly what I’m saying. Fillers were a revolution in the cosmetic industry because of their ability to plump up the parts of the face that have lost volume due to aging. In this case, Kybella is able to remove fat that likely appeared later on in life in places you didn’t want it, like under your chin.


How does Kybella work?

Kybella is also known as deoxycholic acid. This molecule exists in your body naturally and helps with the digestion of fats. The Kybella that’s injected into your chin is made synthetically in a lab and doesn’t have any animal or human precursors.

When you inject deoxycholic acid into subcutaneous fat (such as that under your chin), the fat cells literally die. BOOM! Fat cell explosion. This process is called focal adipocytolysis because only the fat cells in the area being injected will die. (2)

What is the evidence behind Kybella?

It might work very well or it might not work at all depending on your expectations at the outset. In one clinical trial, they found that 68.2% of subjects injected with Kybella responded to the drug while only 20.5% of the placebo group thought they responded. (1) In another trial, 62.3% of patients injected with a higher concentration of Kybella experienced at least a 1 point improvement in the clinical reported submental fat rating scale, as compared to 34.5% of placebo group or 58.3% of the lower concentration group. (3)

What’s does the procedure of injecting Kybella entail? 

You will require several injections at a time and several sessions to achieve your goal of a smooth expanse of under-chin unmarred by the presence of excess fat cells. To minimize the amount of pain and discomfort you feel, your doctor will apply topical anesthetic and possibly ice to numb the area. Your doctor will then use a small ½ inch needle to give several injections spaced 1 centimeter apart under your chin. You will require anywhere from 1-6 treatment sessions that are spaced at least one month apart.

Is Kybella safe?

This wonder drug was approved in April 2015 exclusively for the treatment of fat pads under the chin. It has been available since June 2015. There have been more than 1,600 patients treated in more than 20 clinical trials with Kybella. No one has died from being injected with Kybella in any of the trials. The most serious adverse effects have been difficulty swallowing and injury to the marginal mandibular nerve which resolved with time.

What are some common side effects?

The most common side effect is pain at the injection site and swelling. You will have bruising and swelling due to the inflammatory reaction caused by deoxycholic acid destroying your fat cells. Your body needs to reabsorb all the cellular debris and does this through the inflammatory process. The least common side effects were marginal mandibular nerve injury leading to numbness (4%) and difficulty swallowing (2%).

Where can get Kybella?

Only specially trained dermatologists, plastic surgeons, and facial plastic surgeons can administer Kybella. The company has limited training to only certain specialists that have extensive experience with cosmetic injectables. You can find a doctor in your area providing this procedure here. It’s still a very new procedure, and not a lot of doctors have been trained yet so don’t expect to find it in every dermatologist’s office. This is actually good for you as a patient in knowing that only highly trained and experienced doctors are injecting Kybella. As always, asking around for friends who have had Kybella injected is a good idea and a great source of recommendations. Kybella is so new that most likely you will be among the first one of your friends to have it. Your bold, trend setting self will be happy to rock a new jawline come fall.


  1. Kybella Fact Sheet. June 2015. Kythera Biopharmaceuticals.
  2. Wollina U, Goldman A. ATX-101 for reduction of submental fat. Expert Opin Pharmacother. 2015;16(5):755-62.
  3. Ascher B, Hoffmann K, Walker P, Lippert S, Wollina U, Havlickova B. Efficacy, patient-reported outcomes and safety profile of ATX-101 (deoxycholic acid), an injectable drug for the reduction of unwanted submental fat: results from a phase III, randomized, placebo-controlled study. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2014;28(12):1707-15.

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