It’s time to talk about Kybella; a controversial FDA-cleared treatment that has raised some eyebrows in the medical community. Why is its use debatable and what does the non-surgical treatment consist of? This blog post will attempt to provide more information about the topic. Stick around for the answers.
This is an injectable that aims to destroy fat cells in the chin area that do not respond to any diet or exercise. It basically fixes the so-called double chin fat. This is a minimally-invasive procedure that takes around 20 minutes to execute and does not require general anaesthesia.
The medications used for the treatment are not the same in all parts of the world; hence the ingredients may differ from country to country. The FDA-approved injectable comes with sodium deoxycholate (deoxycholic acid) but there are fat dissolving products that contain a cocktail of hormones, enzymes, and vitamins and minerals. Another common ingredient is phosphatidylcholine. This is a naturally occurring molecule in the body and nature. It is contained in some foods like sunflower, mustard, soybeans, and eggs.
In some countries, apart from double chins, Kybella might as well be used on other body parts for fat breakdown. Some even believe it can deal with cellulitis. So far, there is a lack of evidence on the exact effects of the non-surgical procedure on patients.
When introduced into the subcutaneous layer, the deoxycholic acid breaks down the picked out fat beneath the chin (submental fat), bringing about cell death. This lowers the number of fats in the skin and contributes to a slimmer and better-defined complexion.
The best candidate for the procedure is someone who has a stable weight, is 18 years of age or older and does not want to have plastic surgery to get rid of those stubborn fats. Preferably, they have fat beneath the chin (double chins) and are well-disposed to the idea of having cosmetic treatments. They should be willing to devote to a healthy lifestyle after the treatments so that the problem does not recur.
Singapore’s MOH has forbidden the application of fat dissolving injections because they offer no scientific merit. Although it’s FDA approved - the US gave the manufacturer clearance to distribute its products across the States back in 2015 - the treatment is banned in several countries on a global scale, including Singapore.
Here is what led to the decision to prohibit the administration of Kybella injections for jowl fat removal and other cosmetic purposes. First of all, there are no standardised protocols or regulations surrounding the procedure. The exact ingredients they can put into the product vary from country to country, which poses a health risk to anyone getting the treatment. Deoxycholic acid isn’t always the main ingredient.
Second, there is not enough evidence on the efficacy of the treatment. So far clinical studies have not been definitive to support the theory that the injectable can indeed burn fat cells in the chin or elsewhere in the body.
Even though Kybella is not available in Singapore, you should not be sorry because there are a lot of safe and approved alternatives to treating double chins with an injectable. If you are looking for ways to contour your face and reduce the number of unwanted fats, you can resort to one of the following:
Fat freezing works by freezing the targeted fats to a certain temperature, which triggers apoptosis. The latter is programmed cell death. In other words, cryolipolysis destroys excess fat. It is one of the most effective treatments suitable for double chin and it can also be used on the rest of the body. One session lasts roughly one hour.
If you have always suffered from eye bags that are caused by loss of volume in the under-eye region, you can fill in the hollow spaces with an injectable. A topical anaesthetic is applied and the process is practically painless. Additionally, dermal fillers serve to reshape the jowl and lessen the appearance of a double chin. Although it does not get rid of fat under the chin, it can make it look more aesthetic. Visible results are noticed almost right away but it takes some time before the solution settles.
Thread lifts are what the name gives off: thin threads that, if inserted the right way, can tighten the skin and contour the face, making it look more youthful. While Kybella dissolves fat, thread lifts can encourage the body to revive collagen, which provides additional volume and support to the skin.
The name stands for high-intensity focused ultrasound. It has been around long enough for scientists to gather data about its efficacy and safety. When the ultrasound energy hits the skin, it will induce self-generation of collagen and thus make the skin firmer.
Fat freezing, HIFU, thread lifts, and dermal fillers are all approved treatments for facial contouring and fat removal. They have been through extensive clinical trial tests and are recommended by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Plus, they are available in Singapore. If none of these work, you could try surgical liposuction. However, liposuction is an invasive procedure that not everyone feels like having.
As mentioned earlier, Kybella treatment is an injectable and an injectable is given via a syringe. The doctor goes for several injection sites when administering the product.* They will prep the area by applying a topical cream or an ice pack and will pre-mark the sites so that they know where exactly in the jowl they should insert the needle. That’s part of the treatment plan.
When the solution is injected, the synthetic form of deoxycholic acid gets to the fat cells and begins to gradually break them down. The body takes on from there flushing out the waste over the course of a few weeks. Around 30 injections are given in one go. The technique is most effective for small pockets of fat. If you tend to accumulate fat in the chin, the sites will be picked with care.
Multiple sessions may have to be carried out until the desired outcome is achieved. For optimal results, the injections should be given a few weeks apart. See, the fat deposits found in double chins don’t go away overnight; the same applies to fats in the entire body. You need patience.
*Selecting the exact spot is a vital process that requires some forethought and pre-inspection. Only a medical professional should give these injections. The face is a sensory organ with a multitude of nerves. One step gone wrong and you could lose sensitivity in some parts or experience a worse outcome.
The overall recovery from this nonsurgical procedure is quick. There is less downtime overall. While swelling will cause some discomfort, it will not stick around for too long. You can expect it to linger on for a few days. Yet, most people find it easy to continue with their normal life on the next day. Full recovery occurs after one month.
Prior to and after the treatment, patients are encouraged to stay away from caffeine, alcohol, refined carbohydrates, high sugar foods, high-sodium foods, and niacin supplements. Not only are some of these poor health habits anyway but they can add to the swelling and slow down recovery.
The results materialise several weeks after the treatment and are most noticeable after 4-5 months. This is because weight loss takes time, even if it has been induced mechanically. Note that putting on weight can decrease the efficiency of the cosmetic procedure significantly. Even though the destroyed fat cells are gone for good, new ones can replace them if you don’t watch your diet.
In most cases, you won’t notice immediate results since it takes time for the chemical to do the trick. If you see a difference right away, it’s either the power of the placebo effect or it’s caused by water loss in the treatment area.
Even though it offers a non-surgical fix to fat accumulation problems, Kybella treatment is not without side effects and complications.
All these side effects should be mentioned during your Kybella consultations. An initial consultation is necessary so that the doctor can provide a physical check-up and talk about a patient’s goals. It’s also the time at which any risks associated with the treatments are discussed and an inspection is made to see if you are a good candidate.
One vial of Kybella runs around $600 on the market, whereas the total cost of the treatment can get as much as $1,200-$1,800 depending on the number of vials you need. Other charges that make up the final Kybella cost are doctor’s fees, medication, numbing cream, etc.
Geographical location is a huge factor here. Some clinics will charge more for this treatment than others. Since this is on the list of cosmetic procedures, you can’t normally claim reimbursement from your health insurance provider for it. This means you pay for the Kybella injections cost yourself.
The effects of the Kybella injections last about 6 months. At that point, patients who want to sustain the obvious results need to schedule maintenance sessions. If they don't, they don't need to do anything specific.
The good news is that the fat removed with the Kybella injection does not come back while the chemical is doing its magic, but you can still grow more new fats over time if you eat a high-calorie diet. If you are prone to weight gain in the submental area, you are especially at risk of this happening. Besides, fat deposits can accumulate in adjacent sites as well, making the results look unnatural.
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