Is Kybella the New Botox?

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I’m not the first one to pose the question… probably not the last either. But with all the hype around Kybella, it’s one worth exploring. 

If you don’t know the history of Botox, here it is in a nutshell:

An accidental discovery, botulinum toxin type A was initially used to treat eye muscle disorders (think crossed eyes, eye twitches). But when patients began to notice the wrinkles between their eyebrows softening as a side effect, the cosmetic treatment BOTOX was born. 

Since then, it’s become a cosmetic solution for crow’s feet, wrinkled brow, drooping eyelids and more. And then came the competitors Dysport and Xeomin because, yes, there is that much of a demand for non-surgical wrinkle treatments in the marketplace. 

But Botox was first and so well established that it’s become an eponym for the group… much like “kleenex” is how we refer to any brand of tissue, “botox” is how we refer to any brand of botulinum toxin. 

It’s safe. It’s proven. And just about everyone could use a few well-placed injections.

Simply put, in the realm of non-surgical anti-aging cosmetic treatments, botox reigns supreme. Simple injections. Quick results.

Which begs the question about Kybella. It’s a much newer product on the market, only FDA-approved in 2015. 

And Allergan, the makers of Kybella AND BOTOX, want this double chin dissolving injectable to become the biggest thing since botox. 

Kybella is an injectable formulation of deoxycholic acid that permanently reduces submental (under-the-chin) fat. Initially called ATX-101, this injectable fat dissolver already has a possible competitor on its heels: LIPO-202, a different type of injectable formulation currently in trials for treating double chin fat.

Kybella is a quick (30 minute) treatment that does not require anesthesia, has minimal downtime and permanent results. On the other hand, results are gradual, you may need more than one treatment and you may have to deal with some swelling/redness/bruising.  

So could Kybella be the next botox?

For now, it IS currently the only non-surgical fat dissolving treatment for the double chin (though CoolSculpting is another — different — option). And we do live in a society where non-surgical solutions are definitely preferred to their surgical counterparts, which require a larger time investment. One visit to my office and you can have a series of injectables (botox, Kybella, fillers) to treat the whole face. In that sense, Kybella is probably as meaningful to double chin fat as botox is to wrinkles. 

Dr. M

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Shrewsbury Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeon