What is the recovery like for Kybella injections?

The FDA disclosed bruising, swelling, redness, and hardness to be common side effects of a Kybella treatment. Will a person be able to go along with their day after injections like with botox or should they expect to need a few days at home?

Doctor Answers 79

What is the recovery like for Kybella injections?

As an injector of deoxycholate (aka Kybella) for TEN YEARS, I can review for you the series of symptoms and signs that are typical of these injections for the neck area.
First, they experience some pain, usually rated 6-8 on a scale of 1-10, for a total of 6-8 hours starting about halfway through the injections, made very tolerable with pain medicine taken prior.
Next, they experience swelling, which can get huge if there was a large amount of fat, which peaks at 20-28 hours after injection and is largely gone by 48 hours after the procedure. Some of the swelling (but not the medicine) can go down into the upper chest skin--but usually leaves by the end of the second day).
They will develop, often, some numbness in the treated area, which disappears within 2 months.
They often have tenderness-to-the-touch in the area (but only when the area is being touched) for 1-2 months, which is not severe enough to interfere with daily life and working.
They may have a transient 4-12 hour period, within the first 24 hours after treatment, of hoarseness and mild discomfort swallowing solid food (but no problems breathing or drinking or eating soft foods and smoothies)!
On the 3rd or 4th day after treatment, the treated area starts to "gel." This is something you feel; not see. This is followed by a solidification or hardening of the gel-fat.  Next, the solidified fat breaks into bits, called "nodules", which are almost always felt but not seen.  At this point the body's immune system macrophages (big eaters) are in full swing, eating the dead fat in the nodules and carrying the dead fat away to be eliminated from the body...and so the nodules gradually disappear over a few months.  Again, they are felt but almost never seen.  And they always go away with time.
At about a month after the procedure, most people have definite reduction in fat and tightening of skin in the treated area.  This continues to improve over the next 3-5 months.  (I have never had a single patient unhappy or dissatisfied with the results of this procedure.  And I have treated hundreds of necks with this!)  It is an absolutely wonderful procedure!!! Those who are injected on a Thursday or Friday are back at work on Monday!

Raleigh-Durham Ophthalmologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

Kybella Swelling

The first time you try Kybella, I would recommend having a few days off. There are some things that I would recommend to prepare you for the treatment.
1. Stop all aspirin, motrin, fish oil etc for two weeks prior to tx
2. Limit your salt intake for 3 days prior to the treatment.
3. Take some advil 15 min prior to injection

You can expect some mild discomfort for the first couple of hours, this should not keep you from working. It is very different than BOTOX or fillers. It is actively destroying the fat cells. It creates inflammation(temporary swelling). The first time you have the treatment is probably the most swelling. Generally the amount of swelling decreases with subsequent treatments.

Brian Maloney, MD, FACS
Atlanta Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

When will I see results after Kybella injections?

The fat is dissolved within 10-15 minutes of the injection, however an inflammatory response is induced that causes swelling that takes approximately 3-4 weeks to subside. The bruising and redness tend to be minor and easily covered by makeup. The swelling, however, is noticeable to the patient for typically that fist week or so but is in most cases not going to be catching the eye of casual observers. So most people are fine with going about their daily lives and routines .  Those close to you, however, would likely notice unlike with botox injections which are invisible within hours. You will not see your result from a the treatment for at least 4 weeks following your injection because of this swelling. Most patients require at least 2 rounds of treatment to get to a result that is a noticeable improvement and that they are happy with. A similar but often more mild process of minimal bruising, redness, and swelling occurs with each of these rounds but they tend to be milder with each subsequent round. Hope that helps!

Jason Roostaeian, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

Kybella recovery

Recovery after Kybella treatment is much quicker and easier than after the alternative, liposuction.  Therefore, The many patients I have treated are pleased with the procedure and don't mind the after-effects.

After the procedure, the primary side effect you will notice is swelling. This can be noticeable for as little as two days to as long as three weeks and is greater in those with larger volumes of treated fat and higher doses. Older patients, with more skin laxity, will feel that the swelling takes longer to resolve than those with younger and/or tighter skin.

The treatment can be modified if this is an issue for you, in that smaller doses given over more treatments will result in less swelling per treatment. Also, the swelling is always greatest with the first treatment compared to the second or third, even with the same treatment dose.  Patients who experience my specific anti-swelling protocol before and during the procedure and use the Calm-Down Kit we provide afterward have a shorter recovery period. Anyone who is concerned about their postop appearance might choose to have the treatment on a Friday or when they won't be working for the next day or two, and consider wearing a turtleneck or scarf.

Other than that, there is some tenderness but patients don't usually talk about it on their follow-up visit other than to be reassured that it is normal, since it is fairly mild and mostly only if the area is touched or prodded.  Small areas of firmness, if they occur, resolve quickly.

So staying home from work is up to you but not necessary for medical reasons and I would advise only if you definitely don't want to have to answer any questions from your more perceptive colleagues. You will be aware more than any one else. Maybe not the best treatment a week before you are going to get married or accept a Nobel Prize, however!

All the best,
Dr. Clark

Sheryl D. Clark, MD
New York Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

Kybella: Worth the Injection Recovery for Double Chin Treatment

KYBELLA® is used to improve the appearance and profile of moderate to severe fat below the chin --often referred to as a  “double chin .

The most common side effects of KYBELLA®include : swelling, bruising, pain, numbness, redness, and areas of hardness in the treatment area.  Similar to any other injectable treatment, this can easily be minimized by avoiding over-the-counter medications and supplements such as Ibuprofen ( Motrin or Advil), baby aspirin, fish oils, Vitamin E and green tea.   

We also offer an analgesic for mild discomfort and swelling and send patients home with ice packs and a chin strap to improve the recovery time!

#doublechintreatment  #Kybellatreatments  #submentalfattreatment

Jed H. Horowitz, MD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 107 reviews


You can expect to be swollen after your treatment. Difficult to say how long it will last but you could certainly go to work. 

You can minimize bruising by stopping any anti- inflammatories 2 weeks before your treatment.

Melanie L. Petro, MD
Birmingham Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 31 reviews

Recovery after Kybella

Most people can return to their normal activities right away. Swelling has been the most common side effect our patients report. Bruising is quite rare, we use cooling before and after treatment and have not had any issues with our patients. It is important to avoid any medications such as aspirin or ibuprofen for 10 days prior to any injections. Some patients report numbness after the injections, these have all resolved completely. 

Travis L. Shaw, MD
Richmond Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 22 reviews

Kybella Recovery

Kybella does not require any recovery time or downtime; most patients can return to their normal activities immediately. As with any injection, there is a risk of bruising and swelling at the injection site, and some patients experience temporary redness and/or swelling. This usually disappears within a couple days but can last up to a week.

Reps B. Sundin, MD
Washington DC Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

What is the recovery like for Kybella injections?

Thank you for your excellent question.  Initially with the Kybella injections you are going to experience a dull sore pain to the submittal region that is rated by most patients as 6-7/10 in severity.  This lasts for only a few minutes, especially if the area can have a cold compress immediately applied after treatment.  There may be some redness at the site of injections and some mild swelling which will increase over the next 24 hours and decreases by 48.  In most cases this swelling is not severe enough to preclude you from returning to work the day after treatment.  Bruising can also develop later on in the day of treatment or in the first couple of days after while the skin and tissues will thicken in the 3-5 day range as the body is starting to clear the dissolved fat cells.  Results will start to manifest then and can continue to show improvement for the next 6 weeks or more.  Hope this helps.

Nelson Castillo, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 64 reviews

What is the recovery like for Kybella injections?

Excellent question. Kybella is not like Botox in that you should expect to go back to life right afterward. The recovery is definitely not anywhere near the recovery for surgery though. The side effects you list are common but generally resolve for the most part in a few days. I do all of my Belkyra (Kybella) injections on a Friday so that my patient can recover over the weekend and get back to life by Monday. I also have my patients take Arnica for 2 days before and for several days after to minimize and resolve the bruising. If you have concerns its best to meet with a physician injector near you and ask your questions.

Mathew A. Plant, MD, FRCSC
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.