Please explain the results of Kybella. How many treatments is the 'norm?'

Curious about Kybella and if it really works. What is the downtime after injections? How far apart do treatments need to be spaced? How long does it last?

Doctor Answers 66

Kybella -- Tell me everything

Dear alm751:

You have asked many good questions. Yes, Kybella really works. Every patient with a double chin due to fat in what we can the preplatysmal fat pad will see a significant reduction in that fat without surgery.  Recovery after Kybella treatment is much quicker and easier than after the alternative, liposuction. Therefore, the many patients I have treated in my Manhattan, NYC office on the upper east side 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!

I have found that spacing the treatments 5 to 6 weeks apart is ideal, although when procedure was introduced a treatment every four weeks was recommended. By waiting a bit more, you will see the results from the first or prior treatment more fully.  Some patients may decide they don't need to do more.

The results are permanent: once the adipocytes (fat cells) die, they do not grow back. Any remaining cells will get larger when you put on weight and smaller when you lose weight, just as all the fat cells in your body will. Because there are fewer cells to become larger in the treated area, you will not put on as much fat in the treated area if you gain weight.

All the best,
Dr. Clark

New York Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

Kybella Results

Kybella is an exciting new FDA approved treatment for submental fullness, or double chin.  Kybella is Deoxycholic Acid and it is injected into the fat pad under the chin.  Most patients will have four to five days of swelling, discomfort and redness.  Anywhere from 10-20% of patients will have prolonged downtime including swelling, numbness and/or discomfort for a month or more.  The good news is that to date all symptoms have been noted to resolve.  During the initial studies, Kybella treatments were performed every four weeks.  In practice many physicians are treating every six to eight weeks in order to help minimize downtime.  The fat that is dissolved is permanently gone!

Nicole Hayre, MD
McLean Dermatologic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Kybella reduces double chins or fat necks by injections

usually there is some reduction of fat after the first in the series of Kybella injections. The average patient receives three injections. Some may need more. the final results may take time to show as the fat is resorbed, more collagen is produced and there is a tightening result for months after the last treatment.

Ronald Shelton, MD
Manhattan Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 37 reviews

Kybella -- FDA approved for Submental Fat, Non Surgical Option But Still New

Kybella is a form of a liver salt that is syntheic and works to damage fat cells when it is injected into them. In the clinical trials, 2 treatments a month apart had close to 50% improvement in fat reduction with some neck skin tightening/lifting (but this was a secondary outcome). More treatments, gave more improvement. In general it will take 4-6 treatments to get close to 75%+ improvement in most patients. There is pain and swelling during and after injection that can last a few hours to a few weeks/months. I suggest a formal consultation with a physician who is trained and speaks on neck rejuvenation, contouring and lifting. I am one of the few Kybella injection trainers and the majority of my practice is facial and body rejuvenation by fat removal surgical and non surgical options. Some people may benefit better from surgical lipocontouring and get more jawline and lower face improvement, as well as neck lifting, quickly -- within 3 days after the procedure. Kybella is not FDA approved to use in other areas other than the fat pad under the chin/submental area, and use in other areas could be unsafe. Again, please see an expert if you are considering treatment with this new medication. It does offer a great advance in our ability to reduce fat and contour the face. Only a select number of physicians will be injecting this medication at the beginning. Best, Dr. Emer.

Jason Emer, MD
Los Angeles Dermatologic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 190 reviews

How many times to do Kybella?

The number of treatments needed will vary from one person to the next and depends on severity, and how quickly you respond. The average person will have kybella injections 2-3 times, but occasionally only 1 session is needed, and then there are those who will go beyond 3 session but that is rarely the case. Kybella really does work, and the downtime is relatively short with some swelling, and the occasional bruise and numbness to the area. Most people can go back to the normal routine with 2-3 days, but will still have some swelling at that point, with full reduction of swelling occuring within 7-10 days depending on the case. I will often perform this on a Thursday or Friday so the weekend can be used as a recovery period. Kybella injections are done in 1 month intervals, but can be spaced out further. The results are permanent in the sense that if weight is not gained the fat will not regenerate in this area, but other changes such as skin laxity may occur with aging and this can be treated with tightening procedures such as the Ulthera.

Kaleroy Papantoniou, MD, FAAD
Great Neck Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 31 reviews

Please explain the results of Kybella. How many treatments is the 'norm

Thank you for your question. Kybella requires a minimum of 2 treatments to see a result.  I usually recommend between 3-5 treatments. Best wishes.  Consult with a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon.

Jeff Angobaldo, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 104 reviews

Kybella is a great treatment that really works

Thank you for asking many good questions. Kybella really works and the results are permanent. The amount of treatments depend on the severity of submental fat present. Some patients need a single treatment, some need 2, while others need good 4-6 treatments.  The bottom line is that you need an in person consultation and the most appropriate treatment plan will be discussed with you. Kybella is not a "cookie cutter treatment" but rather Bespoke treatment.  It's important to find an expert provider who will design a treatment for you.  Hope this helps, Best, Dr.Avaliani

Anna Avaliani, MD
New York Physician
5.0 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Kybella Results

Thank you for your question. Kybella is a very efficacious treatment for permanently reducing submental fat and improving jawline contour. With Kybella the most common side effect is post treatment swelling that typically can last 7-10 days or a possible bruise at the injection site. Typically 2-4 treatments are performed spaced 6 weeks apart depending on individual candidacy and need. Discuss all possible side effects with your physician before treatment or at your consultation. Best wishes. 

Kathleen Morno, MD
Highland Park Physician
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

Number of Kybella treatments to see a difference

You should see a noticeable reduction in submental fat after 2 treatment sessions, and then you can opt for further reduction with more treatments thereafter.

Peter Chien, MD, PhD
New York Dermatologist
4.5 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

Kybella Treatments: results and how many treatments?

Kybella is a non-operative way to reduce the fat underneath the chin. The injection works by destroying a percentage of the fat cells permanently to reduce the fullness. Typically, patients require three treatments in order to achieve the full clinical result that they desire. Each treatment takes about 20 minutes and are spaced 30 days apart in between appointments. A consultation with an experienced injector will answer all your questions.

Christopher T. Chia, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 18 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.