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 59

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 7 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!

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

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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 24 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.

Kybella Results

You can expect to receive up to 3 treatments of Kybella, spaced at least 4 weeks apart. However, many patients see dramatic results after the first treatment.

Hope you found this answer helpful.  All the best!

Burke Robinson, MD, FACS
Atlanta Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 51 reviews

Can Kybella work for me?

Kybella (deoxycholic acid) was approved by the FDA  in April 2015 for the treatment of the double chin. The area located beneath the chin (submental region) in some patients has an excess amount of fat beneath the skin. Kybella is a bile acid which dissolves fat over a period of time. The best candidates have better skin tone and less skin laxity although Kybella is helpful in most patients with extra fat regarless of age. The treatment is performed using a grid to space the injections in the area. Up to 50 small injections are used make sure the product is evenly distributed. The injections cause minimal discomfort. However, the procedure is repeated usually 2-3 times to maximize a result. The spacing of another injection is no less than a month apart. Minor brusing and swelling can be anticpated. The recovery is quick in that the patient can return to normal activies the next day. It is not approved for individuals who are breast feeding nor anyone under the age of 18. In my opinion this treatment has the advantage over liposuction since the latter requires a compression wrap and anesthesia. However, skin tone, the amount of fat and patient expectations are the major determining factors as to which procedure is best.

Robert W. Sheffield, MD
Santa Barbara Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

How many treatments is the 'norm?'

The minimum treatments for Kybella are two. Some patients need 3-5 treatments this depends on the amount of fat that is under chin. Treatments are scheduled every 4-6 weeks. The downtime for Kybella is short. You can go back to usual activities after 2 days. There may be some swelling and numbness. This will reduce fully in 7-10 days. The results are permanent as long as there is no weight gain

Hardik Soni, MD
Summit Emergency Medicine Physician
5.0 out of 5 stars 22 reviews

Kybella

Hello! Treatments are typically spaced 4-8 weeks apart. Typically at least 2-3 treatments are needed but there are no guarantees and individuals differ with results. Downtime is a few days of swelling, which in some cases can be significant. Cost can run $500-800 per treatment. It currently is FDA approved for fat under the chin. The alternative for submental fat is liposuction, which can easily be performed under twilight with 4-5 days of downtime as a ONE time treatment and very predictable results for a total cost of $2000-3000 (often less expensive than the Kybella series). If that is your area of concern, I recommend a consultation with a board certified facial plastic surgeon who can make recommendations specific to your concerns. Keep in mind that certain patients, such as those with significant skin laxity, are NOT good candidates for treatment. 

Catherine Winslow, MD
Indianapolis Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 41 reviews

Kybella (Belkyra) Works

Dear alm751:

Yes Kybella (Belkyra in Canada) or deoxycholic acid works by destroying fat cells.  The downtime is low with patients often returning to normal activities the next day.  Treatments are normally scheduled 4-6 weeks apart with result permanent as long there is no new weight gain.  Best wishes.

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.