Possible Problems that Occur with Kybella

Kybella is an FDA-approved injectable treatment that targets fat cells under the chin using deoxycholic acid, which naturally dissolves the fat. It’s non-invasive and decreases small fat deposits that are often too minuscule to be addressed with other methods. However, there are concerns with this treatment among medical professionals.

Kybella injected under the chin is very localized and may improve some of the fat, but there are complications associated with it. If patients have fat in other places of their neck, say the jawline, it may create a depression in the center. Also, it will produce scar tissue under the skin and may make it harder to do surgery in that area. The consequences of melting the fat in a specific area have not fully been realized as of yet, and there needs to be more results to determine if it is safe, specifically in patients over 50.”—Kirk Brandow M.D., plastic surgeon and director, The Brandow Clinic (multiple locations).

“Just like liposuction, Kybella has the potential for misuse in overtreating the neck, resulting in irreversible skeletonization of the neck and other skin contour irregularities. Moreover, the wider availability of Kybella by various practitioners can result in its use in types of necks that would not benefit from lipolysis.”—A. John Vartanian, M.D., owner, A. John Vartanian, M.D. Facial Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery Glendale (CA)

“The patient’s biggest concern with Kybella is the swelling afterwards. Knowing how to manage swelling is the key to effective treatments. Swelling severity and amount is due to protocol, amount of vials used, and amount of fat that is present.”—Todd Schlifstein, M.D., owner, Fountain Med Spa (New York City)

“It does create significant swelling and tenderness and can also create small, hard nodules that go away over time. In my opinion, CoolSculpting is a more effective treatment for the submental region than Kybella. It offers less discomfort, quicker results, and fewer side effects.”—Matt Taranto, managing member, AesthetiCare Medspa (Lawrence and Leawood, KS), and owner, Mint Aesthetics medical spa consulting

“It’s not like Botox, where no one knows you did it five minutes later. Generally speaking, you need that swelling to happen. It’s a chemical reaction in your skin. There will be swelling for at least five days.”—Michele S. Green M.D., cosmetic dermatologist (New York City)