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  • Chris Thiagarajah MD

Kybella: How does it work and is Fall in Denver the best time to get it?



Kybella is a relatively new injectable medicine used in my Denver office to dissolve fat underneath the chin (also called submental fat or “double chin”). It is one of the most common injectable procedures that I perform.

How does Kybella work?

Kybella works by literally dissolving fat cells. It is an injection given over 5 minutes. The recovery is a week roughly but the broken down fat cells needs to be drawn away from the area over a 6 week period.

Does Kybella hurt?

Kybella injections are a small pinch and there is usually burning in the area for a hour after the procedure. This pain is controlled with icing and Tylenol most often but some patients can have an increased amount of pain that needs a pain pill.

How long do I need to wait to see results from Kybella treatment?

After leaving my Denver office, I often tell patients that they will see results from Kybella in about 6 weeks. The dissolved fat will need to go away from the site that is treated. This takes the body about 6-8 weeks.

What are the risks of Kybella?

Any injection carries the risk of bruising, swelling and infection. These are very rare. The FDA trial with Kybella had a few patients who had 6-8 weeks of temporary drooping of the face. These were associated with injections that were closer to the jawline near the marginal mandibular nerve. I usually stay atleast 1 cm away from the nerve to reduce these risks.

A second risk is that there can be loose skin that needs laser skin tightening after Kybella treatment. If a lot of fat is dissolved one can imagine the skin would be loose.

The final main risk is that Kybella can expose the Platysma muscle of the neck and expose the banding of the neck that some older patients have. Botox can be used to treat this along with surgery possibly. Most patients with platysma banding are happy with their Kybella results and often do not seek further treatment.

How often do I have to get Kybella?

Kybella is a permanent treatment. It dissolves the cells permanently. Depending on the amount of Kybella needed (depending on the fat in the neck), patients may need to spread the treatments out over several treatment dates. That is something I choose on an individual basis with patients.

Why is fall the best time to get Kybella in Denver?

During the recovery period, Kybella causes swelling of the neck. This area can be covered up with a turtleneck or scarf. As a result, it tends to be preferred by patients compared to the spring or summer. Winter is also not a bad period to get Kybella but treatments may edge into the spring.


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