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Kybella More Great Facts

Kybella in the News – Portland, Oregon

The Chin Shot = a shot that dissolves fat gives people wanting to get rid of their double chin a way to do so without surgery.

Great news- the FDA has approved Kybella, an injection designed to get rid of chin fat. You read correctly, a syringe that will actually melt away your double chin.

In the past, those wanting to get rid of their double chin (“submental fullness” in medical terms) would have to have liposuction. A nonsurgical alternative to liposuction is a groundbreaking alternative to invasive surgeries and long recovery times.

How does Kybella work? What about my love handles? Read below to find out the answers to these questions and more.

First off, what’s in that needle?
Kybella is the commercial name for ATX-101. Kythera Biopharmaceuticals patented a synthetic form of deoxycholic acid, a naturally occuring molecule that metabolizes fat. The California-based company specializes in prescription cosmetic products.

Does it actually “melt” away a double chin?
Well, don’t think of it like putting a stick of butter in the microwave. Think of it like bursting a liquid butter-filled water balloon with acid. But let’s hear from an expert.
Derek H. Jones works at UCLA as the clinical associate professor of dermatology. He is also the lead clinical investigator of Kybella. He explains, “Basically, what it’s doing is disrupting the fat cell membrane. As soon as it hits, it causes lysis—or destroys the cell membrane. After that, the fat cell releases its fatty contents and the body metabolizes the fatty contents as normal.”

So it basically pops fatty cells like balloons? Who came up with this, anyway?
While Kybella is the first FDA-approved injection in the United States for melting fat, the concept has existed for decades internationally. Zakia Rahman works as a clinical assistant professor of dermatology at Stanford. He explains, “The whole idea of doing these injections was initially pioneered in France, with a few people making their own cocktails and injecting them, many with adverse effects.”

In the past, the FDA warned consumers against injections meant to “dissolve and permanently remove fat.” Along with deoxycholic acid (as used in Kybella), these injectable concoctions were usually made up of other acids and some even had herbal extracts. These injections hadn’t undergone clinical trials nor had they been proven effective.

As Rahman points out, the fact that Kybella earned FDA approval is a big deal. She attests, “The results are actually quite impressive.”

Who will injection Kybella?
Only trained professionals like Dr. Rajani from Portland, Oregon. As the FDA stipulates, Kybella injections “should only be provided by a licensed health care professional.” In fact, Jones will be training professionals himself, starting in June. Kythera has not released exactly who they will bring on for training.

Kythera will train dermatologists and plastic surgeons. Dr. Rajani will be one Kythera’s trainers. As with any cosmetic procedure, the consumer should be careful about who they’re being injected by—doctors without proper expertise may offer the drug.

So can anyone go and get this?
Basically, aside from people under the age of 18. The company also recommends providers screen their patients carefully to make sure that their submental fullness is actually fat and not a symptom of something else, such as thyromegaly (enlargement of the thyroid) or cervical lymphadenopathy (enlargement of cervical lymph nodes in the neck).

What happens to the extra skin left when the fat dissolves?
If doctors erase the fat in your chin, you’re left with excess skin, right? Well, technically, the same risk exists with liposuction. For lipo patients with elastic skin tone, the loose skin repairs itself within a few months. Other patients, however, require a neck-lift surgery post liposuction.

To combat this, those administering Kybella are advised to look for patients who have excessive skin in the chin area or “other conditions for which reduction of submental fat may result in an aesthetically undesirable outcome.”

Jones says in response to the recovery time, “There is an inflammatory component immediately after the injection. There is some swelling and some tenderness for a few days because the body is cleaning up all cellular debris and creating a bit of contraction in the skin.” But because Kybella is a non-invasive procedure, the recovery will be faster than recovery from lipo.

Can Kybella melt fat in other areas?
Unfortunately no for a number of reasons. ATX-101 is only allowed by the FDA for the chin area—and it must be applied extremely carefully. If the injector accidentally hit the marginal mandibular branch of the facial nerve, the patient could end up with a crooked smile. If the doctor insertion is too shallow, skin ulceration could occur. Thus, the doctor needs extensive training.

Kythera also warns that if a patient’s main goal is weight loss, he or she shouldn’t rely on surgeries and cosmetic procedures. “We do have an epidemic of obesity and people want to find a way to lose the fat, but really, the only way to treat obesity is mainly through diet and exercise,” she said. “Doing this procedure is not a way to lose weight.”
Rahman added that she makes sure her patients understand the value of restraint when it comes to aesthetic procedures: “It’s important to balance the desire to look one’s best with that pressure to look perfect.”

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