Is Kybella Better Than Chin Liposuction?
Kybella is the new FDA approved product for injection that melts the fat in your neck to remove the dreaded double chin. Studies performed by the company were very promising and we are seeing some nice improvements in our patients as well. The question that arises however, is whether or not Kybella will replace chin liposuction as the mainstay of treatment to create an elegant look in patients who are not ready for a neck lift.
Neck or Chin Liposuction For Neck Contouring
Neck liposuction (typically performed as “Smartlipo”) has been available for years with a proven track record of reliably beautiful outcomes. It is a brief procedure taking only about 40 minutes or so (including the laser portion to help melt fat and tighten skin) using only local anesthesia. As a minimally invasive procedure, there is a period of about 4 days when I ask my patients to wear a chin/neck compression garment to help insure a nice result. While I don’t use a scalpel, there is one stitch used in the chin which needs to be removed in 5 days or so. Results can sometimes be seen within days, but more typically 4-6 weeks later (see more examples at drsterry.com). Patients can expect a profound improvement in the jawline as well as reduction or removal of the double chin. Many patients also note that their neck skin seems tighter as a result of the to the laser portion of the procedure.
Kybella For Double Chin Removal
Treatment with the Kybella product requires no “surgery” and takes just a few minutes to inject in experienced hands. Kylbella injections can be repeated up to 6 times about 1 month apart until the patient gets the result they want. It is also performed with some local anesthetic, but is a much less involved process than is laser assisted liposuction. The improved contour is strictly limited to the double chin region. Unlike liposuction effects, Kybella can only be used in the region just behind the chin crease down to the “Adam’s Apple”, and between the jowls, but NOT including them. I’ll explain why below.
Chin Liposuction vs. Kybella: Which One Is A Better Option?
The answer really depends on the patient, their anatomy, and what they want to achieve. First, Kybella is a quick and easy injection that is specifically designed to remove a double chin. However, the results can’t be extended past the double chin and will not treat an entire neck as liposuction can. That’s because Kybella is actually “Deoxycholic Acid” which literally dissolves everything it comes in contact with – whether fat, blood vessel, or nerve. With such a powerful solvent, it has been proven that treatment that wanders beyond the FDA approved treatment borders can end up hurting patients and causing quite a bit of trouble such as nerve damage if used outside of those areas. Don’t worry, it’s quite safe in the center of the double chin.
Second, Liposuction requires the use of a compression garment to be worn around the head/neck region for 4 days to insure against the formation of a “seroma” (a collection of benign fluid). With Kybella there is essentially no postoperative care at all.
Third, cost. The cosmetic results of Kybella are largely dose dependent (doctor skill has little to do with the outcome). The financial expense for two doses of Kybella is roughly 85% of what double chin liposuction would cost in New York City. However, if you need more treatments, this will present a further cost to the patient for the product. There is potential to spend more for Kybella and get a less impressive result.
Do You Recommend Kybella Or Neck Liposuction?
In my office we try to examine each patient carefully to assess what kind of outcome they may get from each treatment. The way I see it, if I can get an equally good outcome from a less invasive procedure, that will only improve my reputation. So it’s in my best interest to advise patients of what I honestly believe is best for them. On the other hand, I do have the occasional patient who will absolutely NOT have “cosmetic surgery” and will only opt for the injection. There are an equal number of folks who will NOT allow me to inject what they see as “poison” into them and would rather have the fat removed with a small “Procedure”.
My job is simply to inform patients of the facts, as well as my own bias’ and let them know what I would do if they were a part of my family.
Plastic surgeon, Dr. Thomas P. Sterry, serving Manhattan and the surrounding area of New York City