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Kybella – Who is a Good Candidate and What Should They Expect?

By Lauren Niehaus, MSN, CNP

Kybella is made up of Deoxycholic Acid and is an FDA approved prescription medication for dissolving submental fat (fat underneath the chin). The product works by attacking and dissolving fat tissue to improve the appearance of the dreaded double chin. You might be asking, why wouldn’t everyone sign up for this treatment? Well, as amazing as the results from this treatment are, not everyone is an ideal candidate.


The majority of patients complain about their submental chin area as being a problem area for them. However, not all patients have true adipose (or fat) tissue in that area. Oftentimes, it is more just loose skin from normal aging and environmental factors rather than true adipose tissue. Kybella should not be used in those patients that solely have loose skin. As mentioned previously, it is an acid, so if there is no adipose tissue to dissolve, it will dissolve skin. It is imperative to assess your patients prior to treatment to ensure they are an appropriate candidate.


The size of the area and amount of adipose tissue to dissolve, depends on the number of treatments your patient may need, as well as the number of vials used during each treatment. Generally, patients need anywhere from two to three vials per treatment and may need up to three treatments to reach their desired goal. This can often get expensive for patients, so it is the job of the injector to set realistic expectations with their patients.


Common and normal side effects of Kybella include a burning sensation upon injection that will resolve 5-10 minutes after the  injections. Swelling and numbness to the submental area can appear immediately following injections, and may last up to one month following treatment. Some patients may mention that the area feels firm to the touch for the month following the procedure. Other patients may state that the area feels like a water balloon. You should bring your patient back for follow-up, one month after treatment to assess and see if another treatment is needed.


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