Neck liposuction is the traditional, time-tested method to reduce neck fat and shape the jawline. It’s a quick procedure with minimal downtime. Liposuction can be combined with other procedures, such as a facelift, neck lift, or chin implant to further improve one’s double chin or submental fullness.
Recently, however, an FDA-approved non-surgical alternative to neck liposuction is available in plastic surgery and dermatology offices. Kybella is an office treatment used to improve, without surgery, submental fullness from excess neck fat. As with the increased popularity of other non-surgical treatments, patients are looking to enhance their appearance without plastic surgery.
Expect some swelling early on
Even though Kybella treatment is not surgery, bruising and swelling still occur. Don’t be surprised if the treated area initially looks worse before looking better. For many patients, the degree of swelling or bruising may not be particularly bothersome after a few days.
Treatment is quick
As anyone who gets Botox® or facial fillers knows, office cosmetic treatments are usually quick. The actual treatment takes only a few minutes. Patients can have treatment and be back at work same day, if they desire. You don’t have to sit in the office for hours, unlike other non-surgical fat reduction methods. Kybella can be thought of as a “lunchtime neck lift”.
There is some discomfort
The treatment itself may be accompanied by some discomfort from the small needle used for the Kybella injection. Plastic surgeons may use topical cream, ice, or local anesthesia to help alleviate the treatment discomfort. For anyone who has had injectable fillers before, this discomfort is brief and very manageable. After the initial treatment there may be a “soreness” sensation for a day or so after treatment. Some dermatologists will suggest over-the-counter ibuprofen or acetaminophen for this ache until it resolves.
Results with Kybella treatment to reduce neck fat develop gradually over time. Patients typically will see results after several weeks. In addition, one treatment may not be enough, especially for patients with more neck fat. Treatment is spread out between 1-2 months apart until desired results have been achieved.
Results will vary
Even non-surgical methods used to improve one’s appearance have variable results. Some patients may only need one to two treatments, while some patients may need several Kybella treatments to adequately reduce neck fat.
Not everyone is a candidate
No two chins are alike and not everyone is a candidate for non-surgical neck fat reduction with Kybella. Patients who have had any prior neck surgery, such as a face lift, neck lift, or neck liposuction, must be more cautious with Kybella, if they can receive the treatment at all. Patients who have submental fullness from causes other than fat, such as a small chin bone or loose neck skin, may also not be candidates. In addition, patients who have an infection in the area or are pregnant or lactating are not candidates either.
Kybella is a good option for appropriate patients, but it doesn’t replace plastic surgery. Patients with submental fullness from excess skin, sagging muscle, or weak chin bone may still be better treated with plastic surgery, such as a chin implant or a facelift.
Lastly, some patients still want or need neck liposuction. As we discussed previously, there are pros and cons of liposuction vs. Kybella. Kybella is not a replacement for neck liposuction, but rather an alternative for appropriate patients.
Have you considered double chin treatment or methods to improve your neck line? Share your thoughts below.