Facial Non-Surgical Procedures » Kybella

Here is my take on Kybella.  Full disclosure:  I have not injected any patients with Kybella and have no up close and personal experience with this injectable.  But … let me tell you what I think.

I recently attended Kybella instructional course. This seminar was taught by two dermatologist and one plastic surgeon.  There were many more non-surgeons than surgeons in the audience and Kybella is definitely targeting the non-surgeons.  Many of the participants were nurse injectors.   The seminar consisted of a well done lecture on anatomy of the neck which was all review for me but I am sure some new information for some of the non-plastic surgeon participants.  Safe injection was emphasized.  Kybella is basically a detergent that dissolves fat and injecting it into something other than fat could cause serious damage.  I was impressed with the emphasis on safety.

All of the before and after photos that were shown were of patients who had more than one Kybella session.  Some had had 4 or more sessions.  It’s well known that here is bruising an swelling after Kybella injection but those photos were not shown during the program.  I think they should have been shown.  How can we tell patients what to expect if we are not shown such photos?   After the talk, I asked one of the dermatologists to show me few photos taken a few hours after injection.  The bruising and swelling was moderate.  Not horrific but enough to keep a patient hiding out in their house for a few days.


Cost of Kybella:  Use of two syringes per treatment – $1200.  Almost all patients will need two or more treatments which brings the cost up to $2400 – $7200.

Time of treatment for Kybella:   Requires an initial consultation which is about 30 – 45 minutes and the treatment sessions take about 15 – 30 minutes.  It takes weeks for patients to start seeing the results.

Pain:  Pain during and after Kybella is moderate.  Patients receive 800 mg of  ibuprofen immediately before treatment.

Limitation of Kybella:  Kybella can only be injected into the rather small area under the chin.  It cannot be injected into the lateral or lower neck or into the jowls above the jaw line.

Recovery of Kybella:  Up to a week hiding at home or wearing a very thick turtle neck after each treatment.  Treatments are spread out about 6 weeks or so.  The whole process of Kybella treatment could take 6 months or more depending on how many injection sessions are needed.

Longevity of Kybella result : The fat cells that were destroyed will not return.  The aging process will continue.


Cost of Neck Liposuction:  About $4000.  This includes surgeon’s fee, anesthesia fee and facility fee.

Time of treatment for Neck Liposuction:  Requires an initial consultation which takes 30 – 45 minutes.  Actual surgery takes about one hour.

Pain:  During liposuction, pain is zero (that’s what the anesthesiologist is for!).  Pain after liposuction is mild.  Most patients are off their prescription pain meds in a day or two.

Limitation of Neck Liposuction:  Liposuction can be done on the entire neck and if indicated, the jowl area.

Recovery from Neck Liposuction:  Patients look better the next day despite some bruising and swelling.  Patients wear a neck strap for about one week.  It’s okay to go without the neck strap for a quick trip to the store or a shower.  Most patients have some firmness in the treated area that feels funny but does not look funny.  This is usually completely gone after about 3 months.

Longevity of Neck Liposuction result: The fat cells that were destroyed will not return.  The aging process will continue.

Check out these neck liposuction before and after photos.

For the non-surgeon, Kybella offers a treatment for fatty necks.  For this plastic surgeon, liposuction is faster and sometimes less expensive.

Sooooo……….. patients with just a teeny tiny bit of excess fat – think a pat of butter- Kybella is probably the way to go.  For patient’s with more extensive fat, liposuction is likely offer a faster treatment and faster overall recovery and may even cost less than multiple Kybella treatments.

If I think a patient would best be served with Kybella, I will refer them to a cosmetic dermatologist who uses it.