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Which is Better – Kybella or Liposuction?

The popularity of selfies is one reason more people are becoming more self conscious about their “double chin.” This is due to the fat accumulation under your chin, or submental liposis (in medical jargon). You don’t have to be over weight to have this problem Pay attention to magazines, TVs, or around you, and you’ll notice many pretty, fit people will have the double chin.

Selfies have increased people’s attention to this undesirable feature, and while many filtering apps on our smart phones can adjust the image to eliminate the double chin, they don’t solve the problem and you still see the fat in your mirror. This has led many patients to seek a good solution to getting rid of the fat under your chin.

Today, there are two basic treatment options available. Kybella and submental liposuction. You may ask which is better. The answer will depend on your situation and opinion regarding surgery.

Both Kybella and liposuction remove the fat. Liposuction removes fat by sucking the fat cells out. Kybella—or deoxycholic acid—directly destroys fat cells. Neither the liposuction or Kybella itself achieves the improved neck profile you want. Rather, after fat removal, the result is based on your skin scarring back or redraping to a better profile. You have to realize this process takes about three months to develop.

This is why an in office exam with a board certified facial plastic surgeon is so important. The doctor will have to examine your neck skin to see if you’re a good candidate for either treatment. The key factor is your skin must still have elasticity present in order for the skin to redrape after the fat removal. If you skin is too loose, after fat removal, the skin will just hang loose and you won’t be happy. If your skin is too lose, than a neck lift is a better option.

Kybella Treatment

Kybella is an injectable treatment that can be done quickly in the office with no downtime. You will have significant swelling the first few days after injection, so we typically recommend doing this on a Thursday so you have the weekend to recover. Risks and complications are minor. In the FDA trials, all the complications resolved. Some common complications include swelling, redness, and pain.

You may experience some temporary numbness. Some study patients also reported trouble swallowing, but this is likely due to the swelling pushing on your throat. As I mentioned, these all resolved. There’s a risk of injury to the marginal mandibular nerve, the nerve that moves your corner of the mouth. But as long as the injector stays in the safe zone, this should not happen. A critical factor to know is you will need at least two sessions, maybe more before you get the result you’re looking for.

The protocol calls for injection sessions spaced at least two months apart. Every two months, you and your doctor will assess your results. If there is still room for improvement, then another injection is performed. Another thing to realize is the dosage will depend on the amount of fat you have. A special tattoo map is used to determine how many injection sites you need, and the number of sites dictate how many vials you need.

So, you can see the pricing of Kybella treatment is variable. Most patients will need at least two vials each session.

Submental Liposuction

Submental liposuction is, on the other hand, a surgical procedure. Either sedation or general anesthesia can be used. Small incisions are placed under your chin and behind each ear. Through these incisions, liposuction is performed. The incisions are then closed and you wear a dressing for two weeks. The down side of liposuction is it is surgery, and carries certain risks. Bleeding, infection, scarring, nerve injury, and irregularities are all potential complications.

There are real, but very rare, major complications if one is not careful. The trachea, larynx, marginal mandibular nerve , major neck blood vessels, and your lungs are some anatomical sites that the surgeon must be careful not to injure. But once the liposuction is done, there are no further treatments.

A successful liposuction will sculp your neck and give you a nicer, more youthful neck contour in three months. There are no additional liposuction sessions needed.

Benefits of Each Procedure

Since you can think of Kybella as nonsurgical liposuction, there really isn’t one treatment that is “better” than the other. As a surgeon, I favor liposuction because it is a one time treatment and achieves a great result. Kybella is probably a reasonable option for someone who absolutely doesn’t want to get any surgery, or has qualms about anesthesia. The ability to get the treatment in a simple office visit is also appealing to many patients.

If you have a medical condition that makes surgery or anesthesia risky, than Kybella may be a good option. However, the cost of Kybella can quickly add up if you need more than two sessions, and may even surpass the price of a liposuction.

Schedule a Consultation

At the end of the day, the best way to decide which is better for you is to see a board certified facial plastic or plastic surgeon. Seeing a dermatologist or other specialist is fine if you know you want Kybella only. Just make sure he or she is experienced with neck anatomy and injecting Kybella.

For more information about San Antonio liposuction surgery or Kybella, please schedule a consultation, or contact our Concierge Patient Coordinator at (210) 876-6868.