Article by Cristal O. Tope, FNP
Submental cutaneous fat, AKA, the double-chin, is a common condition that occurs when a pocket of fat forms beneath the chin. It can be due to weight gain, age, and/or genetics.
That’s right. You don’t have to necessarily be fat have a double chin. Why? The muscle underneath the chin the, musculous mylohyoideus, loses its spring over time, and fat forms around it, making it plump up. This type of fat doesn’t go away no matter how much diet or exercise you do.
It. Just. Stays. There.
With so many people wanting to get rid of double chins, silly-looking devices such as the neck slimmer belt mask (like Spanx for your neck), and Neckline Slimmer (you know, the infomercial device that looks like a pogostick for the chin). So aside from these frou frou devices, what else works?
One way is an FDA-approved treatment called Kybella. Kybella is made of deoxycholic acid, which is a molecule that naturally occurs in the body that helps with breaking down fat. The 20-minute treatment is a series of injections, eight weeks apart. Depending on the amount of fat, it normally takes two to six treatments. It is carefully injected and causes fat cells to die.
Yes, die. Permanently.
And once fat cells die, they do not come back (caveat: obesity is the only thing that will cause new fat cells to proliferate).
So how does this treatment feel?
While Kybella is very safe, people need to be aware that there will be swelling, sensations of burning, possible bruising, and stunned nerves that may cause feelings of numbness. People also have to be patient after receiving this treatment because it is not an immediate response. As the chemical reaction causes fat cells die, it takes time for the body to metabolize and excrete them from the body.
The Verdict: Kybella is a safe and effective alternative to traditional liposuction for and submental fat removal. As with any cosmetic treatment, always do your research, go for a consultation, and ask your healthcare practitioner about the risks and benefits.
Plast Reconstr Surg Glob Open 2016;4:e1155