Plastic Surgery 101

FDA approves new injection to get rid of double chins

Before and after: Photos of a woman who was injected with Kybella, which was approved by the Food and Drug Administration last week. Its manufacturer, Kythera Biopharmaceuticals, says the produce is made of deoxycholic acid, a substance the company says dissolves fat under the chin.
Before and after: Photos of a woman who was injected with Kybella, which was approved by the Food and Drug Administration last week. Its manufacturer, Kythera Biopharmaceuticals, says the produce is made of deoxycholic acid, a substance the company says dissolves fat under the chin.

Q. I just heard that there are some shots that were just approved by the FDA to get rid of a fat neck and double chins. Does this really work?

A. It’s true! The Food and Drug Administration just approved Kybella, an injection, according to the FDA, that is “for improvement in the appearance of moderate to severe convexity or fullness associated with submental fat in adults.” Basically, that means an adult who has a fatty neck can get injected with Kybella, or deoxycholic acid, a substance that the company says dissolves fat under the chin.

This is great news for patients who do not want surgery. While this sounds fantastic, and it probably is for some patients, my antenna always goes up and says buyer beware. It appears that Kybella’s manufacturer, Kythera Biopharmaceuticals, will initially train dermatologists, facial plastic surgeons and plastic surgeons. The company is also planning a slow rollout so that doctors may be trained effectively.

In the original studies, patients were noted to have some redness, swelling and hardness at the injection site, which eventually went away. Naturally, this product will not be for everybody. Patients will have to have good or moderate skin tone so that after the fat is dissolved, the skin may retract.

Because this is a new product, physicians will have to gain some experience using it. The procedure will not be perfected until doctors understand what this product can and cannot do. While this is good news, anybody interested in doing these injections should be cautious and should ask their physician what their training was and what their expectation should be.

Dr. Carlos Wolf is a partner in Miami Plastic Surgery and is board certified. Email your questions to him at Cwolf@miamiplasticsurgery.com.

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