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What Are The Side Effects of Kybella?

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    "Today I wanted to talk a little bit about Kybella. Kybella is deoxycholate approved in the last couple of months by the FDA, and it’s a drug that is injected specifically as approved into the fat in the neck and it causes the rupture of the fat cells, or dissolution of the fat, ultimately loosing that fat that's under the neck and there is a skin tightening effect as a result of the inflammation that gives contour back to the neck.

    So it's non-surgical easy way to improve neck laxity and neck fat, it’s very exciting. A lot of are asking me questions about Kybella . One of the main questions I get as a principle investigator in this study that led to it's approval, and now over 300 treatments with the drug is "What are the complications or side effects?"

    Side effects are easy, people can get swelling but in contrast to what I've seen written or talked about online, not everyone gets traumatic swelling or this bull-frog like type of swelling, that's more rare. In our experience, probably 1 in 20 patients get that at most, maybe 1 in 15 would be the highest number that I would expect to see it. Everybody gets a little bit of swelling but dramatic swelling was rare in our experience both in the study and subsequently.

    So that's the side effect that everybody could expect is swelling and I think that with the study we were unable to use any kind of compression garments. We'll be using a little chin wrap that's elastic and its got a little Velcro attachment on it that can be taken on and off. Just a little compression will really change the trajectory of that side effect to recovery.

    The other ones are on complications and there are two main ones that we think about, that were seen. I didn’t have any of these at my site but we know that they do happen from experience at other research sites for the approval.

    One is inflammation of the nerve when its injected too close to the marginal mandibular nerve which is the small nerve that runs right under the chin here, and supplies the lower lip muscles that can give you lip asymmetry if its caused inflammation or neuritis caused around the nerve.

    This is really about the doctor understanding the anatomy and avoiding that area so that there's no injection of the deoxycholate right over the nerve. Simple to do that, avoid the nerve, if the doctor understands the anatomy and is not something that we would expect to see but if one gets it, so far no one's had a permanent nerve injury or weakness, or any long term side effects. It’s always been temporary in the other sides that it reported it.

    The other important one is that when the drug is injected too superficially rather than in that fat, but in the skin, there’s a chance that the skin can have an ulcer or sore that's created there. Obviously they don’t want any kind of skin issue happening, and so again it’s up to the doctor to assure that its injected into the right place, into the fat that we're trying to treat and if it’s done that in the right place the chance of skin ulcer or sores underneath in the area that's treated are almost zero. We saw zero in our experience now, like I said over 300 treatments so I didn't expect to see any of that in the practice, obviously thinks heal but that's something we want to avoid.

    Those are the main things that we know about Kybella and our experience is pretty great, the study was very well conducted and it’s exciting now that Allergen has taken over, they will obviously do a good job on education and training for the new physicians. I'm already training physicians here in my office on its use. So it’s exciting and there's a lot of enthusiasm about it, a good non-surgical alternative to improve neck contour by removing fat and doing skin tightening with the simple injection.

    If you have any other questions don’t hesitate to contact me, reach out to or even our website and we can answer those for you.

    This is Dr. Corey Maas on Looking Your Best."