While many people struggle with signs of aging on the face, your neck often ages just as quickly. The thin, fragile skin is susceptible to lines and wrinkles, particularly since your neck is constantly moving, bending and creasing. Another pesky neck concern is the area where your neck meets your chin. This area, known as the submental space, is prone to developing a pocket of fat that is notoriously difficult to get rid of, even with diet and exercise. Submental fat, or submental fullness, often has the undesirable result of making you appear overweight even if you aren’t. It widens the face and neck and causes a turkey-wattle effect that leaves you with an undefined jawline and a double chin.

Since this is not an area of your body that you can “tone” with exercises, removing submental fat has historically required surgeries like neck lifts or liposuction. However, recent breakthroughs in non-surgical treatments have given those with submental fat some new options. CoolSculpting, a body fat-reducing procedure, has been adapted for the submental space. Additionally, an injectable fat-eliminating treatment called Kybella was FDA-approved in 2015 and has steadily been gaining popularity.

Designed for Submental Fullness

Kybella is the only non-surgical treatment that was created specifically to treat submental fullness and reduce submental fat. The active ingredient in Kybella is called deoxycholic acid; it is a substance that naturally occurs in the body and is used to break down dietary fats for digestion and nutrient absorption. When injected into the submental area, it similarly breaks down fat cells without affecting other cells in the region. Since this is a relatively fragile area of the body, it is particularly susceptible to scarring, bruising and swelling. Kybella is designed to minimize negative effects by avoiding the need for invasive measures and using a highly targeted approach.

Other treatments like CoolSculpting and liposuction were initially intended to reduce fat over larger areas of the body. This also means they are less direct and require extra care to avoid side effects or overtreatment. With liposuction, for example, you have less control over how much fat is removed since it is a single surgical treatment; Kybella allows you to choose the number of treatments adequate to reduce neck fat without leaving your neck looking aged or hollow. And, CoolSculpting in this area can be more painful than in other areas of the body since there is not as much body tissue to cushion the treatment — the Kybella injection is meant to be as painless as possible even in such a sensitive area.

A Non-Invasive Alternative

Neck lifts, lower facelifts and liposuction are all viable and effective options for eliminating submental fat. However, they are surgical procedures that come with more risks and considerations. Factors like age, health and lifestyle will play a part in whether or not you are a candidate for surgery and will impact how quickly and seamlessly you heal. With surgery, you will need to take time away from work and daily activities, arrange for transportation to and from your procedure and make sure that you have help around the house during the initial stages of your recovery. In many cases, surgical options are the most direct and longest-lasting way to address cosmetic problems that are severe or varied; this is when a procedure like a neck lift or a facelift would make sense. However, if submental fat is your primary or only concern, Kybella provides an effective alternative without the complicated processes associated with scheduling surgery.

No Recovery Time

A common reason for clients to balk at the suggestion of surgery is the amount of time it can take to recover. Facelifts and neck lifts, for example, require a week or two away from work with minimal activity; not everyone can spend that much time resting and avoiding daily responsibilities. Liposuction, which is considered minimally invasive, comes with a recommendation of up to five days of bed rest. Even CoolSculpting can sometimes result in unsightly bruising and mild discomfort in the area — though you will be able to return to normal activities right away, you may find yourself wearing scarves and trying not to stretch your neck for a few days after your procedure.

The simplicity of Kybella eliminates the need for recovery time. The most common side effect you will notice is swelling in the treated area — however, it is typically not very noticeable to others and the majority of it resolves after 48 hours. You will be able to walk out of your treatments without needing someone else to drive you home. You may experience some immediate pain as the injection takes effect, but it is easily manageable with pain medication and should not inhibit your movement.

Long-Lasting Results

Since Kybella works by dissolving your submental fat on a cellular level, it is equally as effective in the long term as any other procedure. Regardless of whether you choose to surgically remove your submental fat or get rid of it with a treatment like Kybella, that fat is gone — the cells you have destroyed will not regenerate. While new fat cells can potentially emerge in the same spot, with a treatment like Kybella you are starting fresh. Your surgeon can recommend techniques to make sure new fat cells are not created below your chin.

Kybella is a direct and simple option for reducing submental fat and restoring definition to your chin, neck and jawline. Since Kybella uses a substance found naturally in the body to eliminate fat cells, your risk of an adverse reaction to the treatment is very low. It is an effective, long-lasting treatment for unwanted submental fullness — you can get the same results as a surgical procedure without the complications.

If you are interested in finding out more about Kybella, contact the Maas ClinicTM to schedule a consultation. Corey S. Maas MDTM was among the first providers to use Kybella as part of its initial research phase, and his expertise in administering this treatment is unrivaled in the San Francisco area. Call us today at 415-567-7000 to find out if Kybella is right for you.

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