If you have a double chin, you’ve probably seen a lot of gimmicks and gadgets over the years that promise to remove or reduce your chin fat.

Perhaps you’ve tried some of those gimmicks, from the chin wrap to chin exercises, but never got the results you had hoped for.

While for years the best way to eliminate a double chin that didn’t respond to diet or exercise was with liposuction or a neck lift, a new treatment has recently received approval from the FDA. While it won’t be on the market until 2015, the treatment can offer hope to people embarrassed by excess chin fat.

The Treatment

After a series of 19 clinical studies, the FDA has approved the injectable Kybella for use on moderate to severe amounts of fat beneath the chin. The active ingredient in Kybella is deoxycholic acid, which is also naturally found in the body. In the body, the acid plays a part in the absorption of fat cells. When injected into the treatment area, deoxycholic acid destroys the fat cells by destroying the cells’ outer membranes.

The injection is so far only approved for use in the chine, or submental, area, and the FDA cautions against its use to dissolve fat in other parts of the body. Treatments with Kybella can involve up to 50 injections at a time and people can receive anywhere from two to six treatments, spaced over the course of one a month.

There were two major clinical trials conducted on more than 1,000 patients. The participating patients were either given injections of Kybella or a placebo for as many as six treatments. Patients who received Kybella showed the greatest decrease in fat beneath the chin.

Not a Perfect Solution…

While Kybella injections can offer patients a way to reduce fat beneath the chin without undergoing surgery, they aren’t a perfect solution. As with any medical procedure or treatment, there are some side effects. The most common side effects were bruising and swelling, which usually faded after about 72 hours. People with the largest amounts of submental fat tended to have the highest amount of swelling.

Additionally, the injections will only work on fat, or should only be used to dissolve fat deposits. Kybella can also destroy skin cells and the FDA warns against injecting it into the skin. People who have extra fat and loose skin in the chin and neck area might benefit most from the injections, followed by a procedure such as a neck lift, to tone and tighten the neck area, removing the turkey wattle and making the neck look more youthful.

The injections aren’t yet available on the market. As with any type of injection, surgeons will need to be trained on the proper way to perform and administer the treatment, to provide patients with the best results. Proper training is also a must to make sure any long term, serious injury doesn’t occur. One of the biggest risks of Kybella is nerve damage, which can occur if the injection isn’t properly administered. The nerve damage can lead to uneven smiles or difficulty swallowing.

In the Meantime…

If you have a double chin now and would rather deal with it sooner, rather than waiting for Kybella injections to appear on the market, you have options. Neck liposuction can effectively reduce the size of your double chin by removing extra fat from the area.

Liposuction of the neck area is generally a quick procedure and is often completed in an hour or less, making it a shorter overall procedure than the injections will be. The surgery can also be combined with another surgery, such as a neck lift or chin implant to further improve the shape of the neck and chin area.

Some recovery time is needed after liposuction, but it is usually no longer than a few days. It’s common for people to be given a sling to wear around and under their chin after the procedure, to help improve the contour of their neck.

Whether you want to wait for Kybella to come on the market or are interested in pursuing neck liposuction, with or without a neck lift, a double chin doesn’t have to part of your life. In the Virginia Beach area, facial plastic surgeon Dr. Kyle Choe is available to discuss your neck and chin shaping options with you and to help you choose the option that best suits you. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Choe, call 757.389.5850today.