Kybella vs. Liposuction: Which is the right option for you?


There’s a reason Nora Ephron’s book, “I Feel Bad About My Neck,” was a best-seller — it took a head-on, humorous approach to the indignities of the aging process, and what people can do to combat it (beyond wearing a turtleneck every day, that is).

One of the earliest and clearest signs of aging can be chin fat — also known as a double chin or saggy neck. And “submental fullness,” as it’s called by the medical community, may not go away even if you lead an active lifestyle and have healthy eating habits. According to the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, it affects nearly 68% of Americans, often making people self-conscious and worried that they look older or heavier than they truly are.

Until 2015, liposuction was the primary treatment used to deal with chin fat. Today, however, Kybella (deoxycholic acid) is approved by the Food and Drug Administration, giving plastic surgeons such as Dr. Tenley Lawton in Newport Beach another option to help her patients look and feel their best.

Kybella is a fat-dissolving, injectable drug used to treat a double chin — a process that doesn’t require surgery. Each treatment takes 30-45 minutes, with minimal recovery time (many patients go back to work the same day). The final cost is determined by the number of treatments needed to achieve the desired result; most patients require two or more.

Common side effects include swelling, bruising, pain, numbness and redness; in rare cases, nerve injury could occur. The long-term effects of Kybella and fat dissolving are not clear, but it may generate scar tissue, which could limit the success of future liposuction treatment.

Liposuction, the recommended course of action before Kybella came on the scene, can deliver more dramatic results. It requires surgery, including anesthesia, which presents some known risks, but the fat is removed in one sitting and treatment is customized in real time during the procedure. Recovery time is a few days. The cost typically is limited to a one-time fee, instead of rising incrementally with each treatment, as with Kybella.

If you look in the mirror and find yourself fixated on your neck, worrying that it makes you look older, contact Dr. Lawton in Orange County. She will discuss this problem area with you, walk through the pros and cons of both liposuction and Kybella and determine the ideal approach to achieve the natural, more youthful look you desire.


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