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Allergan Acquires Fat Dissolving KYBELLA™

Allergan Acquires Fat Dissolving KYBELLA™

Allergan has added a new product to it’s already strong portfolio of aesthetic products. Newly FDA approved “Kybella” is taking the plastic surgery world by storm. The injections, newly purchased by Allergan in a $2.1 billion cash transaction, are performed to sculpt the jawline and dissolve fat under the chin. While submental fat has been a difficult area to treat predictably in the past, KYBELLA injections are a relatively new treatment that may work for the “right patient”.

By Stephan Finical, MDRobert T. Grant, MD and Paul A. Watterson, MD
The Plastic Surgery Channel

“It’s the buzz of the industry right now for injection in the submental (commonly known as the double chin area) to reduce fat,” says Dr. Stephan Finical.  The minimally invasive Kybella injections are relatively new and many surgeons are waiting to find out exactly how well the procedure works before investing in the product.

The American Society for Dermatologic Surgery estimates 68% of Americans are “bothered” by submental fat and double chins!

“It may not be as powerful as liposuction, and it may not be as beautiful as if you tighten muscles, removed the fat and tightened the skin,” says Charlotte Plastic Surgeon, Dr. Paul Watterson.

kybella.00_00_36_11.Still002What is KYBELLA™ ?

Kybella is the first FDA approved non-surgical injection for improvement in the appearance of moderate to severe submental fullness, commonly referred to as double-chin, in adults. Kybella is administered by a trained physician who injects the product under a patient’s chin to destroy fat cells, improving the appearance of the patient’s chin area.

“KYBELLA is a game-changing product in facial aesthetics, and builds on our leadership in the facial aesthetics market. We now can provide a broader range of market-leading aesthetics products to our customers, with KYBELLA™ joining Botox Cosmetic, Juvederm XC, Juvederm Voluma XC and Latisse,” says Brent Saunders, CEO and President of Allergan.

KYBELLA™ is deoxycholic acid. It’s the first and only FDA-approved treatment used to improve the “double chin”. When properly injected into submental fat, the drug destroys fat cells.

The fat dissolving injection is now part of a strong Allergan book of products including Botox, Juvederm and Latisse.

How does it compare to other fat removing options?

While KYBELLA™ is leading the headlines, other modern options still exist to remove fat associated with the chin, although in very different ways. CoolSculpt by Zeltiq is launching a small applicator that will be FDA approved to treat the area under the chin and should be available in the next couple of months. The mini suction based applicator is designed to target this troublesome area. Currently CoolSculpting is widely used to treat the mid section by freezing unwanted “belly fat”.


Surgery still stands as the most effective treatment, although not often the most desired with non-surgical options hitting plastic surgery practices across the nation. Liposuction is perceived by many board certified plastic surgeons as the gold standard when it comes to successfully removing fat to improve the appearance of the jawline and area under the chin, but even so, there is always the question of leaving loose skin behind.

At the hands of a board certified plastic surgeon, an assessment can be made to help the physician and patient decide whether a surgical procedure or a more non-invasive approach, like KYBELLA™ or CoolSculpt is needed to treat the chin fat.

“We look at how much fat and extra skin is involved. We may not want to use KYBELLA™ injections if the patient’s skin has lost too much elasticity,” says Robert Grant, MD.

Which Treatment is Best?

Whether you select surgery or a treatment such as KYBELLA™, it’s best to seek the advice of a board certified plastic surgeon.

KYBELLA™ may play a good role in patients who had liposuction in the past and need a touch up or maintenance type of procedure. For those with minimal fat, this may be a good alternative to liposuction. Additionally, those with good skin tone may be the best candidate,” says Dr. Grant, “Let’s not discount diet and exercise, all of these things play a role in how much fat accumulates in the chin area and how effective these treatments can be for our patients.”

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