How to Get Rid of Neck Fat


Fat underneath the chin and jaw is a big problem in 60% of Americans, according to one survey. (I think the “selfie” has contributed to the awareness of our neck fat.) Currently, liposuction is the main method for removing neck fat. (If excess skin is part of the neck deformity then a face lift will work better.)

Recently, the FDA approved Kybella a liquid injectable for dissolving fat below the jaw. Kybella is made by Kythera Biopharmaceuticals. (

Kybella (deoxycholic acid) is made from a substance which can be found in our gallbladder. Deoxycholic acid ( is one of several bile salts stored in the gallbladder. The gallbladder squirts bile into the intestines to breakup fat globules that we eat. The fat can then be broken down by enzymes, then
absorbed. (I’m sure we are all happy about that, lol)

Kybella, when injected into fatty tissue dissolves the fat cells and releases fat. The fat eventually ends up somewhere else. It’s not that big of a deal. In relative terms its a small amount so it won’t appear to end up somewhere else.

Once the cells break down, the liquid fat end up in the surrounding tissue. This is both good and bad. The good part is that fat leaves the area eventually, the bad news is that liquid fat, outside of the dead cell, is very very irritating to the surrounding tissues. This means you can expect swelling, firmness and discomfort in the region for at least a week, if not
more. You can also expect bruising. Eventually all of this resolves.

How effective is one treatment? One treatment of Kybella will not be effective in most people. The studies, with over 2000 patients, report that two to four treatments are needed. Some patients will need up to 6 separate injection sessions. 20% have a poor response. Each session take about 20 to 30 minutes. Sessions are performed sequentially ever 6 weeks until results are satisfactory. (You can space them out further without any problems if you wish.)

Although Kybella is an advancement in neck contouring for those patients with moderate to severe fat collections. ( I’m not sure what the criterias are for “moderate to severe” deformity is at present.) This medical treatment is not without potential risk. In the studies some patients had nerve damage which cause some lip distortions and some had problem swallowing. Fortunately, most of the problems resolved in 6 week but some patient had the problems last up to 9 months. These complications could be found in up to 4 percent of patient. Another worry I have is, if the patient needed a facelift in the future, would the neck area have a great deal of scar tissue. Scar tissue will make the surgery much harder. A great deal of inflammation is caused as a result of the Kybella and scar tissue would not surprise me. We won’t know the answer to this question for a long time.

I’ve been asked if Kybella can be used to dissolve fat in other places. Currently the answer is “no”. The FDA gave approval only for neck fat. There will probably be other indication for Kybella in the future. Is Kybella available now? Currently, Kybella is not available until the fall of this year. The company is gearing up its educational programs to train physicians. The cost of the injectable has not been announced by Kythera Biopharmaceuticals so I can’t even speculate on its cost. Of course it isn’t covered by insurance since neck fat is not a medical problem.

I’m encouraged by the current studies on Kybella that it will be another great tool to correct fat collections under the jaw. You should seek out a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon who is very familiar with the facial anatomy, both above and below the skin, to assure you are a good candidate and to decrease your risk of the above complications. Smartlipo, which help tighten skin, will still be an option to consider while deciding on Kybella.

For more information, you can visit my discussion with KTBS 3 News on Kybella by clicking HERE. Also, be sure to sign up for our newsletter HERE to keep up to date on the status of Kybella and many other cosmetic procedures as well as our office’s Special Sales and Discount Programs.

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