Yes, it sounds too good to be true. But it isn’t. KYBELLA® was recently approved by the FDA for the treatment of submental fullness, a.k.a. the double-chin. KYBELLA® is the first medication of its kind. It is an injectable solution that dissolves fat.

This latest technology can be added to a growing list of non-surgical treatments like BOTOX ® and fillers, which plastic surgeons have in their armamentarium for patients who want to look and feel better…but aren’t interested in “going under the knife.” KYBELLA® offers an alternative to liposuction, the most traditional way to target fat deposits in specific areas of the body.

The research behind the medication is impressive. There have been thousands of patients who participated in the clinical trials proving the efficacy in a placebo-controlled fashion. And since the FDA release, thousands more have already been eager to pursue what many have been touting as a “game-changer.”

For those wanting to know, the molecular structure of KYBELLA® is deoxycholic acid: a compound which already naturally exists in every human body. It is the first byproduct of the enzyme that your liver produces and your gallbladder releases to help break down the fat in the foods that you eat. In fact, in the clinical trials, the level of formulated drug circulating in the blood stream after a treatment session is around the same concentration as the body’s own levels that can be seen after consuming a hearty meal.

The treatment can be performed in less than an hour, and is typically very well tolerated. The treatment does require a few tiny injections with a very small needle (smaller than an insulin needle a diabetic patient uses). Some patients see significant response after one treatment, but most undergo on average a series of 2-4 treatments, with 5-6 weeks between sessions. Although the majority of patients pursuing the treatment are women looking to tighten their neck, there has been a significant proportion of men trying to obtain that ideal chiseled jawline. The best news about KYBELLA® treatments is that the reduction in fat cells is permanent, which appeals to the swarm of younger patients who have been getting the treatments. The cost of the treatment is determined by the amount of medication needed (which is based on the size of the double chin the patient needs to shrink).

KYBELLA® has shown such promise that its manufacturer Kythera, a small biotech startup company, was purchased within months of KYBELLA®’s FDA approval by the global pharmaceutical giant Allergan (owner of BOTOX® and many other aesthetic drugs) for 2.1 billion dollars. Certainly this speaks to the direction in which these type treatments are headed. For now, the reduction of fat is limited to the submental area. But, it may not be long before other areas of the body are indicated for targeted fat reduction…