FAQ: Kybella

Dr. Rodwell was the first facial plastic surgeon in Charleston chosen to offer Kybella.

Trust your face to a specialist.

  1. What is Kybella?Kybella charleston

Kybella is a brand new non-surgical option for treating double chin fat. It is the first and only FDA-approved treatment available and involves a series of injections to dissolve the fat over time.  This is a great option for younger patients with good skin elasticity who desire improvement with less downtime.

Kybella is the brand name of deoxycholic acid, which is a naturally occurring molecule in our bodies that aids in metabolizing fat.

  1. What areas can be treated with Kybella?

Kybella is designed for reducing submental fat. That is the fatty area that people often call a “double chin” in the middle of the neck just below the chin.


kybella double chin Charleston

Real results after only 2 treatments with Dr. Rodwell


  1. Are there any off-label uses for Kybella? If so, are they safe?

Kybella is only approved for use in the sub mental area under the chin. Much of the excess fat in this area is located just under the skin, and that is the target for Kybella injections.

Some of the deeper fat layers in the neck (under the muscle) are not approved for Kybella injections.  There are also nerves, glands, and blood vessels that must be avoided.  These are some of the many reasons that Kybella injections should only be performed by an expert who has proper training and completely understands the anatomy of the neck.

kybella injection

There is a lot of buzz about the potential to use this product to dissolve fat elsewhere in the body. While that might eventually happen, we currently do not have any investigations that have looked into the safety of trying to use it off label in other places.

  1. Kybella vs. liposuction for double chin? Which would you recommend and what is the difference?

These are both very effective options. Kybella injections and liposuction are both perfect for the exact same type of patient – the type of person who has stubborn fat causing a double chin that will just not go away. Good candidates also need to have enough youthful skin elasticity to allow the skin to shrink and tighten after the fat is removed. Older patients with excess loose skin and muscle are better candidates for a necklift and/or facelift.

Kybella is not perfect for everyone, and that is why you should trust the opinion of an expert who fully understands all of the options (including surgery) that are available to you and most appropriate for your specific situation.

The advantage of neck liposuction is that it is a one-time procedure. However, the recovery is longer since it involves surgery. Kybella injections are the perfect option for a minimal downtime non-surgical procedure for patients who do not like the idea of surgery or want something quick yet effective that fits their busy lifestyle.

You can CLICK HERE to learn more about neck liposuction.

  1. Are Kybella injections painful?

There is minimal discomfort.  Dr. Rodwell does his injections a little bit differently than some other doctors in an effort to make it easier for you.  A topical numbing cream is applied to the skin prior to starting the procedure, and lidocaine numbing injections are also used after the numbing cream has taken effect.

kybella charleston sc

Kybella involves a series of injections using a very small needle. This is similar to what patients experience with Botox. The only difference with Kybella is a mild burning and stinging sensation that some patients might notice. Most people hold a cold gel pack or ice against the skin for a few minutes after the injections, which helps to minimize any discomfort.

  1. How long is a Kybella treatment?

Treatments are very quick and can be performed within about 30 minutes. Our preference is to start by applying a topical numbing cream that stays on the skin for 15-20 minutes. After that, the injections take only a few minutes, and patients are ready to walk out of the office.

  1. What is recovery like for Kybella injections?

The most common side effect is some swelling for a few days. This happens with all patients and mostly resolves over 2 or 3 days but can take another week or two to gradually subside. There can be some mild bruising, and occasionally patients notice a mild tingling sensation or partial numbness for a few days.  In some cases the mild numbness sensation can last for a few weeks, but everything will go back to feeling completely normal.

More serious side effects have been reported, but they are rare when the treatment is performed properly. It is best to avoid any strenuous activity or exercise for a day or two. For patients who are concerned with swelling they can elevate their head using an extra pillow at night. Otherwise, there are no other significant restrictions.

  1. How long do results from Kybella injections last?

The great thing about Kybella is that it is permanent!

Results last forever because the fat cells that are dissolved are destroyed and no longer able to store excess fat. Kybella is a brand new product, but there have been good results over the past 3 to 4 years during the clinical trials showing that the results do hold up well long term.

  1. What do I do if I gain weight after using Kybella?

If you do gain weight after Kybella treatments there is no need to worry. In the clinical trials, all patients had their weight monitored very closely. There were many patients who maintained good results despite actually gaining weight overall with increased BMI.

kybella weight gain

Kybella results despite GAINING over 10 pounds

  1. How many Kybella treatments do I need to see results, and how much does it cost?

In Dr. Rodwell’s experience, patients who are good candidates for the procedure usually get great results with just 2 or 3 treatments.  The average cost is typically in the range of $1200 to $1500 per treatment session.

Treatments are spaced at least 4 weeks apart, but in Dr. Rodwell’s experience they should be spaced closer to 6 weeks between each treatment for the best results.

You may hear that some patients could possibly need up to 5 or 6 total treatments, but those patients are usually much better candidates for a surgical procedure — another reason to consult with an expert to find out the best option specifically for you!

Learn more on our Kybella page


Dr. David Rodwell specializes in facial cosmetic surgery and non-surgical procedures including Kybella.  To learn more about your options and what to expect after these treatments call our office at (843) 628-1415 to schedule a private consultation.