Lipodissolve is the injection that melts double chin and a winning ticket from the genetic lottery may no longer be required for a sculpted, supermodel jawline. A shot that dissolves fat will offer people with a double chin a way to get rid of it without surgery.
In 2015, the US FDA approved Kybella, a non-surgical injectable treatment for chin and neck fat that uses deoxycholic acid, a molecule that promises to dissolve fat cells through a series of injections. There’s very little downtime, it’s noninvasive and nonsurgical, and there’s little risk. The drug is the first (and only) injectable designed to contour away the dreaded double chin. We speak to Dr Low Chai Ling, founder of SW1 Clinic to find out more about this wonder drug.
How did Kybella fat dissolving injections come about?
The origins of chemical fat-dissolving (a.k.a. mesotherapy) go back to France in the ’50s. By the ’60s, European scientists started using a compound called phosphatidylcholine to break up fat for medical reasons. After a patient experiences trauma, perhaps from a fracture, tiny globs of fat can enter the circulation. Often, they’ll end up in the lungs and can cause respiratory issues. So, scientists were using phosphatidylcholine to try and dissolve that fat. Cut to 1980s Europe, and cosmetic researchers started looking at the compound, thinking, if it can dissolve fat in the vessels maybe it can dissolve fat elsewhere. Bodybuilders began injecting themselves with “PC/DA” (a combination of phosphatidylcholine and deoxycholic acid) off-label to get rid of fat pockets for competition. In the early 2000s, researchers at UCLA discovered that the fat breakdown caused by the PC/DA compound was actually due to the deoxycholic acid—the active ingredient in Kybella. And that’s how Kybella was born.
What is Lipodissolve and how does it work?
Lipodissolve uses Kybella. It works by destroying fat cells. At SW1 Clinic, Kybella is used to reduce submental fullness (double chins).
How many rounds of treatment do you need, and what results should you expect?
It varies from patient to patient. Depending on the severity of the presenting complaint (how severe the double chin) and the desired result, patients may need anywhere from 2-4 sessions done one month apart. At SW1 Clinic, each session will take approximately 30 minutes. Photographs are taken to help us document the treatment progress before a topical numbing is carefully applied to the treatment area. A qualified doctor at SW1 Clinic will administer the tiny injections for you, you may receive anywhere from 3-8 injections per treatment area. Thereafter, a skin soothing and anti-bruise cream is applied to the area.
Although it’s not approved for saggy skin, can it help tighten it?
This is one area where experts don’t agree. It doesn’t tighten your skin. It is there to melt though some patients who received the treatment noticed a mild tightening effect. However, at SW1 Clinic, we use this to reduce the submental fat of the double chin area. To further tighten skin, skin tightening treatments such as Ulthera, or Thermage or Infinity Neck Thread Lifts can be employed to give synergistic benefits.
Before approving the drug, the FDA looked at the results of two U.S. trials that included more than 1,000 people. Those who got the drug more often saw less fat under the chin.
More than 80% of those getting the drug said they noticed some improvement in their chin fat, the company says.
Most common are bruising, swelling, pain, temporary numbness, and small, firm areas around the injection sites. A possible serious side effect is an injury to the marginal mandibular nerve, which helps control facial expressions, causing an off-balance smile. This likely happens when shots are given too close to this nerve. That is why Kybella needs to be only administered by trained injectors. In trials including more than 5,000 people, this side effect happened in 4% of patients, according to a report from the FDA advisory panel. It eventually went away in all of them.
Is there anything I should do before or after the treatment to help recovery?
Using the compression garment that we give to you will help to reduce the swelling and discomfort post-treatment. To minimize swelling and bruising, you may also get arnica and bromelain tablets from us. Do not drink alcohol or take painkillers for 48 hours before and after the injections, this will also help with your recovery process.
When will I see results?
It takes time for the fat cells to be broken down and be eliminated from your body. Most patients see visible results from a few weeks onwards. In some patients, results become more apparent in subsequent sessions (such as from the second session onwards). The good news is that once your months-long process is completed, those fat cells are not coming back. In more than 20 studies, nearly 70 percent of the thousands of patients reported physical and emotional improvement. Two U.S. trials put before the FDA showed that nearly 80 percent of those treated with Kybella noticed a reduction of their submental fat and thus had improved satisfaction about their appearance.
How long does the results last?
Since you take those fat cells away, they won’t recreate themselves. Safety studies have been done on the long-term results, and in general, between 75 and 90 percent of patients are still maintaining their response at up to five years according to the studies done.