Many people of all ages struggle with excess fat beneath the chin, in what is referred to as the “submental triangle” area of the face. Fullness in this area is sometimes accompanied by sagging skin in people who are a bit older, but for many people, the extent of the issue is unwanted stubborn fat under the chin.
People are often embarrassed by their “double chin” and are anxious to improve the appearance of the area. Unfortunately, the submental triangle does not generally respond well to diet and exercise, leaving some frustrated by their efforts. The good news is that a few treatment options are available for contouring the area under the chin, including Kybella treatments and submental liposuction. But what is the difference between the two procedures, and why do the differences matter?
Kybella vs Submental Liposuction
Submental liposuction and Kybella are designed for fat removal underneath the chin, but that’s about where the similarities end. Submental liposuction is a procedure that involves physically removing the fat through small incisions, while Kybella is a new FDA-approved injectable treatment for gradually breaking down unwanted fat using deoxycholic acid injections. Let’s take a closer look at how the procedures are different.
Ideal Candidates For Each Procedure
Patients with a small or moderate amount of submental fat (double chin) and good skin quality can undergo both chin liposuction procedures and Kybella treatments.
People with skin laxity in this area may not respond well to fat reduction, which can cause a “sunken” appearance accompanied by even more slackened skin. Submentoplasty (or neck lipo) strengthens the neck muscles, while neck lift surgery removes loose skin for a more sculpted and youthful appearance.
As with any procedure, it’s important to consult with a board-certified plastic surgeon prior to choosing a procedure.
The Differences Between Them—and Why They Matter
Surgical Procedure vs. Nonsurgical
The first difference between Kybella and submental lipo, of course, is that Kybella is a convenient non-surgical injectable treatment, while liposuction requires minor surgery. While many people prefer a non-surgical injectable option, there are some valid reasons that some choose surgery instead: it requires fewer visits to the office. Kybella injections require several sessions, spaced about 6 weeks apart, and the results are obtained more quickly.
Instant vs. Gradual
Of course, there are some trade-offs to choosing a non-invasive procedure for submental fat reduction—Kybella sometimes requires 3 or more treatments spaced 6 weeks apart for good results, meaning that patients are waiting several months to see the final results. Submental liposuction does require a bit of downtime, but the results are mostly instant, except for some minor swelling that occurs following cosmetic surgery.
Anesthesia & Downtime
As a non-invasive cosmetic procedure, Kybella involves very little discomfort, and typically no anesthesia at all. In contrast, submental liposuction does require at least local anesthesia for patient safety and comfort. Kybella allows patients to return to work right away, while liposuction does involve at least minimal recovery time.
Both liposuction and Kybella carry their own risks. Submental liposuction can result in lumpy or uneven surfaces, infections, as well as complications with local anesthesia.
When not administered properly, Kybella can potentially harm tissues beyond the chin and neck area.
When patients go home after undergoing a chin liposuction treatment, they must wear a chin support dressing, which is put on for the initial week, then each night in the next week. Several patients might have discoloration and puffiness, and these dangers are reliant on the extent of reduction we are looking to accomplish. Abstain from strenuous activities for the first 7 days; in most cases, you can resume your customary exercises after that point. Normally, individuals usually get back to work the following week, though this relies heavily on individual choices and the physicality of their work.
A Kybella procedure is only the first step toward eradicating fat deposits. Following a treatment session, the neck area will be swollen, tender, and discolored for 3-5 days after the treatment. The discomfort felt usually isn’t too intense, so if handled late into the week, people can generally head back to their normal activities on Monday. Bruise complications are slightly less than with submental liposuction procedures, even though these can be seen with either approach. The healing process depends on how much has been injected and how much fat is treated; this tends to get shorter after successive procedures.
One way to choose between Kybella and liposuction is to compare costs. Generally, Kybella requires fewer costs than liposuction, like an operating room or anesthesia, as well as any pre-op testing.
When considering Kybella treatments, it’s important to remember that it’s typically offered as a two-session package. Following each session, you’ll have to visit the office for us to monitor your progress and determine if any additional rounds are needed.
It is difficult to estimate the number of sessions you will need since it depends on the amount of fat the surgeon will address. Generally, you will require six treatments. Although if you require more, the cost of Kybella is likely to be higher than that of liposuction.
Why do the Differences Between the Treatments Matter?
Defining these key differences between the treatments, we can see why they matter: they give patients a choice and provide more options for customizing treatments to suit specific needs. If you want to reduce the fat beneath your chin, only you and your surgeon can make the decision about which option is right for you.
Which Procedure is Right for You?
When you’re ready to take the next steps, you’ll need to find a reputable facial plastic surgeon to help you decide and perform your treatment. Dr. DeJoseph at Premier Image Cosmetic and Laser Surgery is a triple board-certified facial specialist with the skills and knowledge to help you reach your goals. Before settling on a procedure, Dr. DeJoseph will meet with you and discuss your goals, concerns, and candidacy to ensure you get the results you’re looking for. If you’d like to learn more about your options, call our Atlanta office today at (770) 457-6303 to schedule your consultation and find out if Kybella or submental liposuction is right for you.