Injectable Deoxycholic Acid

Before (left) and after (right) Kybella treatment.

Photo courtesy of Adam Rotunda, MD

Injectable Deoxycholic Acid

What is injectable deoxycholic acid?

As time passes on, many patients find they have increased levels of fatty tissue under their chin creating the appearance of a “double chin”. This is known as submental fullness and is common in men, women, and all races and ethnicities. Some patients find their submental fullness is difficult to improve with diet and exercise and look for other options to reduce their submental fullness.

Deoxycholic acid is a bile acid, naturally found in our body, which breaks down and absorb fats in our diets. Kybella, is a commercially available injectable deoxycholic acid, is a nonsurgical, FDA approved injection used for contouring and improving the appearance of submental fullness.

First, your ASDS physician will examine your neck to determine if you are a good candidate for this treatment. Next, the area to be injected is marked on your submental skin. Topical or injection numbing medication may be used for added comfort prior to your procedure. Small amounts are then injected in a grid like fashion into the fatty tissue. Patients will need 3-6 treatment sessions for optimal correction of their submental fullness. Treatments with injectable deoxycholic acid are spaced every 4-6 weeks. The fatty tissue that is broken down by this procedure is naturally removed from the body over the next few weeks.

What should first be done before considering injectable deoxycholic acid?

First, an ASDS dermatologist will review the patient’s medical history and examine the condition to be treated. Areas to be treated should be kept clean. If there is a skin infection, then treatment needs to be postponed until it resolves. Patients who take blood thinners (such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and certain herbal medications) should stop them two weeks prior to injection with the approval of their prescribing doctor.

Injectable Deoxycholic Acid

Before (left) and after (right) Kybella treatment.

Photo courtesy of Adam Rotunda, MD

Where is injectable deoxycholic acid appropriate?

DA can be used to treat:

  • Submental fullness

Who is not a candidate for injectable deoxycholic acid?

DA is not recommended for patients who have:

  • Current infection in the treatment area
  • Blood-clotting problems
  • Swallowing difficulties
  • An allergy to the any of the product ingredients
  • Patients whom are pregnant or breast-feeding

Is injectable deoxycholic acid painful?

Topical numbing agents and/or anesthetic injections are often applied to improve comfort. Before and following treatment, ice may be given to ease discomfort and swelling. Over the counter pain reducers such as acetaminophen can be used to improve comfort as well.

What are the complications or potential side effects of injectable deoxycholic acid?

Common side effects include:

  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Bleeding
  • Hardness
  • Numbness

Uncommon side effects include:

  • Allergic reactions
  • Facial Weakness or uneven smile
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Infection
  • Inflammatory rea

What can I expect after having had injectable deoxycholic acid?

Patients will experience swelling after their procedure. The most noticeable swelling can last from 5-14 days, but small areas of swelling may persist for 4-6 weeks. Most patients will begin to notice improvement of their submental fullness 4-6 weeks after their first treatment, but for optimal results 3-6 treatments are needed.