If you've ever accidentally opened your phone's front-facing camera and caught a glimpse of bunched-up neck fat, you'll understand the horror of that we speak. It's confronting and, quite frankly, an unexpectedly shattering blow to the ego. Rather than furiously trying to press the reverse camera button, settle your racing mind and face the truth.
Here's the thing; double chins exist. For some, it's a result of weight gain while for others, fatty deposits around the neck are either genetic or a medical condition. There are countless how-to's and tutorials for neck massages and exercises that claim to get rid of double chins. Who remembers their grandmother instructing them to flick their hands up-under-and-out from their neck to tighten the area ? Sorry to say, none of them cut the mustard.
Surgical options, such as liposuction and other invasive procedures, are able to help this stubborn fat disappear. However, this option is only really viable for people with the time and money to invest in a clinical procedure and comes with post-surgery downtime. Hardly compatible with the daily diaries of most busy modern women.
A less invasive treatment with quick results has recently arrived in Australia: fat reduction injections – commonly known as double chin or neck fat injections.
What exactly are double-chin injections?
The treatment uses deoxycholic acid, a naturally occurring substance in the body, (or its synthetic version), to aid in breaking down fat. The molecule is also known as cholanoic acid, and comes under brand names such as Kybella and Belkyra. The treatment was formally cleared for use in 2014 across Europe, the USA, and just last year in Australia. It is an effective, non-surgical and permanent injectable treatment that specifically targets fat removal in the neck.
What is Kybella and how does it actually melt fat in your chin?
During each session, patients receive multiple fat melting injections in problem areas around the chin and neck. The number of injections and sessions required depends on the severity of the problem. Patients can see drastic changes in as little as two to four treatments.
Now you're probably wondering what active ingredient do all the hard work in Kybella injections. It is a synthetic version of deoxycholic acid that mimics the naturally produced molecule to help absorb and destroy fat. It's similar to how fatty food is broken down in the stomach with bile. Except in the case of chin fat, the deoxycholic acid breaks down concentrated areas of fat while triggering the body's natural response to repair itself and create more collagen. This process provides a noticeable decrease in fat accumulation under the skin, producing a more defined look.
As good as this sounds (and looks) for those with a double chin, it's important to remember that these injections are not a remedy for sagging, ageing skin. The injections are used to break down fat and have not been proven to tighten the skin.
How long does Kybella last?
Commitment is required as your patience will be put to the test. Treatments do not have immediate results and it will take about six weeks before you'll start seeing changes. That's not too bad considering how long these treatments last; since the treatment attaches to and then dissolves fat cells, the effects of Kybella injections are permanent once you have reached your desired look. Sounds amazing, right? Those pouchy chin bags gone for good.
Where can I get Kybella injections and how much do these double chin injections cost?
The treatments don't come cheap with prices starting from $999 per treatment. A number of clinics currently offer fat dissolving injections, but here are a few to give you an idea of what to expect in terms of cost and inclusions:
1) Shape Clinic – Darlinghurst NSW
Cost: Roughly $2,400 for 2 sessions
30 minute treatment with complimentary dermal fillers to accentuate or strengthen jawlines.
2) Taylor Clinic – Bella Vista NSW
Cost: Around $999–1,100 per treatment
3) Dr. Jeremy Hunt–Sydney & Wollongong NSW
Cost: About $1200 – 1800 each session.
Includes a 20-minute treatment
4) Australian Laser & Skin Clinics – Melbourne VIC
Cost: Prices start from $1250 per treatment
Includes a 20 – 30 minute treatment
5) Skin Revision – Brisbane
Cost: Prices from $1320 – 2530 for 2 treatments
Includes 30-minute treatments
Can the treatment be used in other parts of the body?
At the moment, these injections are strictly used for double chins. Although it is not hard to see that muffin top injections or back fat injections could be something to expect in the future.
How safe are these injections?
Like every other treatment, each has its safety precautions and side effects. While the proper authorities such as the TGA in Australia have approved it, evidence-based research into institutions providing the service and training provided by clinics is needed. It's important to know that nurses can't administer these shots. They must be administered by a doctor.
While these injections have fewer risks than surgery under anaesthetic, there are still risks, especially if performed by an untrained practitioner. The neck has many nerve endings, and each injection must be carefully mapped to avoid nerve damage and temporary numbness. Common side effects of the treatment include swelling, minor bruising, hair loss in the treated area, open sores and difficulty swallowing for about 3 -5 days. Each treatment goes for about 20–60 minutes. Despite the short down time and quick treatment time, this is not a procedure you squeeze in between meetings. You'll need to ice the area and avoid strenuous activity for a few days.
While these injections have proved effective, it's worth remembering that not every cosmetic surgeon recommends it. Some surgeons find the results of these injections to be unpredictable, and since the fat dissolving is permanent, could result in more fat being melted off than expected. In the US, clinical trials also found that out of 5,000 patients, roughly 4% of them found the injections resulted in wonky, lopsided smiles as a result of treatment. The imbalance was caused by injections being administered too close to the nerve responsible for facial expressions.
Some clinics advise against Kybella or Belkyra treatments and recommend CoolSculpting. This alternative treatment has the benefit of zero downtime and its results are highly predictable. Maybe if you've got a needle phobia, this is the trick for you!
CoolSculpting is available at:
And don't forget the good old tactic of diet and exercise.