What is Kybella from Kythera and is it the next big thing for double chins?

ATX-101, now known as Kybella is a form of deoxycholate, a chemical naturally found in our bodies but it is injected under the skin to reduce fat.  It passed FDA approval for fat reduction under the chin and offers a non-surgical option for people looking to lessen their double chins.

Is it the next big thing for fat reduction? Yes and no.

ATX-101 is a type of mesotherapy

Mesotherapy has been around since the 90’s.  It is a term used for injections of vitamins or drugs beneath the skin (the mesoderm).  Deoxycholate has been used in mesotherapy almost from the start of this field.  It’s often been combined with polidocanol to rupture fat cells and make fat bulges smaller.

The problem with non-FDA medications is that they were compounded, with varying formulas and degrees of quality control.  Now, Kythera is taking advantage of this medication by completing clinical trials and controlling the consistency of the product.

Does ATX-101 get rid of extra fat ?

Yes, but not that well.  It one of the clinical trials, there was a 65% satisfaction rate in those who were treated with ATX-101 versus less than 30% in those who received a placebo.  In other words, if you have the treatment, you’re likely to be 35% more happy than having an injection of water.

One of the problems with the treatment is that everyone who has it will experience a side effect of swelling and discomfort.  This is an expected side effect, but noticeable results usually require 3-6 treatment sessions, meaning that you would have swelling after each injection.  When compared to chin liposuction, the overall downtime is significantly more and the improvement with ATX-101 is generally less.

Why ATX-101 could be successful:

Because people want to look better without surgery.  ATX-101 offers a non-surgical treatment for a common problem, the double chin.

How ATX-101 may ultimately fail

1. It requires too many treatments with too much swelling for a “moderate” result.  Here in NYC, patients don’t want 4 separate recoveries for something that doesn’t do enough.

2. There are other options on the way for non-surgical fat reduction under the chin, like CoolSculpting that uses cold energy to remove fat and it works very well.

Why ATX-101 is good for cosmetic surgery

ATX-101 is likely to be performed mostly by non-surgeons, and by a few surgeons who want to offer patients non-surgical alternatives.  But true candidates for this treatment are young, with good skin tone, and without neck muscle banding.  This is a small subset of people who present for neck rejuvenation and contouring.

It is likely that this new product will draw more attention to neck lifting and the promise of a non-surgical treatment will get people thinking about what is possible with surgery once they have their foot in the door, so to speak.