New injectable drug eliminates 'double chin'

Wednesday, August 19, 2015
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The procedure is called Kybella, after the common name of the drug that is used.

RALEIGH -- "Too good to be true." That was Drew Horton's first reaction when he heard about a new procedure that promises to get rid of a double chin (otherwise known as "submental fullness") with a series of simple shots. But, when he talked to Dr. Jeremy Pyle, a plastic surgeon at Davis and Pyle Plastic Surgery, he was assured that was exactly what he could expect to see.

The procedure is called Kybella, after the common name of the drug that is used. Also known as ATX-101, it's the first FDA-approved injectable drug that contours and improves the appearance of submental fullness due to submental fat (i.e. double chin.") Since it's so new, offices around the Triangle are just getting trained in it, and Dr. Pyle's is one of the first, locally, to roll it out.


It's similar to Botox in that it's administered via a small needle, and the number of injections varies from person to person, depending on the size of the area being treated. The whole process takes less than half an hour, including the time it takes to first mark where the doctor wants to place each shot and numb the area.

"It's deoxycholic acid, which is something your body makes. It's called a "bile salt," which means it's made in your liver and used by your liver to break down the fat that you eat," explained Dr. Pyle. "The use in this particular case is just a direct injection where the material, the medicine, is put directly where we want to kill the fat and get rid of the fat The person's body does most of the work once the product is injected, getting rid of the fat within a couple of weeks. And then it's gone forever which is one of the real advantages. It's not something that needs to be repeated."


And that's a selling point for clients who might otherwise balk at the high price. For right now the drug is sold by the vial, running $750 a piece at Pyle's office. In Horton's case he used 2 vials, and he will likely come back for another treatment, as most patients require 2-3 sessions. But, Horton said for him it was worth it.

"Being that I work in a hair salon and look down all day, I can feel the insecurities there. Looking in the mirror it's always (been) something that kind of bothered me enough to want to do something about it. I'm hoping to see just a more defined jawline, a little less, underneath the chin," Horton shared.


Dr. Pyle says Horton is actually a great candidate, because he's an otherwise very fit person with a small "problem area," which, Pyle points out, cannot simply be gotten rid of the old fashioned way.

"Diet is not a great thing for this," Pyle said. "Our genetics make it so that the fat that we've made, the fat cells a human being produces are pretty much all made by the time we're 18, and our genetics tell the body where to put those fat cells. And many people have a problem area that doesn't respond the way the rest of their body does to weight loss, diet and exercise."

For now, Kybella has only been approved for the under-chin/neck area.

"It's really useful for localized areas. So if a person can see and feel a specific area in their chin and say, 'Well, this bothers me,' then this might be a great treatment. But if someone looks across their neck and their entire neck is full and they're unhappy with their neck, then we might be talking about things like submental liposuction. Or if the problem is facial aging or skin looseness, then something like a face or neck lift may be the better option," explained Pyle.

And that's why doctors stress the need for a consultation, first, since this might not be the best option for everyone.


As for Horton, like most patients, he can expect to see results within 4 weeks, with maximum results in 8. Whether he goes back for additional treatments is up to him. But however long it takes him, he's already decided on one thing: a chin debut party with his friends.

"Kind of like a sip-and-see for a baby? But for a new chin," he says with a laughs.

For more on Davis and Pyle Plastic Surgery:

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