Most Common Questions About Kybella Side Effects

In October 2015, I had my first Kybella treatment.   In December 2016, I completed the series and underwent the procedure five times.  I shared before and after photos and general information about Kybella in a prior post, Does Kybella work?  There have been many comments and questions on my blog since that time so I’ve created a new post that addresses the most common questions people have asked about my experience with Kybella side effects and results.

Common Kybella side effects

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor or medical professional.  Nothing you read here should be construed as medical advice.  I am not an employee or an associate of Allergan.  This information is an account of my personal experience and you should seek medical advice if you have undergone treatment and are experiencing concerns.

Most common questions from my readers about Kybella side effects

Am I satisfied with Kybella results?  Does Kybella work?

Yes, it worked for me.   Yes, I love the results and I’d do it all over again!  I had moderate submental fat and I only expected to undergo 1 -2 treatments.   It took approximately 4 weeks after the initial treatment to observe results.  The results were profound and I could have stopped at this point but my goal was to remove as much fat as possible in the area.  I evaluated my results about 8 – 10 weeks after each treatment and decided if I wanted to pursue more. Ultimately, I underwent 5 treatments and concluded in December 2016.   Below is the photo of me before I began the treatments.  This photo was taken during a rhinoplasty consult.  It was when I saw this photo of my profile that I noticed the changes in my chin.

Kybella side effects
Before Kybella

 

Some comments were received from readers that it appeared there were other changes in later photos.  That’s because, there were!  All subsequent photos were after rhinoplasty was performed.  The rhinoplasty also had a significant effect on my overall profile.  You can read all my about rhinoplasty experience here.

Dealing with the common Kybella side effects: swelling & jiggling

Swelling is one of the most common Kybella side effects that has concerned my readers.  I want to talk to you about that for a moment, in depth.  First of all, I am not aware of anyone who didn’t experience swelling after the procedure.  It’s just something you have to be prepared for.  I have used injectables, underwent rhinoplasty, breast augmentation, and abdominoplasty so I am a seasoned veteran when it comes to swelling.   Every cosmetic procedure I’ve done, including Botox and Juvederm have resulted in some temporary swelling and each time it’s different.   In the photos below, you will notice some swelling around my mouth and this is from Juvederm that I had injected the same day.

Despite all the photos you look at and YouTube videos you watch, it’s very hard to be prepared.  Swelling can often make a condition appear worse than before you started.  This is one of those side effects that can lead to serious concerns, upsetting emotions, regret, and doubt.  You have to continuously remind yourself swelling is a temporary side effect and it’s expected.  In my experience, it has always lasted longer than I expected it to and with each procedure the swelling can vary.

Swelling experienced from Kybella
Front view – Kybella swelling (Day 2 after treatment #5) – Swelling  around my mouth  is from Juvederm.

 

Kybella side effects swelling
Left profile – Kybella swelling (Day 2 after treatment #5)

 

Most common Kybella side effects
Right profile – Kybella swelling (Day 2 after treatment #5) – This side looks worse.  The red lines you see are from the compression strap I was wearing to keep the swelling down.

 

These photos were taken after the fifth Kybella treatment.  The swelling after after the first and second treatments was much worse for me.  Not that I’m downgrading this swelling, as you can see, it’s quite swollen.  Having undergone the procedure several times, this swelling didn’t concern me.   While it looks terrible, I know it will improve with each day.

The jiggly feeling that lingers for a few days after Kybella has also been a concern and a lot of people have asked me about it.  I did experience that the first three times I underwent the procedure.  By the fourth and fifth time, I don’t think enough of the product was used or needed to result in the area feeling jiggly.  For me, the jiggly feeling (that sounds so funny) resolved within the first week.  The area that was injected underwent quite a few changes from being jiggly, then stiff, and ultimately numb.  After several weeks, the feeling in the area completely returned to normal.

The below photos were taken two weeks after the fifth treatment.  There is still minor swelling, although it has improved and not likely to be noticed by anyone but me.  Sorry, the lighting is not the greatest.  You can see the contour has returned to my chin and it looks quite different than it did the day after I had the procedure.  Notice the minor swelling from the Juvederm around my lips is still apparent.  Sometimes Juvederm swelling disappears for me within a couple of days and other times it takes a couple of weeks (especially if it’s an area that’s never been injected before).  Ultimately, the swelling always resolves.

Kybella side effects
Kybella swelling –  (Day 14 after treatment #5)
Kybella swelling and side effects
Kybella swelling – (Day 14  after treatment #5)
Kybella experience
Kybella swelling – (Day 14 after treatment #5)

A few pointers if you feel insecure about the swelling:

  • Buy fashionable scarves and drape them around your neck.  Light weight scarves are in style and can be worn all year.  This is a great trick to hide the swelling in your neck area.
  • Continue to ice the area at the recommended intervals to help reduce the swelling. People tend to slack on using the ice.  Don’t slack.  Keep up with the recommended icing schedule from your doctor.
  • Get some turtlenecks.  Even in hot weather, sleeveless turtlenecks can be worn and look adorable with skirts and slacks.  I have several colors and feel more confident when I wear the turtlenecks or scarves during the days I was noticeably swollen.
  • Talk to yourself in the mirror.  Notice you are looking back at your eyes, not down at your neck.  In addition, it is unlikely anyone will be staring at your profile long enough to observe swelling.  Keep reminding yourself even though you are aware it’s there, usually, others are not.  Don’t point it out and people probably won’t notice it.
  • Some medical practitioners suggest taking antihistamines before and after Kybella or other injectables to help reduce swelling.  I took diphenhydramine (Benadryl).  I don’t think it made a difference but it was worth trying.  This is something you can ask your doctor about and whether or not it’s an appropriate and safe option for you.
Kybella treatment
4 weeks after Kybella treatment #4

What was the swelling like after the first Kybella treatment?

With the initial treatment, swelling was profound and I experienced bruising.   I was prepared for it but I was still embarrassed at the fact that my neck looked like a tree trunk. The last thing you want someone asking is “What did you do to yourself?”  The thought of that question is totally humiliating.  I took a week off work with the intention of hiding in my home while I waited for swelling to subside.  However, the swelling lasted about four weeks with the initial treatment (at least what I’d consider noticeable swelling) and bruising appeared the second day.  The bruising disappeared after a week.  Some people swell more than others and everyone’s body responds differently.  I don’t believe anyone can predict if swelling will subside in seven days or two weeks.  Be prepared and remember swelling is temporary.  If you have an important event coming up, take that into consideration and don’t cut it too close.  If it was me, I’d have the procedure done six weeks prior to an event.

After the initial treatment, the area was jiggly for several days and I wore a chin compression strap.  The strap kept the swelling down and applied pressure which made me more comfortable because the area injected was tender.   Swelling extended from my chin to the back of my jaw and down the front of my neck.  It was about twice the volume you see in the photos above after the fifth treatment.  So, it was pretty swollen!  After the first few days, the area was not jiggly anymore but it felt firm and hard.  I returned to work after being home a week and no one noticed the swelling.  It was still quite apparent to me.  However, other people never noticed anything.

Was there swelling with subsequent treatments or when fat in the area was minimal?

Yes, there was always swelling with each treatment.   My experience with Kybella was the less fat in the area to treat, the less I swelled.   However, even with the final treatment when I was targeting a small residual pocket, you can see how much I swelled and it lasted a couple of weeks.  Again, did anyone else notice the minor swelling?  Nope.  Just me.  The tricks to hide swelling work like a charm.

Did I notice any other side effects?

Yes, I noticed the injected area became hard about a week after each treatment.  As I write this, I am approximately 10 days out from the 5th treatment and it is still hard.   It’s not painful but if I press on it, it’s still a bit sore.  Following the hardness, the area becomes numb and this lasts a few weeks with me.  In every case, the normal feeling came back to the area and numbness was just a temporary Kybella side effect.  There was also redness a few days following the injections.  With each treatment, all side effects eventually subsided and the area felt completely normal.  The side effects I experienced were documented by Allergan as the most common that people experience.

Was I concerned about hanging skin?

No, this was not a concern for me.  However, there are reports out there on the web that people have been left with loose skin.  This is something that needs to be discussed with your doctor before you start the Kybella treatment.  My mother was interested in Kybella and could have easily been sold and pursued multiple treatments to resolve her issue.  However, a good nurse or doctor can assess the severity of the fat to be treated and other factors, including age, and tell you if hanging skin would be a risk.   My mother was not an ideal candidate for Kybella.  The real solution for her was a neck lift or face lift based on her skin laxity and age.  These are things that should be discussed before treatment to avoid disappointments.

You have to be assessed properly and willing to listen and accept if you are a candidate or not for any procedure.  You will always find someone who will do a procedure if you pay them.  You must see reputable, experienced, honest professionals who can and will properly assess your individual situation to minimize risks.

Was I concerned I didn’t see immediate results?

No, and I didn’t expect to see immediate results.  In my conversations with my practitioner, the expectation of swelling was not downgraded and I wasn’t promised it would be gone in a week.  I expected the swelling to be bad.   My results were masked by the swelling I experienced and it wasn’t until about four weeks that I noticed a difference.  Also, I was aware in clinical trails up to 6 treatments were given.  I went into the process accepting I may need more than a single treatment to achieve my desired results and there was no way to know for sure until I knew how my body would respond.

No one can predict exactly how your body will respond and the process does take time.  While two or three weeks may seem like forever, you really need to give the process more time before you evaluate the results.  If after six to eight weeks, the results fall short of your expectations, request your records and get a second opinion.  Ask your existing practitioner questions and discuss your concerns.  And definitely don’t hesitate to call and ask your doctor or nurse questions if anything is bothering you.  The internet is not the best place to get answers and the best thing to put your mind at ease is to speak with a specialist.  No question is insignificant if it’s worrying you.

How did I choose my practitioner?

I don’t want a deal or a special when it comes to any cosmetic procedures.  I want a deal when I’m buying a new car.  If a clinic is advertising specials on the radio or billboards, I stay as far as away as possible.  If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.  I cannot stress this point enough: You must know who is treating you and what their credentials are.  The title of doctor or nurse is not enough when it comes to cosmetics.  They must be reputable, experienced, and a specialist in the field of cosmetics.

I don’t get Botox at the hair salon, a medical spa, the dentist, or my general practitioners office (yes, it’s available at all these places and a lot cheaper!)  I choose to see one of the most reputable surgeons in the Phoenix metropolitan area and the nurse injector in his office is a master injector.   She trains other practitioners and has many years of experience.  Are the injectables more costly?  Yes, they are.  However, this is one of the strategies I have chosen to use to avoid disappointments and some of the horror stories you may read from people on the Internet.  Does it guarantee success?  Of course not, there are risks with everything we do.  You are at risk every time you get in the car and trust all the other drivers on the road.  The important thing is to consider everything you can do to minimize risk and choosing your practitioner carefully is some of the best advice I can offer.


I hope this information helps put your mind at ease about Kybella side effects and is useful in helping you make decisions about the procedure.  If you have access to a reputable practitioner, I would highly recommend the procedure.  I am very happy with my results and eager for the injections to be approved for use in other areas.

There is a lot of information about Kybella on Allergan’s Kybella site and if you haven’t visited, definitely have a look.  They have added a lot of new information for consumers which is very useful.

Please share your experiences or post any questions you may have  about the Kybella side effects I experienced.  I will always respond within a day!  Happy New Year!

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19 thoughts on “Most Common Questions About Kybella Side Effects

  1. You look great! I had my first treatment 19 days ago and I’m feeling depressed about it. I didn’t have a huge problem to start and now my chin is double the size it use to be. I am a thin person and my face doesn’t match my level of fitness now. I went to a licensed plastic surgeon that I have been going to for years for botox. After the injections I noticed my smile changing. I started to look like I had bell’s palsy. While it’s gotten better since the first week, my smile is still lopsided. I am so disappointed and scared I have made a terrible decision. I’m hoping it gets better at some point but for now Kybella has changed my profile for the worse.

    1. It hasn’t even been 3 weeks, so don’t panic. With my first treatment, it took about 4 weeks for the swelling to subside. Even then, there was still swelling but only I could see it. In some people, swelling just lasts longer and if you are really thin, maybe it might be more noticeable until it completely settles. I really do think you will see improvement between 4-6 weeks. I’ve had a lot of different things done from Kybella to Rhinoplasty and chemical peels… on and on. And I always get upset when swelling persists but eventually it subsides. I recently did a chemical peel under my eyes and practically shit myself when it was swollen for nearly 3 weeks!

      You could always go back for a check up or see someone for a second opinion. A doctor could quickly determine if you still have swelling and they might be able to give you something to help it go down more quickly. When I have had really persistent swelling, not with Kybella, but with other things… they have used Kenalog injections or Prednisone. I don’t know if the latter is effective for residual swelling but you could ask. If you notice the area still feels a bit numb or hard? The side effects are still there and you are probably still swollen. But don’t be afraid to call the doctor and go in and have him/her look at it. That’s their job and they shouldn’t charge you to come either.

      It will give you peace at mind.

  2. I have had Kybella three times now over 5 months and it is the best money I ever spent on myself. I think I will need 6 treatments by the time it is all over due to being overweight and genetics that made my neck nearly as thick as my head. People think I lost weight or think that I must be responding to my year old marriage (at 56, I did it! The actual best thing I ever did. And I double love my husband for thinking I was beautiful before I did Kybella.) While my doctor’s office declares that never would they promise my results, I can report to all that not only do I look better, but I can breath significantly better and hubby says my snoring is ameliorated. I like my pictures for the first time in decades. They say I have responded better than anyone else they have seen and I am inclined to believe that due to a personal connection to the practice as well as seeing for myself that my head is now bigger than my neck. I will have dangling skin, but I am going to try the internal heat treatments first to see if that will tighten enough to suit me, and if that is not enough, I will go ahead and get a lower face lift.

    1. Congratulations! That’s such wonderful news! I definitely agree it is a huge self-confidence booster and it feels great to look in the mirror and love seeing the difference! Best wishes to you with the next steps in your treatment plan. It sounds like your doctor really has a wonderful and well thought out plan for you and that makes such a huge difference in the results! Thank you for stopping in! Best wishes to you always!

  3. Thank you so much for the detailed information! Had my first treatment yesterday and I was researching the best way to deal with the swelling when I came across your blog. It was so wonderful and reassuring to read positive information from a real person. Your blog made me feel so much more comfortable with my decision. Thank you again for taking the time to share with us!

    1. Oh I’m so glad you found it helpful! I always think I’m prepared for swelling and then it happens. And it’s like OMG! What is going on? Ice helps but when you are feeling self-conscious as it can take a couple weeks to go down, get a super cute scarf… I got this adorable one at White House Black Market and I used it all the time. Just hang in there because the jiggle and the swelling will go away and then you will see a change and you’ll be ecstatic! You might even feel the area get a bit hard and/or slightly numb (that happened to me too) but eventually it all passes. =)

      And don’t forget after the first few days when it’s really plumped, it goes down and no one is going to be looking there. You will know but most people won’t notice unless you point it out. =)

  4. Thanks for the info, just has my first Kybella done testerday. I look like a bullfrog today. Icing every hour with the chin strap on.. I am a male. 54 years old. Just hoping the swelling doesn’t last too long. Pick up my 8 year old son at school and usually let him play. I’m a little paranoid of the way I look. Luckily I am retired from the NYPD doing the Mr Mom job and loving it. My Dr states I should need 2 treatments. In my eyes, I have a worst profile than u started with. You do look fabulous. So glad your happy with the treatments. Thanks for posting and addressing many of my concerns. Adam

    1. You will find the swelling goes down quite a bit in the first few days – to a point where others won’t notice but you will be aware. People rarely look at that area so even when it’s pretty swollen if you don’t tell them, they often don’t know. 😉

      I’m glad you found the post helpful! Good luck with the Kybella. You will likely see a noticeable different in a few weeks and be very excited when you do. It’s really an amazing product! Best wishes!

  5. You look great! This blog has been VERY helpful.

    I’m in day 2, post 1st treatment, and I’m wiggling it more than “a little bit.” Compared to other injectables I’ve done–no big deal. I’m definitely a bullfrog, and my teen boys are looking at me with that “WTH is going on with her chin?” face. Ha!

    I’m probably in for 3 treatments total, and as of right now, I’m not concerned with anything but the jell-o effect. Gross, but I’ll persevere.

    Thank You for sharing your story. I’ve been saying, “Yep, she (you) said that would happen” a lot.

    1. I remember my first treatment and my family was like “What did you do?” LOL
      My neck was huge! After it stops jiggling, it will get hard. But before you know it, you will be back to normal and as the swelling goes down, you will be see the changes. And then you be super excited for your next appointment. I really used to hate my profile but not anymore. We have to look worse to look better. I just did a chemical peel under my eyes and I look horrific. LOLOL

  6. Hi there thank you so much for posting this . I am in my second week post injection and having a nervous breakdown as I am still feeling a hard sensation under my chin. I was told it would be 2 weeks before I got back to my normal look then it would get better after that. Not the case I still look(to me anyway) swollen and now I am worried it won’t work as I am 55 and had like a turkey jiggle they didn’t say anything about me not being a good candidate .
    All I can say is do your homework first. Glad I read what you went through makes me feel a lot better post treatment and just hope I havnt made things worse!!! Time will tell !!

    1. Oh no! Don’t panic! I completely understand the feeling though. No matter how prepared you are and how many papers they hand you that say XYZ will happen, when it actually happens, it’s unnerving! My chin had that hard feeling with every single treatment I had and there was a bit of numbness that followed. I would say it was about 4 weeks before things were normal in my eyes but of course everyone is different. However, it all faded with time and if I had the choice given what I know to do Kybella all over again, I’d do it. My skin tightened up well but I didn’t have any loose skin in that area to start. However, if you find that you do, there are some procedures that are said to be quite effective that are not invasive. I’ve been very interested in the InMode line and I’ve heard people get great results but I haven’t tried it yet. Plus there’s Thermage and Ultherapy. There should be quite a few options if you have a minor issue to address in the end.

    1. In Scottsdale, Arizona (or Paradise Valley, AZ) – they list it both ways, I got to Daniel Shapiro Cosmetic Surgery. In his office, there is a skin clinic and the Master Injector is Pat Foley. Pat has done all injectables for me for the past 5 years. She is amazing, sets realistic expectations and completely honest. The entire office is amazing. Do you live in AZ?

      1. I do live in Arizona, east valley. I have been reading up on kybella for sometime but haven’t been convinced since all reviews seem to be scripted or unrealistic. I appreciate your honesty and straightforwardness. And it was a coincidence that you were in AZ as well!

        1. It’s very effective and it destroys the fat cells and they don’t come back but depending on how much fat you have in the area, it could be 4 or 5 sessions. They can usually give you a pretty good idea of what to expect before you determine if you want to move forward. One of the things I LOVE about Pat is… if she thinks you don’t need something or results could be better with a different route, she’ll tell you. Shapiro’s office sets very realistic expectations. I believe people can get very discouraged by the swelling and I’ve tried to really talk about that. Even though you expect it, when it happens, it’s upsetting! With any cosmetic procedure there is typically a period of time where you feel down about it or regret it and then those emotions shift. It’s very normal for that to happen to people. The photo in this post is showing the swelling after the 5th procedure so it was 3x that with the first one but in the end I felt it was well worth it. If you plan to go to Shapiro’s office (or anywhere you choose), I can always meet you there and you can take a look up close at my skin under my chin, see how it feels to the touch, etc. And you probably saw the original photo that was on the earlier post so you can compare in person. I’m happy to provide any support you need. I am in Ahwatukee and I’m out in Scottsdale all the time as I go the Skin Clinic there for all different things and none of my stuff is timed all the same.

      2. Hi, I simply can’t believe this but it’s true.
        I have an appointment with Pat Foley on March 21!
        You look absolutely Beautiful! And thank you for your website which I just found today!
        I’m 62 so I’m looking at different ways of proceeding. (I’m on a budget so I will proceed cautiously.)
        I love your site! Thank you for being candid. I didn’t know Kybella might not work for skin laxity.
        Well I’m really looking forward to meeting Pat!
        All the Best to you,
        Patricia

        1. You are going to LOVE Pat. I honestly don’t think there’s anyone better! She is so talented, knowledgeable, and honest. She’s just an all around amazing woman.

          I saw her on Friday, March 10. She fixed something that has really bothered me for a long time under my eye with some Volbella (It’s a relatively new injectable). You can ask her about me and she’ll tell you I’m super particular and notice every detail! Pat will not do Kybella if she doesn’t think you are going to get great results or she will make sure your expectations are realistic. If you aren’t a candidate for it, no one under Dr.Shapiro’s practice will do something for the money. They want happy patients. If you have some laxity you can always inquire about surgically tightening the neck area. It may not be too costly and you may not even need to go into the surgery center for it. But Pat will steer you right. I often go in and just her tell to do what I need and whatever she thinks would be best and sometimes she says “Nothing right now”. Please let me know how your appointment goes!

          You are more than welcome to see any before/after photos I have on file there. Just ask Pat or Carol to call my cell phone and I will give them permission.

Please leave a comment. I'd really love to chat with you!

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