CoolSculpting or Kybella?
Since the age of the selfie everyone has been hyper focusing on their facial angles. Unfortunately not all of us are naturally gifted with a sculpted angelic side profile. Has anyone ever been guilty of pretending that it just didn’t exist? Yeah? We see you. Contour? Don’t know her. The thing is that there are just so many things on the market right now for this exact issue. Neurotoxin fillers, chin lipo, maybe a good gua sha session could knock it out- you get the point. Amidst all of the other options, there are two procedures that share the top place: Kybella and CoolSculpting.
We sat down with Ricki Thompson and Kaytlyn Molina to get to the nitty gritty of it all.
Some highlights first- both are owned by Allergan (so you can rack up those Alle points with either procedure,) they both permanently remove fat, and both treatments feature little to no downtime. With each treatment you’ll want to be living a semi to moderately active lifestyle where you are also eating moderately well.
What is Kybella?
Ricki says that Kybella works over the course of approximately six treatments. "The active ingredient in Kybella is synthetic deoxycholic acid," she explains. In it’s natural form deoxycholic acid is a secondary bile acid that is a byproduct of intestinal bacteria. In the intestinal tract it is used for the emulsification, or break down, of fats to aid absorption in the intestine. It can be seen as a white crystalline powder in it’s purest form. Much to the excitement of the aesthetics community, it’s synthetic form made it’s big debut in the US in April of 2021 up under the name Kybella.
Through a procedure called injection lipolysis, Kybella is injected into the submental area, AKA your chin, and works by dissolving the fat cells there. Over the course of 4-6 weeks a Kybella patient can expect to be seen in office every 6 weeks, where each visit will take approximately 15 minutes. Could you have success with just 4 treatments? Yes, but according to Kybella’s website 59% of patients needed all six treatments. Ricki does say, "Although I've never treated anyone more than four times I like the multiple treatment verbiage just in case." With any cosmetic procedure it's better to under promise and over deliver. During the 15 minute visit you can expect to receive 20-30 injections. Kybella works by destroying the fat cells, meaning the treatment is permanent. The total time investment of Kybella equals to roughly 90 minutes in office. Full results are seen approximately 8 months after the first treatment.
Ricki says that, "Kybella is especially good for patients that are too small for CoolSculpting but have a little pinch." Kybella is FDA approved with over 20 clinical studies focusing on the efficacy of the injectable, with more than 1,600 people being treated. You might not be a good candidate if you are under 18 or over 50 years of age.
What is CoolSculpting?
CoolSculpting is the process of using cryolipolysis to kill fat cells. Intense cold is localized to kill stubborn fat cells residing in bulges that are not responding to diet or exercise. The applicator placed on the tissue being treated is vacuum like; suctioning the tissue up so that it is sitting between two cold plates. The applicator will freeze the adipocytes, or fat cells, while not harming the surrounding tissue.
CoolSculpting the submental has come a long way. Originally the CoolMini applicator was launched to be used with the CoolSculpting Legacy, the first and only FDA approved treatment for reducing fat nonsurgically using cryolipolysis. The legacy yielded great results but the people wanted more. Thus, the CoolSculpting Elite was born.
"CoolSculpting Elite yields 30% more tissue coverage which gives us anywhere from 15% to 18% more fat reduction. When you consider how small that area is and how much reduction you'll get each treatment, that's a lot," shares Kaytlyn. With each CoolSculpting treatment there will be a decrease of 20-25% fat cells in the area treated. "In the chin area typically we see anywhere from one to three applicators being used," she adds. The placement chosen depends on where there is the most volume and to ensure that there is no gapping between your skin and the applicator. Some people can get away with just one if their fullness is just below the chin, whereas some people have more volume hugging the sides of the jaw resulting in the necessity of two applicators for consistent reduction.
For most patients the best results take two treatments. What does that look like in terms of seeing results? From the time you receive your first treatment you will not see full results for 18 weeks, although many start to see results earlier.
Kaytlyn warns us that not everyone will be a good candidate. "You might not be a good candidate if you have a little chin! A good candidate is someone who has a noticeable or distinct bulge."
She also mentions that if you're claustrophobic you might not like the applicator being on your chin for an entire treatment.
CoolSculpting vs. Kybella Cost
When it comes down to cost it really depends on how much fat reduction you are looking for and in what time frame.
The price of CoolSculpting in the chin area can range anywhere from $950-$4,500; it all depends on the personal treatment plan you and your technician have decided on, where you have the most volume, and what your goals for reduction are.
One syringe of Kybella can cost anywhere from $700 - $1,000, making your total financial investment anywhere from $4,200 to $6,000. Ricki does say that "it's hard to quote price on it [Kybella] since it's by the vial and the amounts vary so much." As with any treatment it's best to consult with your injector to get the anticipated price and what results you should expect.
CoolSculpting vs Kybella Downtime
CoolSculpting downtime is pretty minimal. In more severe cases you might notice a little bit of bruising or redness but as our tech Kaytlyn says, "If you have a noticeable bulge, something for the applicator to grab onto, bruising is minimal to none. It's when we are grabbing tissue that doesn't have a lot of give, like your back, where we mainly see bruising." You'll also want to massage under the chin for approximately two minutes two times a day.
"As much as you can, you want to get into the treated area and massage it to break up the fat cells and encourage lymphatic drainage," Kaytlyn explains.
For Kybella on the other hand you can expect to protect your chin at all costs. While that deoxycholic acid is hard at work breaking down the fat cells living under your chin, you must keep the head elevated and sleep on your back. Which, aren’t you doing that anyway? You also need to avoid pressing or unnecessarily touching the area for at least 5-7 days after the injection. That means no leaning your chin in your hand at your desk!
"There is an immediate swelling that worsens the day of treatment and subsides over the next two weeks." Ricki tells us. You might hear the swelling referred to as “bullfrog neck” or “gobble neck."
For both procedures you will want to plan them around or before any major life events/photo events. While downtime might be lesser with CoolSculpting due to there being less treatments, it still would be the best decision to consult with your technician to see which is best for you.
CoolSculpting vs Kybella Side Effects
The dread. The scary part. Side effects!
Per RealSelf Kybella has a 47% "Worth It" rating based off of 456 reviews. Most commonly though the general complaints are pretty standard fare with some swelling, pain, and numbness. 72% of patients that received Kybella did experience bruising.
There is a theory among some doctors that if there is a lot of fat that needs to be treated there might be an increased risk of more serious side effects that stick around a little longer.
One such example can be found on Realself where the user says, "Got Kybella 2 years ago. The NP hit my right mandibular nerve and immediately my right lower lip was drawn up and numb. She assured me that the nerve would heal 3-6 months. Mine never did heal. I don’t really know what to do. I might seek surgery to fix it."
4.3% of clinical trial subjects reported to having temporary facial muscle weakness, which can cause issues with smiling and even swallowing. While this side effect resolves itself typically it can take anywhere from one to four months. However, as seen above, sometimes those effects are longer lasting.
The general complaints of people wo rated it "not worth it" didn't see much difference, experienced lingering soreness or numbness, or saw some hyperpigmentation. When it comes to hyperpigmentation it is most often caused by user error. The technology has built in reports that are constantly running to ensure the machine stays at a stable temperature and does not come in direct contact with the skin (because there is a protective gel pad between the applicator and skin.) What's more is the temperature CoolSculpting uses is -11°C, which is not cold enough to effect pigment cells. Beware of medspas who use counterfeit machines or do not take all the safety precautions to perform a safe treatment.
If there is a significant amount of tissue below the chin you may experience some loose skin. CoolSculpting is neither marketed or FDA approved to treat loose skin, but from experience while using the CoolSculpting Elite there have not been any reported cases of that happening to patients. In addition, there was also a study published in 2021 from the Aesthetic Surgery Journal that after experiencing cryolipolysis the treated area does create more collagen, which, over time can increase skin firmness and elasticity.
The Final Takeaway
If you’ve gotten this far then you’re ready to make an informed decision!
With any aesthetic procedure it is important to do your research on who to trust with your body. Find a reputable technician or injector who will talk to you about your options, what to expect, and what your projected treatment plan might look like. For either procedure this is a vital step in ensuring optimal results.
If you're in the Hampton Roads area and decide that CoolSculpting is the best option for you, we invite you to please come in for a free consultation.Cool Body Sculpting Center is open Monday – Friday, open late on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and in some cases can offer VIP hours. Not only that but we have the most experienced staff that have ALL gone through CoolSculpting University. Call us at 757-761-9317 to set up a consultation or click the button below to request an appointment. As Hampton Road’s number one CoolSculpting Elite provider we cannot wait to help you achieve the chin of your dreams.
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