Belkyra is a prescription medicine and is the only FDA-approved injectable treatment used in adults to improve the appearance and profile of moderate to severe fat below the chin (submental fat), also called “double chin.” The American name for Belkyra is Kybella which contains the same product deoxycholic acid (DCA).
Submental fullness (double chin) is a gathering of excess fat beneath the chin, commonly known as “double chin.” It can be something you’ve had your whole life due to genetics, gaining weight or start to appear as you get older.
Traditionally, liposuction has been the ideal treatment for submental fat. A neck or face lift can also get rid of fat and hanging skin in this location. Belkyra is an alternate treatment available for improvement of the chin/neck area.
How does Belkyra work?
The active ingredient in BELKYRA is synthetic deoxycholic acid. Deoxycholic acid is a naturally occurring molecule in the body that aids in the breakdown and absorption of dietary fat. When injected into the fat beneath the chin, BELKYRA destroys fat cells, and once destroyed, these cells can no longer store or accumulate fat. This results in a noticeable reduction in fullness under the chin, revealing an improved chin profile.
What are the possible side effects of Belkyra?
The most common side effects of Belkyra include:
Swelling, pain, numbness, bruising/ hematoma, redness, and areas of hardness in the treatment area.
Belkyra can cause serious side effects, including
- Nerve injury in the jaw (which can cause an uneven smile or facial muscle weakness)
- Trouble swallowing
- Injection site problems including: hair loss, open sores (ulcers), damage and tissue cell-death (necrosis) around the injection site. Call your doctor if you develop open sores or drainage from the treatment area.
These are not all the possible side effects of Belkyra. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.
Is Belkyra permanent?
Yes, the effects of Belkyra are permanent. When injected, Belkyra causes the destruction of fat cells; once destroyed, those cells can no longer store fat. There are no maintenance or up keep treatments or additional injections needed. After the treatments, the results are permanent. But we suggest patients to keep body weight stable to avoid hypertrophy of the remaining fat cells, thereby reducing the efficacy of the result.
Is the procedure painful?
Same as other injectables, injection of Belkyra can be painful and we suggest applying numbing cream or even local anesthesia before the procedure. After the treatment, your doctor may prescribe pain killer up to 3 days for you.
What should I tell my doctor before treatment?
Before receiving Belkyra, tell your doctor about all of your medical conditions, including if you:
- Have had or plan to have surgery on your face, neck, or chin
- Have had cosmetic treatments on your face, neck, or chin
- Have had or have medical conditions in or near the neck area
- Have had or have trouble swallowing
- Have bleeding problems
- Are pregnant or plan to become pregnant (it is not known if Belkyra will harm your unborn baby)
- Are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed (it is not known if Belkyra passes into your breast milk)
- Are taking any medications, especially blood thinners
- History of drug allergy
What should I expect after the treatment?
After treatment, you may experience swelling, pain, or numbness under your chin. Most condition will resolve gradually within 30 days.
What should I do for the post-treatment period?
Belkyra targets and disrupts cell membrane of fat cell under chin, leading to subsequent inflammation at injection site. It is suggested to follow the below measures in the 24-48 hours after treatment to reduce initial swelling and edema:
- Avoid alcoholic drink
- Avoid too much dietary salt intake
- Avoid strenuous exercise
- Apply ice/ cold pack immediately after treatment to reduce pain
- Elevate your head during sleep
What type of patient is most suitable for Belkyra?
Belkyra has been studied in over 20 clinical trials, and has been used on more than 1600 patients. Almost 70% responded positively, with improvement to the appearance of their chin/neck area. Patient selection is very important when it comes to Belkyra treatments. People with a lot of skin laxity will not likely have a good result, as they will still be left with loose hanging jowls when the fat is gone. Similarly, patients with very thin skin are not ideal Belkyra candidates. It is most appropriate for those with moderate to severe submental fat, so it is not known how patients with only small fat deposits will fare, and as a result it is not approved for use in those patients. It’s important that Belkyra injection be carried out by a trained medical doctor, as it is necessary to have detailed knowledge of the anatomic structure in the submental region.
How many injections sites and treatment sessions do I need?
The exact number of injections will depend on the amount of fat you have under your chin and your desired profile. At each treatment, you will be given multiple small injections under your chin. You may receive up to 6 treatment sessions, spaced at least 1 month apart. Many patients experience visible results in 2 to 4 Belkyra treatments. Once results are achieved, no further treatment should be required. Your doctor will assess your condition and will suggest the number of sessions you require.
Is Belkyra safe?
It has obtained US FDA and EU EMA approval and it has long term safety study data for up to 5 years.
Who should not receive Belkyra?
Do not receive Belkyra if you have an infection in the treatment area. You are also not advised to have Belkyra if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. If you have problem with coagulation, you are also not suggested to have the treatment.
Is Belkyra suitable for Me?
Belkyra may be right for you if:
You’re bothered (unhappy, self-conscious, embarrassed) by fat under the chin, also known as submental fullness or double chin.
You feel the condition makes you look older or heavier than you actually are.
You don’t want to have surgery.
You eat well and exercise, but submental fullness does not go away.
Same as other treatments, you will need to be assessed by your doctor before treatment.