Curious about Kybella: Consumer Questions Provide Insights for Doctors

kybella, double chin, atx-101

Photos courtesy of Roy G. Geronemus, MD

With the FDA’s approval of Kybella for submental fat last month, it’s hardly surprising that aesthetic consumers are hoping it will offer an easier, less painful alternative to liposuction and neck lifts for their double chins. And with miracle-touting headlines like “Now You Can Get a Ridiculously Chiseled Jawline without Liposuction,” it’s safe to say that doctors can expect to receive a lot of inquiries about it.

Such inquiries, in fact, are already starting to appear on RealSelf. Clearly, that’s good news for aesthetic consumers — who can get accurate medical info from medical experts, not headline writers — but it’s also relevant for doctors. After all, if you want your messaging to address potential patients’ issues and concerns, you should probably know what those issues and concerns are. Now that Kybella has been approved, here’s what aesthetic consumers want to know:

What’s the recovery time like? The product is so new that potential patients have little or no idea of what to expect in terms of downtime. Incorporating that info into your messaging can help them make more informed decisions on how and when to proceed.

Who’ll be injecting it? Given the number of injections and sessions required, it’s not surprising that potential patients want to know whether the person on the other end of the needle has the appropriate expertise. Explaining that this is not like Botox or Juvederm, where the rules that determine who can perform injections are much looser, provides an excellent opportunity to underscore the importance of seeking out a board-certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon

How does Kybella compare with lipo? Today’s aesthetic consumer is an increasingly savvy searcher, as evidenced by the number of “this vs. that” inquiries designed to determine the best course of action. Content that compares and contrasts the costs, number of treatments, recovery times, etc., targets that interest in a way that appeals to both aesthetic consumers and search engines.

What are the potential off-label uses for Kybella? Although only approved for double chins, consumers are already wondering if it can be used to reverse fat grafting in the cheeks and even as a nose job alternative. While expanded uses are likely in the future, explaining the current reality (and the reasons behind them) helps set expectations.

At this point, it’s too early whether Kybella will live up to its promoters’ and potential patients’ hopes. As noted in the RealSelf Trends blog, this is not the first beauty product to be touted as the Next Big Thing. Some, like Botox, have seen patient-satisfaction scores climb in the years since they were introduced while others, like Liposonix, have tumbled over time. How Kybella will fare in the long run is unknown but in the short term at least, consumer interest is clearly on the rise.

About Rob Lovitt

Rob Lovitt is a longtime writer and editor who believes every good business has a great story to tell. He has written for dozens of magazines and websites, including, and the inflight magazines of Alaska, Horizon and Frontier airlines.

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