Kybella (deoxycholic acid) injections are considered noninvasive and potentially have fewer risks than surgery procedures to remove fat. Still, Kybella injections have side effects to expect and post-injection swelling is one of them.

As the deoxycholic acid goes to work breaking down fat cells in the chin, your skin may have an inflammatory reaction during the process. The swelling should gradually decrease over a few weeks’ time. Let’s look at what to expect.

Swelling and injection-site bruising are common side effects. These are temporary and should subside within a few weeks after your treatment. Anecdotal reports suggest that Kybella swelling can peak after a couple of days but then go down on its own within a month.

Talk to your doctor about ways you can minimize Kybella swelling. Some of these options include:

  • using ice or cold packs after your treatment
  • applying warm compresses within the first few days after your injections
  • wearing a chin strap post-treatment for added compression
  • taking an over-the-counter antihistamine prior to your appointment
  • using over-the-counter pain medications to reduce pain and swelling after your treatment
  • firmly massaging the area as tolerated

If you do have post-Kybella treatment swelling, you’ll need to hold off on any more injections until the symptoms clear up.

Usually, the swelling will go away on its own during the recommended one-month timeline in between treatments. However, if you have swelling right before your next scheduled treatment, let your doctor know.

Kybella is the only submental fat treatment approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Still, FDA approval doesn’t mean Kybella is completely risk-free.

You should also talk to your doctor about all the possible risks associated with Kybella, including infection. While not considered a common side effect, an infection is a serious one that requires prompt treatment.

Swelling may be a sign of an infection if it’s also accompanied by other symptoms, such as open sores and oozing. Swelling alone doesn’t necessarily meant you have an infection, but it’s important to monitor your condition closely to see if your symptoms change at all.

Common side effects from Kybella may include:

  • swelling
  • redness
  • numbness
  • itching
  • slight bruising
  • bleeding
  • mild pain
  • hard skin around the injection area
  • headache
  • nausea

Call your doctor if you experience more serious side effects, such as:

  • uneven smile
  • trouble eating and swallowing
  • muscle weakness in the face
  • skin tissue damage (necrosis)
  • hair loss at the injection site
  • severe bruising
  • ulcers
  • open sores, with or without drainage
  • infection

Call your doctor if your swelling gets worse or if you experience any new or worsening side effects.

While swelling from Kybella is a normal side effect, it can still cause some discomfort and become an overall inconvenience. The good news is that the swelling is temporary. The overall recovery timeline is about one month according to Allergan, the company that makes Kybella.

This is why it’s recommended that you wait at least one month between treatments, too.

Multiple treatment sessions

Multiple sessions are usually needed, and six treatments is the maximum for Kybella. Your provider may recommend one injection per month over a six-month timeframe.

At minimum, you’ll need to wait one month between Kybella sessions. Some people may require fewer treatments, depending on the amount of chin fat as well as the desired outcomes.

When to expect results

According to the manufacturer of the Kybella solution, each treatment session takes between 15 and 20 minutes at a time. Your provider selects several injection sites where Kybella is administered.

The process is then repeated one to three months later. Users report noticeable effects after 12 weeks or at least 2 sessions. Maximum results can be seen after six months and are meant to be long-lasting.

Allow time between injections

It’s important to space Kybella injections apart. Not only does this allow the active ingredient time to target submental fat in the chin, but it also gives your body time to heal in between treatments. If you have too many injections too close together, this could increase your risk of side effects, like swelling.

If you do have swelling after your Kybella injections, know that this is a normal side effect and not usually a cause for a medical emergency.

As uncomfortable as the swelling might be, this reaction is from the deoxycholic acid working on fat cells under your chin. Your doctor can offer additional tips to minimize swelling following your treatments.

Always reach out and ask your doctor any questions you have about your treatment and recovery.