Deoxycholic Acid


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Deoxycholic acid is a manmade form of a substance your body makes that helps to absorb fats. The FDA has approved the use of subcutaneous injections of deoxycholic acid (Kybella) to improve the appearance of moderate to severe convexity or fullness associated with submental fat (double chin) in adults. It is the first drug approved for this indication.

What it Is

Kybella (deoxycholic acid) is the first and only FDA-approved injectable treatment to improve the appearance of moderate to severe fat beneath the chin.

What They Can Do

Deoxycholic acid is used to help decrease the appearance of fat that hangs below the chin, sometimes called a double-chin.

​What They Can Not Do


  • Fat cells are removed, but without proper diet and exercise, new fat cells will grow.

    The results are reasonably long-lasting, but not permanent.

  • Does not tighten skin​


Deoxycholic acid is injected under the skin directly into the area beneath your chin. A healthcare provider will give you this injection.

You may be treated with topical numbing medicine or an ice pack to ease pain and make you comfortable during the injections.

A syringe needle injects a gel-like substance into the skin at various depths. A series of injections evenly disperse the filler. The filler substance fills up the area, resulting in improvements such as shape, volume, and structure.


Deoxycholic acid must be given in a series of up to 6 treatment sessions in order to be effective. You may receive up to 50 injections at each session.

Each treatment session should be spaced no less than 1 month apart. Many people have had visible results after 2 to 4 sessions.

Your doctor will determine the right number of injections and how many sessions you need, depending on the results you want.


In general, three treatments are required to get really good results for Kybella. This could cost you $5,400 for the entire procedure.


The total cost of your Kybella treatment is affected by a few things, such as:

  • Number of treatments needed to achieve the results you want

  • The professional fee of your healthcare provider

  • Where you choose to have it (your location)

Take note that cosmetic procedures like Kybella are not covered by your health insurance.

Kybella Injections Cost
The estimated cost of Kybella is $650 for every 50 injections. Depending on your case, you may need less than 50 injections, which can bring the cost down.

Kybella Cost Per Vial
This FDA-approved injectable is generally available in a pack of four vials containing 2 mL each, costing $1,200 or $300 per vial.

Potential Complications of Deoxycholic Acid

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.


Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • trouble swallowing;

  • weak muscles in your face;

  • a crooked smile;

  • open skin sores or drainage around treated areas; or

  • pain, burning, irritation, or skin changes where the injection was given.

  • Common side effects may include:

  • numbness or hardening of treated areas;

  • hair loss around treated areas; or

  • swelling, bruising, redness, or tenderness of treated areas.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Side Effects

Along with its needed effects, deoxycholic acid may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor or nurse immediately if any of the following side effects occur while taking deoxycholic acid:

Less common

  • Headache

  • muscle weakness in the face

  • pain in the mouth or throat

  • pounding in the ears

  • slow or fast heartbeat

  • trouble swallowing

  • uneven smile

  • Incidence not known

  • Blue-green to black skin discoloration

  • cracking of the skin

  • fainting

  • neck pain

  • pain, redness, or sloughing of the skin at the injection site

  • swollen, painful, or tender lymph glands in the neck

Some side effects of deoxycholic acid may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:

More common

  • Bleeding

  • blistering

  • bruising

  • burning

  • coldness

  • discoloration of the skin

  • feeling of pressure

  • hives, infection

  • inflammation, itching, lumps, numbness, rash, scarring, soreness, stinging, swelling, tenderness, tightness of the skin, tingling, or warmth at the injection site


Results vary from person to person. Some people may get up to 50 injections in a single treatment, with up to six single treatments no less than a month apart, the FDA says. Many people saw results in two to four treatments.