This post was sponsored by the Everywhere Society and Artisan Plastic Surgery in Atlanta, Georgia. However, my opinions and experiences with Kybella and Artisan Plastic Surgery are entirely my own. I don’t share things that I don’t like and use myself. **WARNING HORRIBLE SELFIES AHEAD!**
In just a month I’m going to be 40. And that feels really old to me. I don’t feel old on the outside at all– I feel the same as I did when I was 16. BUT I remember that quote from one of my absolutely favorite movie, Steel Magnolias, when Truvy says to Shelby, “Honey, time marches on and eventually you realize it is marchin’ across your face.” And I’m beginning to notice the effects of that age. The crow’s feet (or laugh lines), the brow furrows, and just the shape of my face and jowls. I’m looking old. After the Peanut was born in 2015, I told my Mellow Man that he was going to give me a “Mommy Makeover” to celebrate my life, but that feels a little too extreme for my life right now. However, I wanted to feel good about myself for my birthday, so I decided to visit Artisan Plastic Surgery’s open house in late April to learn about ways of refreshing myself. I knew about Botox, and thanks to Kylie Jenner, Lip Injections, but I didn’t know what other options were available for women like me. While I was at the Open House, I learned about a new treatment called Kybella to remove submental fat, and a few weeks later, Dr. Inessa Fishman started my procedure in the offices of Artisan Plastic Surgery near Northside Hospital in Atlanta.
Submental fat is the fat under your chin, you know the stuff that makes you have a double chin or, as it was referred to on Ally McBeal, a “Wattle.” One of the biggest reasons that I don’t get my picture taken is my wattle I cringe when I see my jowls and chin. I know that losing weight will deal with some of the double chin, but it just seems like I have more of double chin than other women I know. The lovely female plastic surgeons at Artisan Plastic Surgery explained that some women (and men) just have more submental fat– It can be hereditary. Here’s an image of me in early April of this year before I had Kybella. It’s a lot of chin under there, and this photo really embarrasses me. (In my next post on my treatment at Artisan Plastic Surgery, I’ll share the official “before” pictures, and I shutter to think what those pictures will look like!)
Prior to my first appointment, and after the open house at Artisan Plastic Surgery, I read up on Kybella and scanned the reviews on RealSelf, but didn’t fully understand the process. During my first appointment with Dr. Fishman, we talked a lot about what Kybella is, and isn’t. She was very detailed in the procedure and what to expect.
I learned that Kybella is a non-surgerical procedure that permanently removes a double chin. A medication is injected into your submental fat that destroys fat cells locally. Let me repeat that– it’s permanent. I loved the idea that I wasn’t going to have to go back to the doctor every 6-12 months to see continued results! I asked Dr. Fishman what would happen if I gained or lost weight, and she said by removing the fat cells themselves, the fat would be gone regardless of changes in weight.
Dr. Fishman was able to administer the first treatment in approximately 15 minutes, while I was holding the Peanut in my lap. (She’s a new mother too, so she understood that sometimes the little guys just have to come with you!) There are a lot of injections under your chin. I can’t be sure of the total number, but I’m thinking that it was around 20 small shots. Dr. Fishman used a removable, “temporary tattoo” grid under my chin to guide her.
She did not use any numbing, and I asked if this was standard procedure, or not. She explained that the numbing generally hurts as much as the shots themselves, so she doesn’t administer it. Immediately after the shots, she gave me a couple of ice packs to keep under my chin in lieu of numbing. (Interestingly, my chin was numb for a number of days just because of the swelling and medication, it felt a lot like right before a local anesthesia wears off.)
And it does hurt. It was quite intense stinging and pain, and I had this shooting pain that went up the side of my cheek and into my jaw. I was surprised at how painful it was. Dr. Fishman prepared me that the results were not instantaneous, and that I would expect a lot of swelling. You can see in the day after the first treatment photos that my chin looks even bigger and more swollen than ever. And I bruised.
The massive, “bullfrog” looking swelling lasts for about a week. People are going to wonder what happened to you. It was noticeable. Dr. Fishman encouraged me to pick up some Arnica Oil from a local health food store to rub under my chin to reduce the bruising. (Artisan Plastic Surgery also sells it, I believe.) I wasn’t sure if it would work, but it really did help the bruising!
One week after the first treatment, my double chin was barely bruised, and looking much like it did before the procedure. Per Dr. Fishman’s instructions, I started gently massaging my chin every day after the first week. My chin felt “hard” and “lumpy” during the massages, but over the weeks following the treatment, the harder lumps diminished until they were entirely gone.
I started noticing the improvements at 2 weeks after the first treatment. Namely the wattle was getting less wide, and my real chin felt more prominent. About 8 weeks after my first treatment, I went in for the second round of Kybella. My chin looked so much better already, and this is AFTER a second round of shots. (You can see all of the little shot marks under my chin.) And it hurts, but doesn’t seem as overwhelming as before.
The swelling occurred again, but it wasn’t as severe. For some reason, I bruised more from the second treatment, but that might be because of capillary or something. The swelling was generally gone after 4 days, and there was far less hardness than the first time.
Even that horrible bottom picture, is much better than the size after the first treatment. I’m getting ready for the third round of Kybella at Artisan Plastic Surgery, and I’m hoping that’s all I’ll need. Dr. Fishman explained that patients usually need between 3-4 procedures, and the Kybella website stated that some in the trials had up to 6 treatments. Dr. Fishman recommended that if you had really severe submental fat, you might be better served by localized liposuction under your chin, rather than Kybella. As multiple rounds of Kybella occur, the prices rises and gets closer the the cost of liposuction, and Kybella does have side-effects each time you use it.
One of the things that I noticed on reviews on the RealSelf website about Kybella was the fact that some older women who used Kybella had wrinkled, saggy skin. I asked Dr. Fishman about this, and she told me that Kybella works best if you have sufficient elasticity and is more youthful. You skin needs to be able to bounce back from the remove of the fat. I have no idea how to assess whether or not your skin has sufficient elasticity, but I know that mine was evaluated by both Dr. Alexander and Dr. Fishman at Artisan Plastic Surgery, and Dr. Fishman explained that some older women choose to have a necklift to go with the Kybella treatments.
Regardless, I am so excited about this new look, and the ability to have more confidence in selfies and photographs. In this month leading up to my birthday, I’ve got a number of other posts that are focused on me, a mommy, who is trying to engage in greater self-care and increased self confidence. Including the final pictures from Artisan Plastic Surgery! I am so grateful to get the chance to talk with Dr. Fishman and learn about all of the options for embracing my 40th birthday while still feeling youthful!
What do you think? Does your wattle bother you?