CoolSculpting vs. Kybella: Doctors Explain the Differences
Fat: we all have it. And even if we consider ourselves Flywheel devotees or clean-eating all-stars, so many of us still struggle with stubborn pockets of fat that don’t seem to respond to any amount of diet or exercise.
Lucky for us, the recent rise of non-surgical fat-reduction techniques has blessed us with fat-blasting innovations such as CoolSculpting (aka cryolipolysis, a procedure that freezes and kills fat cells) and Kybella (a fat-dissolving injection designed for “submental fullness,” or the stubborn double chin). But what does each one do? Is one better than the other for certain areas? Along with a conversation with your board-certified doctor, the below will help guide you in the right direction.
Which areas do they treat?
The first thing to understand is what Kybella and CoolSculpting are each cleared to treat. Kybella—an injection comprised of deoxycholic acid, which is naturally found in our own bile—is FDA-approved for on-label treatment of submental fullness, aka a double chin. However, there are many off-label uses for Kybella, including the treatment of fat in the arms, love handles, knees and bra rolls, that have proven to be extremely effective. CoolSculpting is FDA-approved for treatment in eight areas: the abdomen, flanks, thighs, bra fat, back, banana roll, upper arms and chin.
Who is a good candidate for each?
When it comes to deciding between these two fat-fighting treatments, New York dermatologist Paul Jarrod Frank, MD says it all depends on the amount of fat you are looking to remove from the treatment area. “With either of these fat-removal techniques, there is no best,” he says. “It’s all about finding the right procedure for the right patient.”
Because CoolSculpting can only remove teacup amounts of fat, it’s best for those who are already in good shape, “but have select trouble spots, such as the love handles, abdomen, knees, arms, chin and thighs,” says Dr. Frank. As for what makes a patient a bad candidate for CoolSculpting, Dr. Frank explains it’s when the patient either has too much fat, not enough fat for the applicator to suction to, or when patients need several areas to sculpt.
“A good candidate for Kybella is someone with fullness under their chin,” says New York plastic surgeon David Shafer, MD. “Usually, if you can pinch the fat between your fingers, it can be treated with Kybella.” However, according to Dr. Shafer, if you have minimal or no fat under your chin—along with loose skin—you might be a better candidate for a neck or facelift to tighten the skin.
Another reason doctors opt for Kybella instead of CoolSculpting: “It’s better for the smaller areas of fat that CoolSculpting can’t suction to,” explains Dr. Frank.
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