ATX-101 (also known as Kybella), which is the study designation given to deoxycholic acid manufactured by Kythera Pharmaceuticals, is an injectable substance that kills fat cells and is being marketed as a potential magic bullet for double chins. The product recently got it FDA approval for use in the cosmetic industry, but only time will tell if it proves to be a miracle worker or just another fad that fades from the market as quickly as it surfaces.
The FDA approval means only that the product has not been shown to be dangerous in human subjects, but that does not mean that it will produce a great aesthetic result, or that it will replace gold standard approaches to treating double chins like liposuction, liposculpting, or platysma muscle repairs commonly performed with neck lift operations.
In fact, over dissolving the submental (under the chin) fat may lead to a hollowed central neck and an exaggerated appearance of vertical platysma muscle bands that appear with age. Losing too much fat in the neck can be a very difficult problem to correct, which is why most facial surgeons do not remove as much fat from the neck during facial surgery as they used to several decades ago.
The concern among seasoned facial experts is that ATX-101 may end up recreating the hollowed, banded, necks from many years ago when surgeons thought it was a good thing to remove a great deal of fat from the neck, when in actual reality the answer was not to remove the fat, but to repair the platysma muscle that splits and weakens with age thereby allowing the normal healthy fat to descend and create a double chin. Repairing the anatomy is a more stable and predictable approach to rejuvenating the neck, and while ATX-101 may end up playing a valuable role in neck rejuvenation for select patients, it is probably not going to be the magic bullet that will make all other neck procedures obsolete.
Be mindful that gold standards are gold standards for a good reason, and that cheaper alternatives are just that, cheaper alternatives until proven otherwise. If fat cells are over dissolved with ATX, it can lead to a situation that looks worse than the double chin, and can be nearly impossible to fix, so be cautious when considering this idea. Also remember that this is not the first time that deoxycholic acid has been on the market. It was used years ago under the trade name LipoDissolve, which didn’t end up with any meaningful foothold in the world of aesthetics. In fact, the product was pulled from the market after it’s original approval because of an unacceptable number of issues discovered after the product was used in higher volumes as the idea of injections replacing liposuction skyrocketed in popularity. ATX-101 is nearly the same substance being used for a slightly different purpose, so while it may very well turn out to be an excellent product, the jury is still out on this one and we should all be cautious to avoid the past mistake of rushing into something that seemed a little too good to be true back then, and turned out to be just that.
How can I get more information about this topic?
If you want to learn more about deoxycholic acid or schedule a personal consultation to discuss your options for neck rejuvenation, please feel free to give us a call at 917-703-7069 or visit the neck liposuction of our website by clicking here.Nicholas Vendemia, M.D. Plastic Surgeon New York
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