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Kybella Swelling: Causes, Duration, and How to Reduce It

Kristina Cadwell  
April 3, 2024  

Kybella is an FDA-approved nonsurgical injectable treatment for fat reduction in the submental (under the chin) area. It dissolves the fat cells that create a double chin and leaves you with a finely defined jawline.

The treatment is minimally invasive and usually requires no downtime, but it does come with occasional mild-to-moderate side effects. One of the most common is swelling.

Here, you’ll find everything you need to know about Kybella swelling—what causes it, how long it lasts, and what you can do to prevent or reduce it.

Swelling is a common side effect after the Kybella treatment.

What Causes Kybella Swelling?

Kybella swelling results from the body’s inflammatory reaction to the treatment. Swelling is especially common in people who have a lower tolerance to Kybella’s main ingredient, deoxycholic acid.

The following may additionally increase the chances of Kybella swelling:

  • Large fat deposits under the chin that require greater doses of Kybella
  • Many injection sites close together
  • First-time treatment
  • Inexperienced Kybella injectors

It is crucial to book a Kybella treatment at a reputable clinic with experienced, Kybella-certified medical providers.

How Long Does Kybella Swelling Last?

Inflammation and swelling usually appear right after the treatment. Patients report that the swelling often peaks two to three days after the treatment and resolves within one month.

The recommended time between Kybella treatments is one month. Consult your medical provider before scheduling another treatment if swelling from your first treatment has not resolved by then.

Note: Learn how to reduce post-treatment inflammation and skin inflammation in general by reading our guide to anti-inflammatory skin care.

How to Prevent Kybella Swelling

Luckily, there are things you can do to minimize the chances of swelling after the Kybella treatment.

Limit Salt and Sugar

High-sodium foods can cause water retention and bloating, and sugary foods cause inflammation. Since injectables carry the risk of an inflammatory reaction, it is best to avoid foods that additionally increase inflammation and swelling. Avoid salt and sugar intake a few days before and after the treatment.

Refrain from Alcohol and Nicotine

Avoid alcohol after Kybella to prevent swelling

Alcohol widens blood vessels, increasing the chance of swelling, and nicotine also has pro-inflammatory properties. Like salt and sugar, it is best to avoid them a few days before and after the treatment to minimize complications and promote optimal healing.

Avoid Blood-Thinning Medications

Some medical professionals advise patients to discontinue the use of blood thinners, such as aspirin and ibuprofen, one week before the procedure. These may increase the chance of excessive bleeding during the treatment and cause swelling.

Take Antihistamines

OTC medications that help relieve allergies, such as Benadryl and Zyrtec, can also reduce swelling after Kybella. Some doctors recommend taking one pill the day before and one pill the day after the treatment. Take antihistamines only according to your doctor’s instructions.

Don’t Use Fatty Acids Supplements

Fatty acid supplements like fish, cod, krill, and flax oil have mild blood-thinning properties. Medical providers sometimes advise avoiding them for several days before the Kybella treatment.

Be Careful with Skin Products and Treatments

Patients shouldn’t use products that contain glycolic acid, alpha-hydroxy acid, retinol, and retinoids a few days before and after the treatment. These ingredients may cause irritations and increase the risk of swelling.

The same applies to harsher cosmetic treatments, such as chemical peels, laser, microneedling, and facials. Avoid them two weeks before and after Kybella.

Refrain from Intense Exercise

Doctors recommend refraining from intense workouts, such as jogging, swimming, HIIT, cardio exercises, and heavy lifting for 24 hours after Kybella. Strenuous exercise raises blood flow to the treated area, increasing the chance of swelling.

Avoid Exposure to Sun and Heat

Avoid sun after Kybella to prevent swelling

Sun and heat dilate blood vessels and increase blood flow, exacerbating swelling after Kybella. Avoid exposure to sun, tanning beds, hot tubs, and saunas for 3-5 days following the treatment.

How to Treat Kybella Swelling

If swelling appears after Kybella despite your best efforts to avoid it, the following aftercare tips will help you reduce it.

Take a Pain Reliever

If you experience swelling and discomfort, you may take an over-the-counter pain-relieving medication, such as Tylenol.

Apply Cold Packs

The cold helps constrict blood vessels and slow down blood flow, relieving inflammation and swelling. Hold ice wrapped in a towel or a bag of frozen produce on the treated area for 15 minutes. Repeat this several times the first day after the treatment.

Compress the Treated Area

Wrap a chinstrap around the chin and neck for more compression. The pressure helps keep the blood and fluids from pooling in the treated tissue. Use it the first few days following the treatment to soothe pain and decrease swelling.

Elevate Your Head During Sleep

Patients are advised to sleep with their heads in an upright position during the first 2-3 days after Kybella. Like compression, this helps keep the blood from pooling. Use two or three pillows to elevate the head.

Drink Plenty of Water

Drink plenty of water after Kybella to avoid swelling

Kybella injectables destroy fat cells, and the lymphatic system removes them from the body. To support the smooth functioning of the lymphatic system, drink at least eight glasses of water daily.

Note: For more tips, make sure to read our guide to Kybella aftecare.

When Should You See a Doctor for Kybella Swelling?

If the swelling doesn’t subside after one month, or if you have concerns about its severity and duration, visit your medical provider.

If the swelling is accompanied by other symptoms, it may be a sign of an infection or another serious side effect. They are extremely rare, but should you experience any of the following symptoms, see your doctor immediately:

  • An uneven smile
  • Weakness in facial muscles
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Open sores and ulcers
  • Oozing from open sores
  • Hair loss at the injection site
  • Damaged skin tissue (necrosis)


Kybella is the only FDA-approved fat-reduction injectable treatment for the submental area. Mild-to-moderate swelling is a common Kybella side effect, and it usually resolves on its own quickly. With proper care before and after the procedure, you’ll need minimal recovery and will soon enjoy a visibly improved jawline and neck profile.

Next, find out how quickly Kybella works and how long the results last.

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About the Author:
Kristina Cadwell
PA Kristina Cadwell graduated from Arizona State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology. She then completed the Physician Assistant program at A.T. Still University graduating with a Masters of Medical Science degree. Kristina has been working in the Aesthetic Medical field for over 10 years. She is certified in neurotoxin cosmetic injection, dermal fillers, Plasma Pen skin tightening, chemical peels, and laser therapy. She is known for producing natural results and has extensive knowledge in diet and exercise allowing her to help you achieve vibrant skin from the inside out.
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