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Aesthet Surg J. 2018 Sep 29. doi: 10.1093/asj/sjy194. [Epub ahead of print]

Assessing the Efficacy of Deoxycholic Acid for the Treatment of Submental Fat: A Three-Dimensional Study.

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Department of Plastic Surgery, University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, KS.



Deoxycholic acid is used for the treatment of excess submental fat, offering a potential alternative to more invasive surgical procedures. However, there is currently an absence of high-level evidence in the literature outside of Phase 3 clinical trials.


The aim of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of deoxycholic acid for the treatment of submental adiposity by correlating objective 3-dimensional (3D) data with subjective patient assessment scores.


Thirteen patients were prospectively enrolled into the study. 3D images were obtained prior to initial treatment, at 4-week intervals, and in the acute recovery period. Volumetric changes were calculated using Vectra software. Corresponding subjective surveys using the FACE-Q tool evaluated the perceived treatment results and side effects.


Objectively, there was a significant reduction in submental volume following treatment (P = 0.004), with total rounds of treatment averaging 3.4 (SD: 1.19). During the immediate recovery period, there was a statistically significant increase in submental volume, with an average increase of 8.68% (P = 0.0003). Subjectively, patient satisfaction scores improved significantly for both the aesthetics of the area under the chin and jawline (P < 0.005). Self-resolving paresthesia following treatment occurred in all study participants. There were no major complications. Participant scores of early treatment recovery also improved significantly with subsequent treatments (P < 0.005).


This study validates the use of deoxycholic acid for reducing supraplatysmal adiposity in the submental area. Objective volume changes showed positive correlation with subjective improvements in patient satisfaction scores. Recovery and side effect profiles were also described and may aid in future patient education and management. Level of Evidence: 4.


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