The FDA has begun a crack-down on a procedure offered by some plastic surgeons called Lipodissolve. It is a non-surgical alternative to liposuction. A chemical is injected to dissolve fatty tissue in relatively small areas, usually in the arms, legs or abdomen – love handles, saddle bags and muffin tops, for example. These injections are also made in facial areas to reduce fat pads beneath the eyes or chin.

They use two chemicals called PC (phosphatidylcholine) and DC (sodium dioxycholate), which are found naturally in the body. These chemicals work as part of the person’s metabolism, breaking down fat.

Lipodissolve is also called mesotherapy, lipolysis, and lipostabil. Typically, each cosmetic surgery clinic or spa has been mixing its own chemicals – compounding the injection formulation. Since each spa or clinic makes its own compound, the ingredients vary and may include multivitamins, enzymes, plant extracts, antibiotics, hormones, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications.

Reports of Skin Problems

The FDA has been receiving reports of these injections causing scars and hard lumps on the skin, and of skin deformities after the procedure.

Rather than being delivered by a qualified cosmetic surgeon, they are often being done by beauty care specialists who may or may not have any medical training. Neither the chemicals in the compound nor the compounds themselves have been approved by the FDA and in a letter to a MedSpa in Madison, IN, the FDA said,

  • “The claims made for your lipodissolve products are false and misleading in that they are not supported by substantial evidence or substantial clinical experience.”

The FDA has sent warning letters to about six other spas that offer these fat-melting injections and plans to send more. They cite the spas for making unsubstantiated claims about lipodissolve therapy. Some of the claims are that these injections can increase the skin’s production of collagen and that they can improve skin tone and elasticity.

Studies Not Done

Fat-melting injections do break down fat cells, but one question is where that fat goes. No studies have been done to show where it goes, and it could potentially cause serious harm if it goes into the liver or blood vessels. There are also no studies on where the injected medication goes and how it affects the body’s organs.

Nor are there any studies on the side effects, the best combination of ingredients, or best dosages. According the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), infection, inflammation, disfigurement, and tissue death have all been reported after lipodissolve, especially when the treatment was done by a beauty specialist rather than a physician.

This is a big case of:

aveat emptor!

Buyer beware. Dr. Rai regards new cosmetic treatments and surgical techniques as potentially beneficial, but not until they are proven so does he begin to offer them here in The Cosmetic Surgical Center. If you would like to know more about liposuction and whether it would be a good option for you, please contact our office for a free consultation with Dr. Rai.