You’ve heard it a million times. “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” Well, here’s one more example why this rule is still a good one to follow. The idea of melting fat away with an injection has been sweeping the country for the past several years as companies like LipoNOW and AestheticMD continue to aggressively market the only “painless” way to lose inches. Lipodissolve or lipo dud?
In the Lipodissolve procedure, chemicals similar to those found in the gallbladder (which is responsible for fat metabolism in the GI tract) are injected into “problem areas” like the saddle bags, thighs and tummy. The injections cost anywhere from $2000-$4000 (or more) depending on how large the problem area is, and are usually performed at medi-spas and clinics run by the companies who promote the procedure. The injections have to be repeated multiple times over the course of up to several months, and the results are unpredictable at best. A few patients claim that they had dramatically positive results, but most are avidly requesting refunds after not noticing any difference, or after having complications like severe allergic reactions, pain, swelling, scarring, ulcerations, and infections.
Quoting a recent article in US News and World Report, “Angie Ross, 33, is hoping to take advantage of a money-back guarantee. Ross decided to have injections to her abdomen last November, thinking she could avoid the painful two-week recovery that her sister had endured after liposuction. After paying $4,000 and receiving several months of injections, the photographer from Overland Park, Kan., says she experienced abdominal swelling, weight gain, and an allergic reaction that sent her to the emergency room with hives all over her body.”
The FDA sent warnings to several Lipodissolve clinics who are making unfounded claims of safety and effectiveness. There is no research to support any of these claims, especially the claims of safety. No one knows what doses or combinations of the Lipodissolve chemicals should be injected, and right now the whole process seems a bit like trial and error.
The other problem with unregulated procedures like Lipodissolve is very similar to the problem with unqualified surgeons performing cosmetic surgeries. In a recent study of cosmetic operations performed in Southern California, researchers found that 40% of doctors performing these surgeries had no surgical training. The same is true for lipodissolve. Because it is offered mainly at spas and rejuvenation clinics, and because there are no regulations about who is qualified to give the injections, it’s very difficult to make an informed decision about the procedure.
Lipo dud? It sure looks like it. This is one of those procedures that fell through the cracks in the FDA’s system of evaluating new products and procedures. Our advice? Stay away until there is more scientific evidence telling us that it works, and that it’s safe. And in the meantime, there’s always liposuction, the “gold standard” when it comes to losing inches for real.
Photo Credit: IStockPhoto
NOTICE: None of the celebrities or individuals discussed here have ever received treatment, surgery, medical advice, or evaluations from any author, physician, surgeon, or representative of this blog. All images and photos in this article represent models only. No actual patients or clients are shown.