Type of Surgery

Lipodissolve - Fat Reduction Technique

Doctor Certified

Last updated: 04/29/2009

Lipodissolve is one of the newer and more controversial fat reduction techniques. This non-surgical procedure promises to remove or dissolve fat cells in the body. The procedure involves little more than an injection of a chemical cocktail into fatty areas under the skin. These chemicals are reported to dissolve fat cells and, within a few weeks, cause the fat to be absorbed by the body. Thus trouble areas such as “love handles” or “saddle bags” can be melted away…or so the proponents of lipodissolve suggest. The procedure is controversial because it is not approved by the FDA nor have there been many convincing scientific studies which show that lipodissolve actually works.
How Lipodissolve Works
Lipodissolve is a cocktail of various chemicals, many of which are found naturally within the body. While the composition of the cocktails varies between physician’s offices and lipodissolve manufacturers, there are a few ingredients that are almost always present. The major components of lipodissolve are phosphatidylcholine and deoxycholate though there may be steroids, hormones, anesthetics and antibiotics included in the injection. Phosphatidylcholine is found within cell membranes and when injected into the body can be used to disrupt the cell membranes of fat cells. Deoxycholate is a bile acid and is normally food in the digestive tract. Bile acids, including deoxycholate, can dissolve fat. Bile acids behave much like a detergent in that it can cut through grease and make it dissolve in water. These two chemicals land a one-two punch on fat cells to break them open and dissolve them away.
Lipodissolve Results May Vary
While the idea is intoxicating: a simple injection that simply melts fat away, the actual clinical experience with lippodissolve has been less than impressive. First, lipodissolve takes several weeks to have any effect and many people are left wondering if the injection did any good at all. Also, because the cocktail of chemicals only works on the area that is injected, lipodissolve can caused dimpling in the skin—a high degree of fat loss at the precise location of the injection but not loss of fat at all where the chemicals did not reach during the injection. In fact, many plastic surgeons have been called upon to correct some of the aesthetic problems caused by lipodissolve, and the correction is not always easy. For many patients seeking to avoid liposuction (a proven method for removing fat cells) by turning to lipodissolve, they may end up requiring more extensive liposuction or even surgery that requires larger incisions and widespread revisions. Also, since the fat is presumably being absorbed by the body, many wonder, where does the fat go? Scientists’ best guess is that it is processed by the liver and, if correct, lipodissolve could lead to increases in blood cholesterol levels and risk of liver disease.
Towards a More Effective and Reliable Lipodissolve
Some physicians that have the most experience using lipodissolve continue to sing its praises. Efforts are underway to improve the safety and efficacy of lipodissolve. One way to do this is by standardizing the type, number and quantity of chemicals that are included in each lipodissolve injection. Further, clinical trials are underway to determine how best to use this treatment. A link to information about this clinical trial is provided.
Study to Evaluate the Effect of Injection Lypolysis (Lipodissolve) Treatments to Reduce Body Fat

Last Updated: 04/29/2009

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