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FDA Warning for Lipodissolve Print E-mail

The FDA issued warning letters last week to spas that administer lipodissolve injections, a nonsurgical version of liposuction, stating that these spas are making false and misleading claims because the drugs used in these treatments have not been proven safe or effective.

What is lipodissolve?

Known under the brand names Lipodissolve and Lipostable, injections to dissolve fat were popularized in Brazil in 2002. The treatment solution uses phosphatidylcholine to dissolve fat deposits in the abdomen, chin, and around the eyes. Unfortunately, it also contains other ingredients that are thought to lead to serious side effects. Complications like scarring; skin discoloration and bumpiness of the skin were reported as far back as 2003.

Who is administering these injections?

Reputable physicians do not offer these procedures, however, many medical spas do. The phosphatidylcholine in lipodissolve was even sold on the internet! The FDA's warning means that spas and physicians must stop using the injections due to safety concerns.

Are medi-spas reputable?

There are no national standards for medi-spas, so the laws in each state differ. Most medi-spas are supervised by a physician, but there are no rules about how involved the doctor must be in the establishment. Procedures are often performed by estheticians or other practitioners, and in many spas the physician need not be present at all.

The FDA's involvement illustrates a very important point: All injections have serious potential side effects and should only be administered by, or under the close supervision of, a reputable dermatologist. Whether you are interested in wrinkle-reducing injectables like Botox, Dysport, Juvederm, Perlane, Restylane or a leg vein treatment, please avoid any medi-spa that operates without a board certified dermatologist. You deserve the best and it would be a shame to end up with a permanent disfiguring scar or skin irregularities.

Which fat-reducing procedures are safe?

Beware of mesotherapy, another controversial fat reduction technique that is not FDA-approved. It involves injecting vitamins, herbs and other medications and has not been proven safe or effective.

If you are looking for fat reduction and diet and exercise have not worked for you, hang in there. Exciting new developments are coming. They are still about 2 years away... but they are coming! Lasers are also being developed to dissolve fat, but they are not yet effective.

For now, liposuction is safe and effective when performed by an experienced physician.

Wishing you great skin!