Lipodissolve, a non-surgical alternative to liposuction, is attracting a steady stream of customers looking to trim problem fat from their bodies, while health officials debate the product’s safety.
From 50,000 to 100,000 Lipodissolve treatments have been conducted in the United States and Europe, according to The American Society of Non-Surgical Aesthetics.
Liposuction is currently far more popular — there were 300,000 procedures performed in the United States in 2006 — but Lipodissolve procedures are expected to grow to 500,000 a year in the United States.
During a Lipodissolve treatment, a chemical found in lecithin (phosphatidylcholine deoxycholate) is injected into fatty areas such as “love handles” and “bra rolls,” where it dissolves fat cells.
However, the injectable compound is not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and no long-term studies have been conducted on Lipodissolve’s safety.
Among the chief questions about the procedure is where do the fat cells go once they are dissolved. Lipodissolve practitioners say the cells are excreted by your body naturally, but no one really knows for sure.
According to the FDA, Lipodissolve is a “buyer-beware situation.”
After receiving complaints related to Lipodissolve, including pain, nausea, diarrhea, elevated liver enzymes, and lumps at the injection site, the Kansas State Board of Healing Arts, which regulates Kansas doctors, has moved to ban marketing and sales of Lipodissolve. They are the first state to do so.
Proponents of the procedure maintain that it is safer than liposuction because it doesn’t involve surgery, and, according to The American Society of Non-Surgical Aesthetics, Lipodissolve does not require FDA approval because it isn’t a drug, but a treatment.