*permanent fat dissolving injections
What is Lipolysis?
Lipolysis consists of the direct injection of fat dissolving drug (an extract of lecithin) into the subcutaneous fat to dissolve the membranes of the adipocyte fat storage cells. The fat spills out into the surrounding tissue causing an inflammatory reaction (a bit like squeezed, blind pimple) which lasts from 3-5 days. This inflammation is not all bad as it causes tightening of the surrounding tissues lifting areas like the jawline or chin area. The fat released from the storage cells stored is then removed by the body’s garbage cells called macrophages. This is a slow process (as they have a very strong trade union) and takes 3-6 months to complete. The fat dissolving medication is mixed with 50% local anaesthetic of 2% both as a local pain releif and to facilitate its action.
What areas are good to treat?
It is used for local areas of fat (<250mls) and not generalized obesity.
How much is injected?
The amount injected depends upon the area to be treated but in general does not consist of more than 2gm (2 bottles) at any one session.
Is it safe?
Fat dissolving with this prescription medication is an off- label use of a product licensed in Australia for use to dissolve fat deposits in patients with coronary artery blockages. In this situation it is injected intravenously at dosages many times higher than used for fat dissolving. The product has been used experimentally since 1966 and since 1975 been used and licensed in Germany for the treatment of fat embolism, dyslipidemia (high levels of blood fats) and alcohol-induced liver cirrhosis. In 2001 a study published in the USA by Patricia Rittes showed its efficacy in removing fat around the eye. Despite numerous studies to show its efficacy in fat removal the FDA in the USA has refused to license it because of the lack of double blind studies to show its complete safety and efficacious. Doing such studies is very expensive for a product that is cheap and not patentable as such there is no financial incentives to do the studies. Our VISTA Clinic Australia Melbourne cosmetic doctors have been using this product for over 10 years. Experienced cosmetic doctors have treated many hundreds of patients and have had no problems other than 3-7 days swelling, bruising and tenderness. A few patients have not responded as well as other in their loss of fat, but these were mostly those with larger areas of fat who probably would have been better candidates for liposuction which, for considerably more cost and downtime, can remove large volumes of fat.
What are the side effects?
Some common reactions are swelling, redness, pain, itching, bruising, discoloration and tenderness at the multiple injection sites. Some patients, with a history of allergies can develop localized, hypersensitivity reactions. The discomfort commonly lasts 3 days but may last longer in some patients (and in more sensitive sites such as on the face.) Bruising commonly lasts 1 week but also may be longer.
Potential but uncommon complications could be skin infection, pigmentation of the skin at the site of the injections, lumpiness post injection, and more serious allergic reactions.
How good are the results?
This procedure is being carried out for cosmetic reasons. VISTA Clinic Australia and Dr Miller give no guarantee of the success of the procedure as some patients do not respond even to multiple treatments. In our experience over 90% have a good to excellent result with this treatment. For those that do respond no guarantee is given as to the duration of the response as changes in food intake and exercise may lead to deposition of further fat.
Course of Treatment
Depending on the area and condition to be treated typical a course of treatment may comprise of 3 treatments, 12 weeks apart. Benefits may persist for several years after the end of treatment, however, sometimes maintenance treatments may be required at yearly intervals.
Cost of Treatments
Depending on area and condition to be treated each treatment may cost from $100-1200 – depending on the cost of the medication.