Fat-melting injections, a.k.a lipotherapy or lipodissolve treatments, have become increasingly popular in the beauty and weight-loss world. These injections are reported to be a non-invasive alternative to liposuction and consist of virtually painless injections that dissolve fat.

The drugs used most frequently in fat-melting injections are phosphatidylcholine and deoxycholate, which doctors and technicians blend with their own formulas of botanical ingredients, vitamins, and minerals. Injections enter problem areas and break down pockets of fat that are either absorbed into other body areas or excreted. A series of injections are usually required depending on the target area. This relatively pain-free procedure requires no recovery time and it's easy to see its appeal. Sound too good to be true? There may be a reason for that.

Proponents claim that fat-melting injections are a safe, effective, and permanent solution. However, the treatment is still considered experimental and the FDA has not approved the drugs for this use. In fact, the FDA recently contacted the Brazilian distributers and U.S. spas known to offer this procedure, ordering them to cease misleading customers with false claims. The FDA also published consumer warnings that advise:

  • There are no clinical studies or evidence that supports the claim that lipodissolve is effective for fat elimination.
  • The safety of these drugs or combination of drugs is unknown.
  • Side effects reported include permanent scarring, painful knots developing in the treated area, and skin deformation.

However, the FDA's main concern is that these companies were advertising falsely. They also did not disclose how prevalent the side effects were. Currently, there are some clinical trials being performed and so far they show some promise. According to preliminary results of a trial conducted by the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, 6 out of 7 participants displayed visible results and experienced no major side effects. Because these are so new, it's hard to know if there will be long-term effects or how high the risk of side-effects could be.

If you believe fat-melting injections are a good option for you, here are some suggestions for protecting yourself:

  • Work with a doctor experienced in lipotherapy rather than a spa technician. A doctor can explain your options and set your expectations.
  • Ask about the medication combination that will be used, and be sure to tell your doctor about any OTC or prescription medications you're currently taking.
  • Understand how many sessions you'll need in order to see results. Lipotherapy costs can run well into the thousands, so it may cost as much as liposuction by the end of your treatment.



FDA.org: "FDA Warns About Lipodissolve Product Claims." U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Web. April 7, 2010.


YourPlasticSurgeryGuide.com: "Lipodissolve: Is It Safe?" Consumer Guide to Plastic Surgery. Web. May 14, 2010.