If you are considering getting lipodissolve, also called mesotherapy and liposhape, please first consider the recent FDA warnings issued against this untested, unproven procedure. In April, 2010—shortly after our article warning readers that lipodissolve has not been proven safe—the FDA contacted six different medical spas in the US to warn them not to make misleading claims about lipodissolve. Lipodissolve and the other catchy names it goes by are becoming popular trends in some circles, but the procedure raises ethical questions against those who persist on providing it despite lack of medical support.
What is Lipodissolve?
Lipodissolve and its many other titles involves injecting chemicals into locations where one hopes to lessen the amount of fat present. There are many chemicals and combinations of chemicals that may be injected into the body, and the most common two are phosphatidylocholine and deoxycholate. The medical spas and even some physicians who advertise this procedure call it safe and effective; some even claim it is better than liposuction. This is dishonest at best, because lipodissolve has not been demonstrated to be safe or effective. Because there is not enough scientific basis to medically sanction this procedure for human use, it is not FDA-approved. Furthermore, the reported complications make it unlikely that the FDA will approve it anytime soon, and they probably won’t ever.
What Are the Risks of Lipodissolve?
With such little scientific knowledge about lipodissolve, we cannot quantify the risks of lipodissolve, but those receiving it have experienced complications such as scarring, skin irregularities, blood vessel damage, and subcutaneous nodules that cause pain. Perhaps even more dangerous than these reports is the fact that those who insist on offering lipodissolve may have little respect for other scientific and medical safety conventions.
Without a broad and precise understanding of the exact risks and effects of lipodissolve, it is virtually impossible to administer the treatment using the amount of control needed to deliver the best results, and it is also difficult to know the best way to treat complications. Science is not on the side of lipodissolve injectors, so the best a practitioner of lipodissolve can do is guesswork.
What Warnings Did the FDA Give?
In April we saw that the FDA gave warnings to the following spas:
• Monarch Medspa in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania
• Spa 35 in Boise, Idaho
• Medical Cosmetic Enhancements in Chevy Chase, Maryland
• Innovative Directions in Health in Edina, Minnesota
• PURE Med Spa in Boca Raton, Florida
• All About You Med Spa in Madison, Ind.
A Brazillian company also received warning letters because of its marketing tactics online:
The FDA takes false advertising seriously, as it should, because misleading the public about their health is a serious and dangerous offense. In these cases, spas and websites were reprimanded for making unsupported claims. Take, for example, the letter that went to All About You Med Spa that included this statement: “The claims made for your lipodissolve products are false and misleading in that they are not supported by substantial evidence or substantial clinical experience.” The FDA further instructed the above businesses to cease their unproven and misleading claims, and to notify the FDA within 15 work days of how they are correcting their violations.
What Are the Alternatives to Lipodissolve?
Lipodissolve has been touted as a safe and nonsurgical alternative to liposuction, but the truth is that liposuction is the safe, proven, and effective alternative to lipodissolve. Liposuction has an established and respected reputation for a reason; as a body-sculpting technique, it improves the distribution of fat across your body, and it has been tested, studied, practiced, evaluated, and demonstrated to be a very valuable and effective treatment.
There has been much misinformation about liposuction safety, which has likely driven many to seek new fads like lipodissolve. But when we look at the facts, we find that tumescent liposuction is a reliable and safe procedure associated with swift recovery time. This type of liposuction is performed under local anesthesia, which is not only easier on the body, but also enables the doctor and patient to communicate with each other and ensure that the muscles beneath the fat are not damaged or are only slightly, and there is almost no blood loss.
The bottom line is that a few media reports that have spread like a child’s game of telephone have scared many people away from a safe procedure and toward one that is potentially dangerous. In this case, it is essential that you seek reliable medical advice from a qualified doctor who respects medical safety practices and FDA advice.
Liposuction Can Achieve Your Desired Contour
If you have a stable weight with a few stubborn problem areas that dieting and exercise have not improved, you may be a good candidate for liposuction in Los Angeles. Liposuction is not a weight-reduction method, but a proven way to shape and contour the body and correct those bulges that just won’t go away, making the fat distributed across the body in a more attractive way.
As a specialist in tumescent liposuction, Dr. Steinsapir does not perform liposuction under general anesthesia because tumescent liposuction has been proven even safer. He is a highly trained oculofacial plastic surgeon and cosmetic surgeon with multiple fellowships, and he currently practices in both Beverly Hills and at UCLA where he works as an assistant clinical professor at one of the most respected medical hospitals in the world. Dr. Steinsapir always approaches you as an individual, taking the time to listen to your concerns, needs, and goals, while medically evaluating your situation to find the least invasive solution and custom-plan your treatment. Please contact us today to learn about how a no-risk, no-commitment personal consultation with Dr. Steinsapir can help you understand the best scientifically based solution for you.
Two common problems in the undereye area are the absence of fat and the presence of excessive fat. Too little fat gives the eyes a hollow, sunken appearance, while too much fat makes them look puffy and swollen. Because the appearance of the eyes makes a big difference in how we read facial expressions, correcting excess fat under your eyes can greatly improve your appearance. While searching for solutions through cosmetic eye procedures, you may hear about a procedure called mesotherapy, which is being actively marketed by a few less ethical practitioners today.
What Is Mesotherapy?
Mesotherapy is a procedure in which a solution is injected into the body with the hope of reducing fat. The solution includes chemicals like aminophylline, dimethylethanolamine, glutathione, hyaluronidase, isoproterenol, L-arginine, lidocaine pentoxifylline, yohimbine, and the bile salt deoxycholate and phosphatidylcholine.
Mesotheraphy is marketed under many catchy names like Lipodissolve, LipoShape, and Lipostabil. Unfortunately, this procedure sounds appealing but is actually untested and unproven, making it a very real danger to those seeking treatment.
Is Mesotherapy FDA-Approved?
Mesotherapy has not been tested enough to demonstrate if it is safe, and we have documented some unpleasant side effects. Mesotherapy remains an unproven treatment that not only doesn’t live up to its hype, but also presents a serious threat to anyone trying to sort through eyelid surgery options. Mesotherapy dangers include scarring, damage to blood vessels, and pain.
For these reasons, the FDA has not approved mesotherapy. The FDA will not endorse mesotherapy for human use unless further research can resolve its side effects and prove it safe and effective. It is unlikely that mesotherapy will ever receive FDA approval. It can destroy fat cells, but it also causes significant inflammation.
You may be wondering what this means for removal of fat under eyes, since this represents a small yet significant fat deposit. If mesotherapy someday be approved for under the eyes, then why not use it now? In answer, you especially shouldn’t use mesotherapy under the eyes now or anytime soon. The area under the eyes is especially sensitive to aging and treatment. Because the skin here is so thin and delicate, it’s very hard to disguise problems in this area. There are a narrower range of treatments that are proven to work here, primarily because the fragile skin here cannot compensate for even small mistakes or irregularities. You don’t want to damage an already-sensitive area by experimenting with an unapproved and unsafe treatment. And that’s exactly what someone performing mesotherapy is doing; they are conducting an uncontrolled experiment on you with chemicals not approved by the FDA. Most doctors will not administer mesotherapy for ethical reasons, but there are a few people hoping to make a quick profit who will try to tell you that mesotherapy is safe. Here’s the bottom line: if the FDA hasn’t approved it, they don’t have science on their side.
Here’s another word of caution: those who administer mesotherapy do not respect the recommendations of the FDA, so you are at increased risk for infection because these same practitioners may also disregard safe preparation procedures. The chemicals are concocted in an unlicenced lab, which gives you no assurance that they were mixed under ideal conditions.
Alternative Treatments for Undereye Bags
Overall, mesotherapy is not a suitable alternative to liposuction and it is certainly no alternative to lower eyelid blepharoplasty. If you are seeking treatment for your undereye bags in particular, a personal consultation may reveal that blepharoplasty or lower eyelid surgery is a much better option for removing fat under eyes. These are flexible procedures that enable a qualified, experienced oculoplastic surgeon to present different treatment options to you and customize a procedure to help this sensitive area. The eyelids and surrounding areas are incredibly complex, and our brains are programmed to pick up on very subtle irregularies, assymmetries, and problems in these areas, cuing us in on how a person is feeling and determining how attractive we view them as. This is why only a proven, time-tested treatment should be administered by a highly experienced doctor who can treat you with the precision necessary to avoid mistakes while improving this area.
Find a Doctor Who Cares
Dr. Steinsapir specializes in cosmetic eye procedures in Beverly Hills and Los Angeles. His approach is to work with a patient to determine their goals and then customize a minimally-invasive treatment plan that makes sense and, most importantly, works. Dr. Steinsapir has completed numerous fellowships and teaches at the prestigious Jules Stein Institute at UCLA. Please contact us today to find out how Dr. Steinsapir can customize your safe treatment program today.