Procedures/ Injection Lipolysis

Injection Lipolysis

Procedures 6 min read


Injection Lipolysis

Are you bothered by stubborn fat deposits in areas like the face, neck, or body? Does a double chin make you self-conscious? Do your love handles refuse to go with diet and exercise? A nonsurgical fat reduction treatment called injection lipolysis could help. It is a minimally invasive procedure for treatment of localized fat. The procedure involves fat dissolving injections of chemicals called phosphatidylcholine PPC and deoxycholate DC in the target areas. Keep reading to learn more about body contouring with injection lipolysis treatments.

What is injection lipolysis?

Injection lipolysis is an FDA approved non surgical procedure that reduces the number of fat cells in the target area. It is a minimally invasive aesthetic surgery treatment that uses a chemical called deoxycholic acid or phosphatidylcholine to damage and kill fat cells.

Injection lipolysis is a non surgical alternative to body contouring treatments like liposuction or lipoplasty. The injection lipolysis procedure can be used to effectively get rid of pockets of subcutaneous fat (fat pads under the skin) in problem areas like the double chin or love handles.

How does injection lipolysis work?

The injections contain a chemical called sodium deoxycholate DC or phosphatidylcholine PPC. Deoxycholic acid is found in the bile secreted by the liver and gallbladder in the human body to digest fats. The chemicals have metabolic and structural effects on fat cells. They destroy the cell membranes of fat cells. The destruction of the cell membrane causes the fat cells to liquefy, dissolve, and die, thus resulting in fat reduction in the treatment area. This destruction of a fat cell is the underlying principle behind the efficacy of injection lipolysis. Interestingly, the procedure was first developed to treat fat embolism (this is a condition in which a piece of fat gets lodged in a blood vessel and blocks the flow of blood).

Indications of fat dissolving injections: Reasons to get injection lipolysis

As noted, injection lipolysis is a cosmetic treatment that can help you get rid of stubborn pockets of subcutaneous fat (fat collections under the skin) without undergoing a surgery like liposuction or lipoplasty. You should be aware, however, that injection lipolysis treatments are not a weight loss method. These cosmetic treatments should be combined with a healthy lifestyle including a balanced diet and regular exercise to get the best results in terms of body shape.

Facial rejuvenation

Injection lipolysis with sodium deoxycholate or phosphatidylcholine is recommended for the removal of small, localized, stubborn pockets of fat that commonly occur in areas like the double chin, eyebags, and jowls.

Body contouring

The treatments are also offered for areas like the flanks (love handles), armpits, upper back, upper arms, tummy, buttocks, thighs, and calves in patients desiring body sculpting. Many people find that fat deposits in these areas are resistant to diet and exercise. It is worth noting that injection lipolysis treatments are offered off label for removal of fat pads from some parts of the body.

What's the difference between mesotherapy and injection lipolysis?

Mesotherapy is a non surgical technique that involves the injection of various substances like vitamins, hormones, enzymes, and plant extracts to tighten and rejuvenate aging and damaged skin and remove excess fat. Injection lipolysis is a type of mesotherapy.

Types of fat dissolving injections

There are two chemicals used for injection lipolysis. The first is sodium deoxycholate DC (brand names Kybella, Belkyra, GeoLysis). The second is mesotherapy using phosphatidylcholine or PPC (brand name Lipostabil). A combination of substances - phosphatidylcholine and deoxycholate injections - may also be used on fat deposits (brand names Dermastabilon, LipoDissolve, Aqualyx).

How effective is lipolysis with deoxycholic acid?

Various factors can influence the efficacy of injection lipolysis, including the consistency of the fat deposits (soft fat with less connective tissue dissolves more easily). The size of the area where fat reduction is desired also plays a role - in general, injection lipolysis is suitable for fat reduction in smaller areas. More invasive treatments like liposuction are recommended for larger areas. More than one treatment session may be required if a larger area is being treated.

What are the results of sodium deoxycholate injection lipolysis?

Injection lipolysis treatment destroys fat cells - they cannot grow back and are gone forever. This means the results can be expected to last indefinitely. However, some fat cells remain in the treated area. If you gain weight, these fat cells can increase in size and lead to the reappearance of subcutaneous pockets of fat in the treated area.

How long does it take to see results?

The body needs time to absorb and eliminate the broken down fat tissue in the treatment areas. It can, therefore, take 4-8 weeks for the results of injection lipolysis to be fully noticeable. Further improvements may be visible up to 12 weeks after the treatment. Most patients need 2-4 treatment sessions to get the desired results. A subsequent treatment session is offered roughly 4 weeks after the previous one to allow the body time to absorb the subcutaneous fat.

How long do results from fat dissolving injections last?

As noted, the results of phosphatidylcholine or deoxycholate injections on subcutaneous fat are permanent, as long as you don't gain a significant amount of weight.

Does injection lipolysis for localized fat deposits require anesthesia?

Injection lipolysis is performed under local anesthesia. Your doctor will use a numbing medicine to reduce discomfort from the injections.

Who is not a candidate for injection lipolysis?

Your dermatologist or aesthetic provider will examine you before recommending the treatment. People with loose skin or poor skin tone may not be the best candidates for this procedure. The treatment is also not recommended for pregnant or lactating women and people with certain medical conditions such as active infections, inflammatory disorders of connective tissue, kidney disease, liver disease, or blood clotting problems.

Injection lipolysis procedure

The process is quite simple. Your provider will first clean the treatment area and inject a local anesthetic (numbing medicine) to reduce discomfort. Following this, a precise amount of medication will be injected with fine needles in a grid-like pattern that is pre-marked on the skin.

Recovering from injection lipolysis

You may experience some minor discomfort, swelling, bruising, redness, and hardness in the treated area, which will resolve and soften over time. Application of ice packs can help reduce discomfort and swelling. Your doctor may prescribe an anti-inflammatory pain medication for a few days. There is no downtime after injection lipolysis and you can return to regular activities the same day.

Risks and side effects of fat dissolving injections

What are the side effects of injection lipolysis?

Injection lipolysis mesotherapy is an FDA approved, non surgical, minimally invasive treatment. The risk of suffering a side effect is low. The most common side effects include redness, swelling, pain, numbness, or hardness of the skin at the injection site. These side effects are usually temporary and resolve in a few hours, but they can sometimes last for a couple of weeks.

What are the risks of injection lipolysis?

More serious complications include injury to a nerve leading to an asymmetric smile, dysphagia (trouble swallowing), infection or ulceration at the injection site, alopecia (hair loss), and tissue necrosis (death of cells). These complications are extremely rare when injection lipolysis is performed by a qualified and experienced aesthetic surgery provider.

How much does injection lipolysis cost?

The cost of injection lipolysis with phosphatidylcholine and deoxycholate varies, depending on where you are getting the treatments, the experience level of your aesthetic surgery provider, and the total number of treatment sessions required. The average cost of a vial of Kybella or Belkyra is $600 to $750 based on estimates from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Other treatments like LipoDissolve, Lipostabil, Dermastabilon, and Aqualyx are somewhat cheaper, with the average cost of a vial being $150.

Finding a provider

Got a question about injection lipolysis? The MeTime app makes it easy to find experienced aesthetic surgery providers in your area. You can click and upload pictures and have suggestions sent directly to you. Want to find out how to get rid of localized fat deposits with a non surgical treatment? Try the MeTime app now!