Researchers Will Test 'Fat-Dissolving' Therapy Claims

The treatment is gaining in popularity, but its safety and effectiveness are unknown

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FRIDAY, April 21, 2006 (HealthDay News) -- An increasingly popular "fat-dissolving" treatment called mesotherapy, better known as Lipodissolve, promises to help users drop weight -- but is it safe, and does it really work?

To find out, the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) announced Friday it is launching a double-blind placebo study focused on the treatment. They made the announcement at the annual meeting of the Aesthetic Society in Orlando, Fla.

Mesotherapy was developed as a separate medical specialty in France in the early 1950s, and many mesotherapy centers are opening in the United States.

The treatment involves the injection of various compounds into the skin in order to break down fat cells, but the absence of proper protocols and regulation of this therapy may put patients at risk. The goal of the study is to provide doctors and patients with more specific and standardized protocols, as well as more information about the possible risks and benefits of this therapy.

"Our goal is to provide physicians and their patients with the information they need to make good decisions. Currently, we cannot endorse the injection of phosphatidylcholine, sodium deoxycholate, or any drugs, vitamins, plant extracts or hormones into subcutaneous fat as practiced in mesotherapy/Lipodissolve treatments, because we don't have enough clinical data or FDA approval to support their use," Dr. Mark Jewell, ASAPS president, said in a prepared statement.

The study was designed by the Aesthetic Society and funded by the Aesthetic Surgery Education and Research Foundation. The findings are expected to be published in the Aesthetic Surgery Journal, the peer-reviewed journal of the ASAPS.

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases offers advice on selecting a safe and effective weight loss program.

SOURCE: ASAPS, news release, April 21, 2006

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