Monday, July 14, 2008

Fat-Dissolving Injections Possibly Dangerous And Ineffective, Say Cosmetic Surgeons

Injection Being Made Into A Man's Buttocks
Weight loss without exercise or liposuction sounds too good to be true, but the marketers and providers of so-called, fat-dissolving injections say it's possible with a solution containing a soybean derivative called phosphatidylcholine and an emulsifier called sodium deoxycholate. Providers of these injections claim that the substances emulsify fat which is then excreted in the patients urine, but some cosmetic surgeons doubt this is what's happening.

A typical injection procedure involves being stuck a number of times (upwards of 50 times per treatment) with the needle from a pneumatic gun, which then injects the substance into the fat. The procedure is extremely quick and can last as little time as twenty minutes. The most common side effects are swelling and itching - some patients do have allergic reactions.

But do the injections work? According to some patients, they work brilliantly. According to other patients, they don't work at all. A survey published by the Aesthetic Surgery Journal reports that 12 percent out of 17,000 people are dissatisfied with the results of the injections.

The FDA has not evaluated the alleged fat-dissolving substance for efficacy or safety and the makers of the substance are trying to block any evaluation, claiming that the concoction is a "natural compound" and not a drug; therefore, not subject to the FDA's regulation. The FDA seems to disagree and is being pushed by concerned doctors into stopping any further treatments until the drug can be evaluated for safety and efficacy.

"The stuff may work," says Dr. Joel Schlessinger, president of the American Society of Cosmetic Dermatology and Aesthetic Surgery. "But the concern is, what does it do while it is reducing that fat?"

Dr. Schlessinger has written to the FDA and asked them to investigate, as have many other medical professionals and consumer health advocates. The FDA has responded by saying that any drug must be approved by the FDA in order to marketed and sold in the United States.

"I think what the FDA is saying here, in so many words, is that this is unlawful marketing and it should stop," says Cindy Pearson, of the National Women's Health Network, a consumer advocacy group.

Despite not being FDA approved and begin questioned by concerned docs, the procedure is drawing more patients willing to take the risks for flatter stomachs and slimmer thighs, plopping down thousands of dollars for a chance to be thinner. Let's hope for their sake the compound remains safe, even if it proves to be ineffective.

No comments:

Post a Comment