Dissolving Fat


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Fat dissolving injections — when you hear this expression, it may remind you of other things that are too good to be true, like free money or artificial sweeteners that taste exactly like real sugar. There’s no way to just dissolve fat, is there? It has to be burned off via hours of running and sit-ups. Yet the very type of fat that fat dissolving injections are meant to treat is the resistant kind, the type that is difficult to eliminate even with exercise and a healthy diet. These injections are useful not only for reducing the accumulation of fat, but also for helping improve the appearance of cellulite. They can be a great ally if you want to change the appearance of your body and you want to do it without surgical procedures like liposuction.


Fat dissolving injections, injection lipolysis, mesotherapy, intralipotherapy — practitioners do refer to this type of treatment by more than one name. Patients also often treat these terms as though they are synonyms. The reason why is because there isn’t a general consensus on what each of these expressions means. Broadly speaking, what they all have in common is that they are injectable techniques used to reduce fat.

Intralipotherapy involves the injection of a fat-dissolving substance directly into localized areas of stubborn fat. The process by which fat breaks down is called lipolysis, and injection lipolysis is a procedure where this lipolysis process is brought about through the injection of a medicine. So, fat dissolving injections, intralipotherapy, and injection lipolysis are essentially the same thing.

Mesotherapy is another therapeutic treatment that can help to diminish localized fat. The technique was originally developed in France to treat different dermatological, circulatory, and sports-related issues. European physicians started superficially injecting different substances, ranging from medicines to vitamins, amino acids, minerals, antioxidants, and plant extracts. Some of those substances were meant to dissolve fat, which is how mesotherapy and intralipotherapy, or injection lipolysis, came to be seen as the same thing.


The substance most frequently injected is a pharmaceutical component called deoxycholic acid. It is a bile salt that is generated in the liver. The body utilizes it to break up fat particles so that they can later be absorbed in the intestine.

Deoxycholic acid has the ability to dissolve fat cells for good. When this acid is injected into the fat tissue, the fat melts and is then eliminated naturally through the lymphatic system and the body’s metabolic processes. Some fat dissolving injections, such as for example Aqualyx, contain sodium deoxycholate, which is a modified form of deoxycholic acid that also causes the destruction of fat cells.

Another component used for intralipotherapy is phosphatidylcholine, a derivative of soy lecithin, also present in the liver. When injected, phosphatidylcholine is able to destabilize and break down fat cell membranes.

Both substances, phosphatidylcholine and deoxycholic acid, are naturally present in the human body. Therefore, they are biocompatible, are reabsorbed quickly by the body, and the risks associated with their use are quite small.

Sculptra, or poly-L-lactic acid, is an injectable treatment with a powerful collagen stimulating effect. This effect is gradual, and improves the appearance of cellulite. Cellulite occurs when there is an alteration of the body’s connective tissue under the skin. This alteration is a result of the accumulation of fat. As the fat presses against the connective tissue, it forms small nodules that look like dimples on the skin. Sculptra can be injected into the buttocks, arms, knees, and abdomen. Although it won’t destroy the fat responsible for cellulite, little by little, it does stimulate the formation of collagen, which in turn fills in the butt dimples. By structuring and filling in the skin in these areas of the body, Sculptra helps erase the appearance of cellulite, improves contours, and creates skin that looks toned and smooth.

Some fat dissolving injections are cocktails of different ingredients. For example, vitamin C and iron are thought to cause the spontaneous death of fat cells that have reached the end of their life cycle. The function of amino acids is to aid the liver in processing fat cells, accelerating the process of disintegration of accumulated fat. L-carnitine is a specific combination of two amino acids, methionine and lysine, that hastens the metabolization process in the body. This boosts the burning of body fat and also transforms lipids into energy needed by the body, indirectly increasing the burning of calories. A formula consisting of peptides and hyaluronic acid has the effect of breaking down fat and also stimulating the formation of new collagen, which promotes supple skin.

Typical Injection Sites

Many patients want to rid themselves of their double chins, so the most common treatment area for fat dissolving injections is under the chin to treat what’s called submental fat. However, these injections (Kybella) can also work to eliminate stubborn fat deposits anywhere a patient considers them unsightly — in the hips, thighs, stomach, back, and buttocks, even the arms and knees. It should be noted that fat dissolving injections aren’t recommended for people suffering from obesity.


Fat dissolving injections are considered an ambulatory “lunchtime treatment” because they can be administered in about half an hour. There’s almost no downtime, although doctors do suggest that, post-injection, you take it easy for a few days. Compare this with liposuction, which is actual surgery.

To minimize the risk of side effects like swelling, bruising, or redness, the injector who carries out the procedure should always be an expert practitioner. They will apply local anesthetic onto the injection sites so that any pain is minimized. General anesthesia is not necessary.

Depending on the individual case, the doctor will recommend anywhere from two to six injection sessions, spaced three to four weeks apart.

When will the results be visible?

The treated area may be slightly swollen after treatment, so you shouldn’t expect to see any immediate improvement. In fact, the elements in fat dissolving injections often work bit by bit within the tissues. So, the process of fat removal may take a while, and it could be four weeks or more until you see a clear decrease in fat volume after a cycle of injection sessions. However, an added benefit you’ll love is that as the fat dissolves, your skin’s natural elasticity will cause it to contract, thus giving the area better tone and overall definition.

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