FDA Warns Spas Against Fat-Melting Claims

The agency tells several medical spas to stop making false claims about lipodissolve.

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Want to get rid of your stubborn fat bulges without endless spinning classes or going under the knife? Lipodissolve, a fat-fighting procedure billed as liposuction without the risks, has been popular at "rejuvenation clinics" and "medi-spas" throughout the country, but the Food and Drug Administration yesterday decided to take action to warn consumers about lipodissolve's unknown hazards and dubious benefits. The agency issued warning letters to six medical spas for making false or misleading statements that their injections are safe and effective, despite the fact that they've never been studied in research trials or approved by the FDA.

Lipodissolve involves injecting small amounts of soy lecithin and bile salt directly into problem areas on the hips, waist, thighs, and buttocks, which supposedly melts away fat. The injections became wildly popular three years ago with spas opening up around the country and with doctors in every specialty—from pediatricians to dermatologists—taking weekend seminars to learn the procedure before opening fat-dissolving clinics.

Then reality hit. "Expect to lose between 1 to 2 inches of fat with no invasive surgery," promised MedSculpt, a lipodissolve provider in Rockville, Md. back in 2007 before it went out of business. Clients apparently weren't seeing such promising results and started redeeming their money-back guarantees. That's apparently what also happened to Fig Lipodissolve, one of the largest providers which had treated more than 11,000 patients at various clinics scattered around six states. It too went bankrupt a few years ago, shortly after I reported on their troubles. So, it appears the FDA is just putting the final nail in the lipodissolve coffin.

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