Lipolysis Explained

By: Dr. Rajesh Mohan, MD, Mar 02, 2015
  Article

Dissolving unwanted localized areas of fat

Lipolysis is a method of dissolving small to medium unwanted localized areas of fat that are not affected by diet or exercise. Lipolysis treatments are the most cost effective, non-surgical, aesthetic, fat reducing treatments currently available. Small injections of a natural medicine are administered locally.

How does Lipolysis work?

Through the injection of the active substance called Phosphatidylcholine (PPC) directly into the subcutaneous tissue, local fat deposits will be destroyed, allowing the fat that is being stored in the cell to get released, resulting in a reduction of the body circumference in the treated area.

Phosphatidylcholine is a natural product found in our body. Its main role in the body is to help emulsify and breakdown fat and cholesterol, which is then naturally absorbed by the body. It is a key constituent of our cell membranes and high density lipoproteins (the good cholesterol). Phosphatidylcholine is been used extensively all over the world for its cholesterol lowering effect and its characteristic as a 'Liver protective'.

How many treatment sessions are required?

You can expect results after about 2-3 treatment sessions. The number of sessions needed vary from person to person and by area. This variability is due to individual responses to the medications as well as the type of fat that is being treated. Soft fat works very well with Lipolysis, while fibrous fat is more difficult to treat with Lipolysis (as it is with liposuction) because more of the fat cells will weaken instead of completely bursting. During the consultation, the Doctor will inform you as to how many sessions he believes you may need to achieve your desired result. It's not a question of whether Lipolysis will work, but rather how many treatments it will take to attain a goal in reduction.

Are there side effects?

The procedure is mild compared to most cosmetic procedures today. There have been no reports to date of severe adverse complications. Usually patients experience soreness, bruising and a mild swelling on the areas treated lasting for about a week. Sometimes the presences of small lumps are felt in the area; these are painless, invisible and transient. Uncommon side effects include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, infection (rare), and prolonged bruising.

Can I go back to work after a treatment session?

Yes. Patients can resume normal daily activities after treatment, but this will depend on the amount of soreness you have, the area you have treated, and the type of work you do. Lipolysis treatment usually takes 45min to 1 hour to complete.

Is Lipolsis painful?

Slight burning sensation during the injection is expected. Should you have a low pain threshold, we can then apply an anesthetic cream to make you feel comfortable.

What does the treatment with Lipolysis involve?

Lypolysis is injected into the treatment site with a fine needle after the area has been cleaned with chlorhexidine and alcohol disinfectant. Multiple injections will be made to cover the treatment area, with a spacing of about 1.5 cm per injection. You will usually be lying down during this process, and will need some time to recover before you will be able to drive yourself home. We prepare to provide about 2-5 treatments per area at monthly intervals, although most patients require just 2-3 treatments. The number of treatments varies from person to person depending on the region and the size of the area. Women usually respond better to the treatment than men due to the difference in the structure of connective tissue and fat cells.

* It is important to be hydrated prior to treatment and to drink plenty of fluids post treatment. The lipolysis treated area must be massaged every night for a period of two weeks.

Can anyone undergo Lipolysis?

The following types of patients cannot undergo Lipolysis treatment:

  • Pregnant women and breast-feeding moms
  • Diabetics
  • Patients with Cardiovascular diseases
  • Patients with certain allergies, specifically Soy and/or Egg Allergies
  • Patients who currently have or used to have malignant disorders
  • Patients with blood disorder
  • Patients with kidney diseases

How long do I benefit from Lipolysis treatment?

Lipolysis results are permanent if you keep a healthy diet and get regular exercise.

Lipolysis: Pre and Post Treatment Instructions

Pre Treatment

  • Avoid alcoholic beverages within 48-24 hours prior to your treatment, specifically red wine.
  • Avoid anti-inflammatory drugs (Ibuprofen, Motrin, Advil, Aleve, Vioxx, etc.), Aspirin, Vitamin E, or Ginkgo Biloba one week prior to treatment. This will reduce the possible side effects of bruising and/or swelling in the treated area(s).
  • Avoid products/treatments that boost metabolism (Diet pills and Endermologie) one week prior to treatment.
  • Discontinue Retin-A three (3) days before and three (3) days after treatment.
  • Beta-blockers (used in treating high blood pressure) and certain thyroid conditions can interfere chemically with the procedure. Please notify physician prior to treatment.
  • If you are allergic to soy, you should not have this treatment as the active ingredients are derivatives of soy.
  • You cannot be pregnant or breastfeeding to receive this treatment.
  • Patients who have a history of recurring cold soars (Herpes simplex type1) should start oral Valtrex 500 mg tablets 2 days prior to your Fillers treatment and continue for 3 days after treatment.
  • If you develop a cold sore, blemish, or rash, etc. prior to your appointment, you must reschedule.
  • If you have a special event or vacation coming up, schedule your treatment at least 2 weeks in advance.

Post Treatment

  • The first two hours post treatment, you will feel a slight sensation of itching and burning. Only 4% of all patients need a pain-killing tablet on the first night after treatment.
  • It is important that you ice the area for 24 hours post treatment to localize the injection.
  • Bandaging may be required. Most treatments generally have 1-2 days downtime.
  • After your treatment, you may experience redness, itching, swelling or bruising. This should last less than seven days. Cold compresses may be used immediately after treatment to reduce swelling. If the redness and/or swelling or any other reactions do not go away after seven days, please contact your physician.
  • You will experience tenderness for a few days or possibly until your next treatment. Please keep in touch with Dr Mohan if the tenderness continues to worsen daily.
  • Nulook Medspa would like you to come in for a follow up 7 days post treatment.
  • If the pain is uncomfortable, use acetaminophen (Tylenol, Atasol) following the directions on the bottle. Do not use ASA (Aspirin) as it may increase bruising at the site of injection.
  • Avoid touching the treated area for six hours following the treatment. After that, you can wash the area gently.
  • It is important that the amount of movement in the area injected be immobilized as much as possible for the next 48-72 hours.
  • Sunbathing and cold outdoor activities should be avoided until the redness and/or swelling go down.
  • After Lipolysis treatment, it is important to keep hydrated and to drink plenty of fluids. The lipolysis treated area must be massaged every night for a period of two weeks.
  • Avoid exercise and alcohol, especially Red wine for at least six hours after the treatment.

Dr. R. Mohan, director and founder of Nulook Medspa in Etobicoke, ON, is a renowned family physician and cosmetic laser physician. For more than 25 years he has pursued his goal of providing the finest and most honest care possible. This standard of excellence has made him a favourite among his clients and his peers. With his attention to detail he personally oversees all aspects of his Medical Spa operation.

His impressive accomplishments include being a member of The Canadian Association of Aesthetic Medicine (CAAM), The American Society of Laser Medicine and Surgery (ASLMS) and a surgical diploma in Orthopedics from India. After coming to Canada in 1982, Dr. Mohan did a clinical residency in Neurosurgery in Ottawa and an internship at University of Toronto.