How Effective Are Fat-Dissolving Injections?

Medically Reviewed on 5/5/2022
How effective are fat dissolving injections?
An alternative to liposuction, a fat-dissolving injection helps break down the fat cells (adipocytes) in the body.

Fat-dissolving injections (injection lipolysis) can effectively eliminate the fat from stubborn areas of the body, such as the chin and hips.

  • Sometimes, none of the steps of diet and exercising help to remove fat from these areas. This is when these injections can come to the rescue.
  • The effect is visible within six weeks of the first session and usually lasts for a long time if proper measures are taken to avoid weight gain.
  • More than 70 percent of people who have undertaken this treatment report they were satisfied with the results.

What are examples of fat-dissolving injections?

Examples of fat dissolving injections include Aqualyx and Kybella, which are the brand names of two similar fat-dissolving compounds. Out of these, only Kybella is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

An alternative to liposuction, a fat-dissolving injection helps break down the fat cells (adipocytes) in the body. This causes a localized inflammatory response from the body, which helps remove fat cells from the body via urine.

How do Aqualyx and Kybella differ from each other?

Aqualyx is not currently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its use in the United States. The injectable is used in Europe in countries, such as Great Britain and Ireland. So, you may find it difficult to get a surgeon or dermatologist who can administer this injection for you. Even if you come across doctors who administer the injection, they use it off-label, which means the drug has not gone through vigorous testing according to the FDA norms. So, it depends on you whether to opt for the injection or not.

Aqualyx is made from a compound from the deoxycholate family of acids. These acid causes fat destruction in the body and help you provide a good body contour.

Kybella is an FDA-approved drug that doctors inject to reduce double chin caused by the deposition of excess fat.

Kybella is made of sodium deoxycholate, which is a compound that destroys fat cells by converting them into deoxycholic acid, which does the actual work.

How are fat-dissolving injections administered?

There may be slight variation in the process of administering fat-dissolving injections, such as Aqualyx and Kybella.

Here are the steps followed in most clinics:

  1. The doctor will clean the area with a sterilizing solution.
  2. You will receive a local, numbing injection to make the procedure painless.
  3. Your doctor will then inject the fat-dissolving solution into the targeted area of your body.
  4. Your doctor will use an ultrasound device to ensure that Aqualyx goes properly in the targeted area so that maximum fat cells are destroyed.

The process usually gets completed within half an hour to an hour. You may require anywhere between three to eight sessions, one session being paced two to four weeks apart, to see the maximum effect.

What are the potential side effects of fat dissolving injections?

The side effects from fat dissolving injections are minor and include:

You can use an ice pack to resolve the swelling, which usually subsides within 48 hours.

Nearly half of the patients may experience numbness at the injection site, which should go away within 30 days.


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Medically Reviewed on 5/5/2022
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Di Toro G, Rauso R. Skin Necrosis Following Adipocitolitic Solution Injections. Aesthet Surg J. 2016 Feb;36(2):NP74-6.