Refinement of Technique in Injection Lipolysis Based on Scientific Studies and Clinical Evaluation

Diane Duncan*, J. Peter Rubin, Loren Golitz, Stephen Badylak, Lynne Kesel, John Freund, Danielle Duncan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


The unusual evolution of the practice of injection lipolysis has generated doubt regarding its safety and efficacy among many physicians. During the early years of this decade, mesotherapy was practiced by a few physicians, but the practice was not widespread. Paramedical practitioners and business developers saw the market potential for nonsurgical fat reduction, and the practice of injection lipolysis was packaged and sold before the mechanism of action was understood. Because of the early lack of scientific research and understanding of the limitations of injection lipolysis, many unsuitable patients were treated with this modality. To better understand the way injection lipolysis works, the inclusion and exclusion criteria for patients desiring treatment, and an accurate clinical evaluation format for potential treatment regions, a series of scientific studies was performed in 2007 and early 2008. These studies included a serial histopathology evaluation of treated patients over time, a stem cell study performed with the McGowan Research Institute in Pittsburgh, an animal study performed in conjunction with the Colorado State University veterinary school, and a prospective multicenter clinical trial using injection lipolysis in the back roll region. The purpose of these studies was to determine the way injection lipolysis works, how modifications of the formula and technique change the outcome, the role of each constituent component of various formulas, and the degree of fat reduction and skin retraction that is attainable with these treatments. The influence of depth of injection, distance between injection points, volume of injection, and ratios of constituent components was studied. The degree of topographic contour correction and the amount of volume reduction were evaluated. Following a review of these recent studies, an updated recommendation for the clinical practice of injection lipolysis was formulated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)195-209
Number of pages15
JournalClinics in Plastic Surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Injection lipolysis
  • Mesotherapy
  • Phosphatidylcholine
  • Skin retraction
  • Sodium deoxycholate
  • Stem cell study


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