Lipodissolve would dissolve unwanted fat, it was touted. But now it is the chain that was offering the procedure, the Fig. that stands dissolved, almost.
Its website says, "We are sorry to report that, due to economic conditions beyond our control, fig. ceased operations on December 7, 2007....The company is currently consulting with counsel and will likely seek legal relief under the bankruptcy code to ensure it preserves all options including the ability to reorganize and continue operations. Current patients undergoing treatment will be contacted by the company regarding continued treatment options or making a refund claim. "
Bankruptcy forced by irate consumers wanting their money back. That is the story behind the crash.
The Fig. had operated 15 offices in seven states that promoted a series of injections, at a cost of about $2,000 per body part, to reduce fat deposits on areas like the thighs and abdomen.
The procedure involves injections of drug compounds that have not been approved for cosmetic medical use by the Food and Drug Administration.
Since Fig., originally named Advanced LipoDissolve Center, opened its first office in 2005, its clinics performed more than 100,000 antifat treatments across the nation, the company said in an interview in September.
In the last three years, 145 clients of Fig. have filed complaints to the Better Business Bureau of Greater St. Louis citing lack of results and adverse reactions, including pain and swelling.
Lipodissolve involves deeper injections of a compound drug that is supposed to break down cells in the fatty layer under skin.
But neither the drug formula used in lipodissolve nor the method of treatment is standardized. And researchers disagree whether the shots eliminate fat cells, or merely liquefy fat so that it shifts around in the body, raising the possibility of long-term consequences such as the aggravation of heart disease.
"Cosmetic medicine is an incredibly frightening and unregulated frontier right now," cautioned Dr. Audrey G. Kunin, a dermatologist of Kansas.
Referring to some attempts to regulate clinics offering lipodissolve procedures, she said, "If they ban one drug, people will just start offering injections of a different drug cocktail. They should rather outlaw completely the injection of any type of agent into the body that claims to reduce or eliminate fat."