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Drawing from injecting fat-dissolving drugs

Ho Chi Minh CityAfter being discharged from the hospital for more than 5 months, 30-year-old Minh Thanh still has not recovered from the obsessions of more than a dozen large and small surgeries in half a year to treat complications caused by injections of fat-dissolving drugs.

Her body still has huge scars, sometimes oozing fluid, she “just wants to turn back time so I don’t inject this terrible thing into her body”.

Last year, Thanh was attracted by an advertisement for “reducing visceral fat” by an “international beauty salon” in District 1. This establishment introduced with only a single injection course, “a deep sleep” , beat the fat basket”, no surgery, no diet, no exercise, no convalescence, no weight gain. The consultant will use fat-dissolving medicine imported from the UK, inject one time, three months will have a beautiful waist.

“The beauty salon facility is very spacious in the downtown district, so I trust it and think this place does a good job,” Thanh said. She bought a service package of more than 13 million dong, was injected with a dilute solution in four places in the abdomen, hips, unknown dosage and type of solution.

After about 10 days, the injection site starts to swell. According to the course of treatment, she returned to the cosmetic facility to massage her abdomen “to increase efficiency”. After that, the condition worsened, this unit took Thanh to another hospital for treatment. In two months, she had to operate 5 times in 3 hospitals. On the 5th surgery, the patient lost too much blood, in a critical condition, the doctors only sutured the wound. “I was desperate, thinking I couldn’t live,” Thanh shared.

She was rushed to Cho Ray Hospital by her family, in early July 2021, with wounds forming huge abscesses, pus and continuous blood. At that time, Thanh was one of three patients with very serious complications who came for treatment at Cho Ray Hospital, after injecting fat-dissolving drugs. In addition to a major surgery, the doctors here perform countless minor surgeries, make pus incisions until the fluid is gone, and use advanced gauze to absorb. She had a serious infection, her health was exhausted, and she lost a lot of blood.

Minh Thanh during treatment at Cho Ray Hospital, November 2021.  Photo: Le Phuong

Minh Thanh during treatment at Cho Ray Hospital, November 2021. Image: Le Phuong

Doctor, Doctor Ngo Duc Hiep, Head of Plastic Surgery Department, Cho Ray Hospital, assessed Thanh’s case of gangrene as “unprecedented terrible”. Normally, a week’s stitches would heal, while her wound was constantly bursting open, unable to heal. The drug not only dissolves fat cells but also destroys the cell membranes of the vascular and nerve organizations located in the affected area of ​​​​the drug, including substances that help heal, so the wound is very slow to recover, necrosis. spreading, deepening like “tunneling” inside, more destructive than silicone. The drug is initially injected in the hips and abdomen, then spreads to the back, encroaching on the genitals.

“The drug is devastating, causing a lot of tissue loss, so Thanh is expected to undergo 2-3 plastic surgery to resolve the deep dents,” said Doctor Hiep. However, Thanh was not brave enough to perform because “still afraid of cutlery, fear of feeling extreme pain when waking up after each previous surgery”.

Ms. Huyen Thu, 38, living in Binh Phuoc province, injects fat all over her body after being advised by a spa staff “wherever you inject, you will get there”. Just after the injection, her body showed signs of pain and swelling at the injection sites. Taking antibiotics continuously, but her condition worsened, she went to the local hospital to make an incision to drain the abscess but it still did not help.

When she arrived at JW Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City, she had about 30 dozen large and small abscesses all over her body, concentrated in the arms and abdomen, forming holes with stitches and scars. Doctor Nguyen Phan Tu Dung is planning surgical treatment to drain the pus and abscess, avoiding the risk of recurrent infection.

According to Dr. Dung, nearly a month ago, the hospital received three cases of severe necrosis due to injections of fat-dissolving drugs. Before Ms. Thu, one patient had 15 large holes perforated in the abdomen, the other had an abscess deep into the trachea and large blood vessels, forming a cut about 15 cm long due to injection of fat-melting drug on the chin.

Surgeon cures an abscess for a patient with complications with lipolysis injection.  Photo: JW . Hospital

Surgeon cures an abscess for a patient with complications with lipolysis injection. Image: JW . Hospital

Up to now, Vietnam has not licensed fat loss injections for any drugs. Liposuction drugs such as Lipostabil, Dermaheal LL, Liponsaure are circulated in some European countries to treat pulmonary embolism due to fat, dyslipidemia, but many studies confirm its lack of safety and effectiveness. In April 2010, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Ministry of Health of countries such as France, Great Britain, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark, Australia. .. warning and banning the use of Lipostabil for the purpose of dissolving fat. According to FDA, all acts of advertising, buying, selling and circulating Lipostabil in the US territory are considered against the law of this country.

Doctors recommend not using fat-dissolving injections for beauty because there is a lack of scientific evidence. According to Dr. Hiep, if unfortunately injected with fat-dissolving drug causes a stroke, it is necessary to go to the hospital to remove this substance as soon as possible.

To lose weight, Dr. Tran Nguyen Giap, lecturer in Plastic Surgery, Pham Ngoc Thach Medical University, encourages people to increase exercise and change their diet. After losing weight, the excess skin can be surgically intervened by reputable, certified doctors at licensed facilities.

People who need to intervene to reduce fat, reduce fat to change their shape, must be directly examined by a cosmetologist so that the doctor can advise and make appropriate options. For example, with small chin fat, it is possible to have medical cosmetic treatment, destroy fat with machines such as Hifu machine (converging ultrasound), photothermal fat reduction machine… Particularly for large fat areas such as: Abdomen, buttocks, thighs, must have liposuction surgery, with a dose not exceeding 10% of body weight, maximum of 5-6 liters of fat and fluid.

Le Phuong

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