What is Aqualyx?
Aqualyx is an injectable solution which is capable of dissolving stubborn areas of subcutaneous fat resistant to diet and exercise. It contains a substance called desoxychol-acid which is found in bile salts in the human body, where it is responsible for digestion of fat.
How does Aqualyx work?
The Aqualyx molecule attaches itself to the membrane of fat cells in the area of injection, and starts to dissolve the membrane surrounding the cell. This causes the fat cell to become unstable and to break open. The fatty acids contained within the cell are then eliminated by macrophages (part of the body’s immune system). The fat is ultimately eliminated from the body by the liver.
Where on the body can Aqualyx be used?
In principle Aqualyx can be injected over the entire body except the area around the eyes. Some areas that are particularly suitable for treatment are shown in the picture.
There are some other interesting uses for Aqualyx:
- For those people who are regular gym goers but cannot shed the last bit of fat to define a six pack, Aqualyx can be used very successfully to give that definition.
- For people with lipomas, Aqualyx can be injected into these.
- For people with a buffalo hump, Aqualyx can be used to reduce the size of this.
- People with uneven lumps of fat after other treatments such as Vaser or liposuction can have smoothness restored with Aqualyx.
Which patients are most suitable for Aqualyx?
An ideal patient is one who is close to their ideal body weight but has isolated stubborn areas of fat deposition. These can be genetically predetermined and can prove very difficult to get rid of in other ways. You must be able to pinch at least 1.5cm of fat for an area to be suitable for treatment.
Patients who have lost considerable weight often have loose skin rather than significant fat deposits. If we feel this is the case for you then we will suggest Aqualyx is not appropriate for you.
What is involved in an Aqualyx treatment?
Initially we will have a consultation to discuss your areas of concern and to take a thorough medical history. This will also involve weighing you, examining you to make sure treatment is appropriate, and taking some photographs as a record of your starting point.
We will then mark the area of the fat deposit and ask you to look in a mirror and confirm that this is the area that bothers you.
You will then be positioned on the couch in a way that gives best access to the area to be treated. The treatment itself takes anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes depending on the size of the area we are treating. Usually each area only requires one or two needle insertion points, although we will fan the product in several directions from this one point.
Does Aqualyx hurt?
We mix the Aqualyx solution with a small amount of a local anaesthetic drug called lignocaine to make it more comfortable. The needle we use is very fine. Most people describe the procedure itself as a little uncomfortable but not painful. You could take some Paracetamol tablets an hour before treatment if you are concerned.
How should I prepare for an Aqualyx treatment?
- Have some Paracetamol available should you feel you need it.
- Buy some supportive garments for the treated area – Spanx are an excellent option. This is because you will find the extra support will make you feel more comfortable afterwards.
- Avoid tight clothing – you will be swollen and wearing your tightest jeans may be uncomfortable.
What should I expect after an Aqualyx treatment?
- Once the local anaesthetic starts to wear off you may feel quite tender. Make sure you have some Paracetamol you can take, but avoid non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (such as Ibuprofen and Aspirin).
- The treated area will look swollen initially, but you should expect this swelling to double in size within the first 24-48 hours. The swelling will go down over the course of the next week, although in rare cases may persist longer. Remember – SWELLING IS GOOD! The more you swell the more you are responding to treatment.
- The treated area will look red and feel warm afterwards, and this may persist for 2 days.
- You may develop some bruising in the treated area, may feel itchy, and may have some minor aches and pains.
- The skin overlying the treated area will feel numb, even after the local anaesthetic wears off. This can persist for upto a month.
- Rarely you can develop systemic symptoms such as nausea, diarrhoea, intracyclic menstrual bleeding (in women) and hyperpigmentation.
Who should avoid Aqualyx?
- Aqualyx should not be administered to pregnant women, or to breast-feeding mothers.
- Diabetic patients should avoid treatment with Aqualyx, as the potential complications of diabetes can complicate treatment.
- Patients with autoimmune conditions such as scleroderma should avoid treatment.
- Patients with severe liver disease should not be treated with Aqualyx, as the extra fat it has to process could overwork the liver.
- Any patient with a history of an allergic reaction to an ingredient of Aqualyx should avoid treatment.
- Patients with acute or chronic skin diseases in the affected area, or with infection in the skin overlying the treatment area are not suitable for treatment.
- Patients on blood thinning medication, in particularly warfarin, will almost certainly not be suitable for treatment due to the risk of severe bruising.
- Patients with severe kidney disease are not suitable for treatment.
How many treatments of Aqualyx will I need?
This will depend on the protocol we follow after discussion with you at our consultation. Traditionally between 2 and 6 treatments were suggested, depending on the area being treated. These treatment sessions would be spaced around 4 weeks apart.
It is possible to use a modified technique where we would inject a much higher volume in one treatment, but you should expect to only require one treatment. This will obviously carry a higher initial cost, as more product is being used. However you will only need to deal with the side effects on a single occasion.
Are there any instructions I should follow after Aqualyx treatment?
- We recommend wearing pressure garments of some description to improve your comfort. This could be a pair of Spanx, or we may suggest using an old pair of tights tied around your chin overnight to help reduce swelling.
- Drink plenty of water after your Aqualyx treatment.
- Follow a low-fat diet for the period between your Aqualyx treatment and your follow-up appointment. This is because you do not want to cause additional stress to your liver by having to cope with processing two sources of fat.
- We would suggest avoiding exercise on the day of treatment. After this you can resume gentle exercise as and when you feel ready. You may not feel ready for strenuous exercise for the first week, as you may feel a little tender.
- Avoid taking any anti-inflammatory medication as this will dampen your body’s response to the Aqualyx and potentially mean you do not respond to treatment as well as you would otherwise have done.
- Avoid exposure to extremes of temperature (including saunas, steam rooms and sunbathing) for a week after treatment.
- Keep pinching the treated area to continue stimulating it. This will improve the body’s response to the Aqualyx.
Will I lose weight after my Aqualyx treatment?
No you will not see any difference on the scales after Aqualyx treatment. Subcutaneous fat accounts for a small proportion of our overall body fat, and dissolving this in one area will not produce a change in your weight.
How long before I can see results of my Aqualyx treatment?
You will start to notice an improvement anywhere between 3 and 6 weeks, and could notice ongoing improvements upto 6 months.
Are the results of Aqualyx permanent?
The fat cells that have been destroyed by Aqualyx are permanently eliminated from the body. If you gain weight in the future you may put it on in a different distribution to where you would have done prior to Aqualyx treatment.