The treatment is intended to smooth sections of the body by breaking down some of the fat beneath the surface of the skin.
As its intended use is primarily body contouring, rather than weight loss, it is not marketed expressly as a weight loss aid.
How the Injections work
Once injected, Aqualyx liquefies the fat cells it comes into contact with, destroying them ‘permanently, releasing the lipids that are then eliminated naturally through the lymphatic system’. This process happens over a few weeks, and so results may not be immediately visible.
Treatment takes around 30- 60 minutes to administer depending on the area(s) of the body being treated. Using a new technique to minimise the number of injections, a canula injects directly into the fatty tissue. The procedure is virtually pain free as Aqualyx contains a local anaesthetic.
The liquid is injected using a fanning technique, to maximise the area treated, whilst minimising the number of injection sites. A video of the process can be watched here, to get a more detailed idea of the injection process.
Aqualyx itself is made up of a number of different plant based compounds that have been altered and refined in a lab environment. The makers claim that these alterations have reduced the half-life of the product, thereby increasing its safety and decreasing the chances of the patient from developing unwanted side effects. More specifically, the ingredients come from plant polymers 3, 6-Anhydro-L-Galactose and D Galactose. Water is added to make the mixture more suitable for the purposes of injections.
The process of injecting Aqualyx is referred to as “Aqualysis™ or Aquaplasty™”, and involves injecting the liquid into the target area, using a fanning technique to gain maximum coverage.
So What’s the Cost?
The price of one injection starts at around £250, but to see results in larger areas, such as the stomach, bottom or thighs, a person may have to undergo numerous procedures over a number of months. This obviously greatly increases the total cost of the transformation of the body. The estimates of how many injections may be required for larger areas tend to vary between 3 and 6, although a few suggestions of up to 8 injections have also been made.
Considering the cost of an individual injection, it is advisable to see the results from the first few injections before deciding if any more procedures should be performed.
Availability of Aqualyx Injections
Currently Aqualyx injections are only available through a few private clinics which offer the service. These clinics have all been given training in how to administer the injection, and are registered on the official Aqualyx website. Anyone offering the service who has not registered with Aqualyx should be avoided. The injections are not available for private purchase over the internet, and are not for at-home use. This is due to the nature of the product, and is also for the safety of the patient.
Aqualyx claims to be the only registered fat removal injection on the market in the UK, meaning that there are no direct alternative treatments that are directly comparable.
Potential Side effects
The official website is quick to stress that the product has been designed to have minimal side effects, having been physically altered in a lab to reduce the half-life of the injected liquid. Because it is not a surgical procedure, there should also be no scarring from the procedure. However, one customer has commented on a review that following her injection into her neck area, she has been left with scarring in the form of track lines, following the entry lines of the needle. This does not seem to be a common problem, as it is not reported elsewhere, but is nonetheless a worrying potential side effect.
The most common side effects appear to be bruising and tenderness following the procedure, which most people can expect. This should subside within a few days, and should not cause any lasting problems. Slight bleeding at the injection site is also a possible side effect in the few days following the injection. Some clinics recommend that;
if bruising occurs, use arnica cream or Auriderm to help it subside. Take anti-inflammatory medication to relieve any discomfort and swelling (i.e. Paracetamol).
Small amounts of weight loss may occur following the injections, but this is more of a side effect than the main purpose of the injections. One review stated that after a series of injections, one customer lost 8lbs, as well as improving the physical look of the treated areas.
In terms of the safety of the injections, the product has been given CE approval for use in the UK. This means that it meets the health and safety standards required by the European Unions for use. Currently, the official website claims that;
Aqualyx® has been available internationally since 2009, and over 2,000,000 vials have been used for patient treatments in 49 countries worldwide.
“No fat regrowth?”
The manufacturers claim that after the fat is removed by the body following the Aqualyx injection, there is no fat regrowth. The small print is that if a balanced diet and exercise regime are followed, then there should be no regrowth of fat. Essentially, the injection does not stop people from gaining weight due to unhealthy dietary habits, but the fat cells that are removed are removed permanently.
Controversy – Doctor’s Disapproval
When the Daily Mail released a story on Aqualyx Injections, they mentioned that some doctors had openly spoken against the use of Aqualyx Injections.
According to the Daily Mail, Julia Buckley, a nutrition and fitness expert and author of The Fat Burn Revolution, said;
I’m very sceptical about the claims the manufacturer is making. But even if it does destroy fat cells, if people do not change their lifestyles, I expect that the body would produce new fat cells to replace them.
Another doctor was quoted as saying that “I can’t see any independent evidence that backs up the claims of Aqualyx, which makes me very sceptical of this.”
Actual Weight Loss?
Aqualyx injections are currently advertised as an alternative to liposuction, being designed to target stubborn areas of fat, rather than acting as a weight loss aid. Like liposuction, the injections are used in specific places in the body, to improve the appearance of just a small area.
There are some private clinics that do mention some weight loss occurring following the injections, but this is definitely not the primary aim of the injections. In fact, the procedure is not recommended for people who have large amounts of weight to lose, with a high body fat percentage.
Benefits Over Other Procedures
There are some possible advantages to choosing Aqualyx injections over liposuction, which have been heavily promoted by marketers. Supposedly there is no ‘downtime’ following an Aqualyx injection, meaning that patients should not have to take any time off of work, and there is no mention on the official website of any activities that are restricted following the procedure.
One clinic that performs Aquaplasty recommends that;
To maximise the effects of Fat Dissolving Injections we recommend you take the following aftercare steps:
- Avoid applying any cosmetics within the first 12 hours.
- Avoid all direct sources of heat i.e. sun, UV radiation, saunas etc.
- Abstain from particularly demanding physical exercise for 67 days post treatment.
- Follow a healthy diet and gentle exercise regime.
- Gently massage the treated area(s) daily between procedures
- Normal skincare / make up routines can be performed without excess pressure 12 hours post procedure.
Patients should feel only ‘minimal discomfort’ and some bruising in the days following the procedure. Unlike liposuction, there is also no scarring, as it is not an invasive surgery.
The liquid injected can be mixed with lidocaine to minimise the patient’s pain levels during the treatment, but as this will take some time to become fully effective, it is unlikely to prevent all pain. However, compared to an invasive surgery with a longer recovery time, patient pain is comparatively little.
Possible treatment areas
Areas that can be ‘treated’ with Aqualyx injections include bottom, thighs, hips, stomach, back and even the neck and chin area. The larger the area, the more treatments will be required to see results.
Injections are usually spaced three weeks to a month apart, as it takes up to three weeks for the ‘dissolved’ fat cells to be excreted in the patient’s urine. Some websites advertising the procedure note that it can take as long as six weeks after the injection to see the final results, as the injected polymer works fairly slowly to destroy the fat cells.
Who is Suitable for Treatment?
Like all medical and cosmetic procedures, Aqualyx is not suitable for some people. The official website recommends that the treatment is not suitable for pregnant or lactating women or those with a pathological condition, or those under 18 or over 60 years of age. People who suffer from liposdystrophy are also not able to receive Aqualyx injections.
The websites associated with some clinics that use Aqualyx Injections suggest that potential patients should advise their doctor if they are diabetic. This may be because blood sugar levels have the potential to rise following the treatment, as the fat cells are broken down and reabsorbed into the blood stream.
The Company behind Aqualyx Injections
Currently, Aqualyx Injections are exclusively a product of HealthXchange Pharmacy, a company that supplies directly to doctors, surgeons and pharmacies only. This sets them apart from many manufacturers of weight loss aids and similar products. Many of the products that are reviewed elsewhere on this site are available directly from the manufacturer, without the need to visit a doctor. Their official website states that
Healthxchange Pharmacy was founded in 2000 and has since become one of the most trusted and respected suppliers of pharmacy products to medical professionals with an interest in integrative and aesthetic medicines and treatments.
They are registered in Guernsey, and provide detailed contact information on their official website.
Is the Procedure Worth It?
It is our opinion that although the Aqualyx Injections may be the right step for some people, it is definitely not for everyone. The official product website clearly states that the treatment is not suitable for overweight patients who are simply looking to lose weight, as it is designed to contour the body, rather than to dramatically reduce the customer’s weight. It is designed to be used on “stubborn pockets of fat”, and if Aquaplasty is considered, it should be used once the patient is very near their ideal or target weight.
It is claimed repeatedly that there is no fat regrowth following the procedure, but this does not mean that the patient’s weight cannot or will not change. The high cost may be prohibitive to many users, especially considering the large number of injections that are recommended in order to see maximum results.
Like many of the doctors who have spoken against Aqualyx injections, it is our recommendation that a carefully balanced and nutritionally sound diet, along with a regular exercise routine, is always the best way to lose weight, rather than choosing medical intervention.