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Burn Fat Away With An Injection?

A recent trip to the Carribean convinced 30-year-old Misty Koons that she needed to slim down her waistline.

"I was in my two-piece and every time I'd sit down, there was a bulge that was hanging over the bottom of my bikini," says Koons. "It bothered me. I kept looking at it and became obsessed with it."

That obsession led her to New York dermatologist Dr. Soren White. He suggested Koons try Lipostabil, an injectionable form of the nutritional supplement Lecithin. The substance is widely used in Europe and South America where doctors say it may literally melt fat away.

Dr. Mallika Marshall from WBZ-TV in Boston gave The Saturday Early Show the skinny on the new technique, which might one day replace the more invasive liposuction treatment. Liposuction is the most common type of cosmetic surgery performed on women and it's number two for men.

"Most of my colleagues — primarily in South America and Europe — find or believe that it accelerates lypolysis, which is the breakdown of fat," says Dr. White.

Most women in Koons's position would have turned to liposuction. While it's an invasive surgery, doctors say tremendous advances in the past decade have made it much safer and more effective. Unlike Lipostabil there is the ability to contour or shape the area where fat is being removed.

But with Lipostabil, the situation is quite different. "You are injecting a substance and it's going to go where it wants. You may be breaking up areas unevenly and then what do you do?" says dermatologist Dr. Howard Sobel.

Despite it's unproven track record in the United States, Koons insists Lipostabil worked for her.

Dr. Marshall explains on The Saturday Early Show that doctors typically recommend between three and five sessions. Those sessions can run anywhere from $1,000 to $1,500, depending on the part of your body that gets the injections. The stomach is more expensive than the arms. She says that really begins to add up and can in fact end up being more expensive than liposuction. But the idea of liposuction scares some people, which is why they may choose the Lipostabil option.

Lipostabil does not have approval from the Food And Drug Administration. It is made up of the nutritional supplement Lecithin, which traditionally doesn't fall under the FDA's jurisdiction. Dr. Marshall says it will take new studies with proper supervision to see whether the results of the Lipostabil injections are effective and safe.