Bad Side Effects

I signed up for lipo dissolve treatments at Fig in...

I signed up for lipo dissolve treatments at Fig in Duluth, GA in July of this year. At the time, I was overweight but not so much that they would not "treat" me. I had three sets of shots in my upper abdomen. Since the treatments began, I have started experiencing weight GAIN and swelling. My lower legs/ankles swell now until when pressed, it leaves an indention. I have a thyroid disorder (hypothyroid) which I told the representatives that spoke to me during my initial consultation and I am very concerned at this point that the PCDC injections have caused an adverse effect with the medicine I take to control my hypothyroidism. At the time I signed up, the company was offering a money back guarantee so I have now started trying to get the process going to have my money refunded. If there is anyone who has had similar problems, please let me know how you handled it. Update: 9/25/2007 After receiving treatment in the Duluth, GA Fig. office and having some serious side effects, I have taken measures to have my money refunded. I have hypothyroidism (NO - NOT HASHIMOTO'S DISEASE) and have taken medication for this condition my entire life. Hypothyroidism is an autoimmune disorder. The treatments Fig administers through multiple injections is called PCDC. PCDC is a soy-based product combined with bile salts. Medical research has proven that soy isoflavones have no effect on a person without thyroid disorders but for someone who is hypothyroid, it causes the body to not absorb the synthetic thyroid hormone which is taken daily to provide the body with the growth hormones the thyroid gland would normally produce. I emphasize that I do not have Hashimoto's Disease because the "doctor" (???) in the Fig office was pretty insistant that what I have is Hashimoto's. Well...I know why now. Fig has a page of medical facts and information on their website (check it out!!). The first article on this page is Clinical Safety Data and Standards of Practice for Injection Lipolysis: A Retrospective Study. Please feel free to read the entire article. I would like to quote a couple of things that were reported. 1. "An allergy to soy products, or other formula components such as benzyl alcohol, was clearly noted as a contraindication to treatment with these injections." 2. "Respondents noted that a patient with severe chronic illness should not be injected, especially those who are immuno compromised. Network-Lipolysis recommends not treating any patient with autoimmune disease, with the exception of patients with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and rheumatoid arthritis." I believe the above information is why Dr. Hammer (he is not a board certified/licensed plastic surgeon according the the Composite Board of Medical Examiners) tried so hard to make "light" of the pitted edema and kept explaining the effects of hypothyroid and Hashimoto's to me. I did tell him that I was not in the office for a diagnosis because I already knew that I am hypothyroid but I was there to have my money refunded!!! Several of the articles that Fig has posted on their Medical Facts and information page state information just like the article I have referenced. Am I the only one who thinks Fig should have been aware of these reports and instead of telling me that as long as my hypothyroidism was being treated with medication and my thyroid levels were normal, there would be no adverse effect? I specifically asked the question!!!!!! I have been contacted by a reporter from a well known news channel and have shared my experience with them. I am hoping that before this is all over, maybe there will be a lot of publicity so that other people can avoid what so many of us are having to endure. In addition, I have filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau, the Attorney General's office, and the Composite Board of Medical Examiners. I have also disputed the charges on the "Care Credit" card that was billed.
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Comments (7)

Robin, I have just learned of this website and have been reading all the posts from many patients. Yours is of particular interest to me because I have hypothyroidism, specifically Hashimoto's. I go to the Atlanta branch and seem to have had the same basic experience in terms of pushy sell job and no site of a doctor (hurry up, sign this, we can inject you now); however, I have been one of their big success stories in terms of physical change. While I have lost no weight, my OWN-taken before and after pictures from just 2 treatments are beyond amazing. Having said that, I now have serious concerns as it relates to my hypothyroidism and am curious about what your endocrinologist said. I go to my endocrinologist every 6 months. When initially diagnosed, as you would expect, the initial medication dose of the synthetic is low just to get an idea of where to go from there. He started me at 50mcg and after 3 months, my TSH hadn't budged so he took me to 88mcg. After being on this dose for 3 months, I began PCDC injections. I had my 6-mo endocrine appointment and now I am dangerously HYPERthyroid. It NEVER occurred to me that this puzzling change (even to the dr) may have something to do with these injections. Note that I failed to even bring up these treatments to the doctor because it didn't occur to me that there could be a link. Based on any new info you may have learned from your doctor, might the PCDC be the root of this change? As a side note, I, too, am "laid up" for 2-3 days post injections like many of the patients who have posted. Last time, I had violent shakes for half an hour and my normally non-existent blood pressure shot to 140/118!) I am concerned that I should STOP before something bad really happens and would like a portion of my money back. Any insite you can provide would be appreciated!
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missmc, Thank you for your advice. I do have an appointment to go in to the Duluth office tomorrow for a consultation with one of the doctors. I have previously only seen a nurse practitioner. The swelling seems to be increasing (to the point that today I have on sports socks and there is an indention all the way around my ankle where my leg is swollen). I have also made an appointment with my endocrinologist. I would like to believe that the treatment is not harmful but at this point, I have to admit that I am very worried. Hopefully after going in to the Fig office tomorrow, the doctor will agree that the treatment is definitely not working for me and will initiate the refund. I will keep you posted and let you know if I need any additional contact information. Thanks, Robin
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I can tell you exactly how to handle this refund because I’m an employee at fig. I’m sorry that the treatment hasn’t worked for you. Fig. has over 19,000 patients and only a few of them don’t respond to the treatments. We like to make sure our patient’s are happy so here is what I recommend: I encourage you to talk with your provider about your experience and about not seeing the results you want. Or if you would like, please contact me directly through this site and I can put you in touch with the right people. I will try to do whatever I can to resolve your concerns
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It looks like this will be an uphill battle. I did go into the Fig office in Duluth, GA today and saw the doctor - Dr. Hammer - who advised me that he does not actually work for Fig but is just a medical consultant. He questioned what my concerns were and when I showed him the extent of the swelling, he immediately began to defend his position that the injections and PCDC could have no connection to the swelling. He saw on my chart that I am hypothyroid and wanted to know if I have Hashimoto's Disease and then proceeded to explain to me what the symptoms of hypothyroidism are. I was calm during this consultation regardless of the fact that he told me I needed to follow up with my endocrinologist and that 'I am fine for now'. At his recommendation to the NP that sat in with us to give me a copy of the medical information to take to my physician, I asked for a copy of all of the forms in my file. I was advised that he would go over them with me but I could not have a copy. My patience was exhausted and I was not happy. The situation escalated to be unpleasant and I was asked to leave. I suppose I will need to get that contact information so that I can find out how to get a refund processed. Unfortunately, if I were asked for a recommendation, I would have to say that the company does not stand behind their advertisements.
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Robin – I’m sorry to hear that you feel like we don’t stand behind our advertisements and that your visit did not go the way you expected. I definitely want to help you in this process. I am going to take your case straight to the Patient Relations Manager. I just need to know your full name (first and last) and then Jamie will get in touch with you. Just send me an email through this site with that information and we’ll get the ball rolling.
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If you contact the Duluth, GA office I am certain they will tell you that they are familiar with me. I have filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau, the Attorney General's office, and the Composite State Board of Medical Examiners. My next step will be to contact a malpractice attorney. I am sure that you are aware from reading the many posts on this website that I am not the only dissatisfied customer. I can only speak for myself but my biggest concern is that I was accepted as a patient and administered treatments which should have NEVER been given!! The Fig website also states that the dosage administered is prescribed by a licensed physician after they have examined the patient to determine a treatment plan. I have NOT been examined by a physician at Fig!! As a matter of fact, the day I originally went into the Fig office I spoke to one person in reference to the charges and then another person that explained what the injections were and how they were given. My next "stop" was into an exam room for the shots!!!!! There was no exam!!!!!! Oh, yes....they did take pictures after I waited for someone to fix the camera! I guess at this point I would like to kick my own rear end for falling for the "baloney" that was given to me and not seeing all of the RED FLAGS that were waving so prominently in front of my eyes. Thank you for any/all help that you can provide.
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Robin - I'm sorry that this situation has been difficult. I took your information straight to the Patient Relations Manager and informed her of what was going on. One of the patient relations reps. will contact you today. Please contact me through RealSelf if I can answer any questions or be of any help.
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