A Warning About Mesotherapy: It’s Not a Proven Safe Alternative to Liposuction

At Zel, we believe in evidence–based medicine. In other words, we offer our patients only those treatments and procedures that have been proven safe and effective by scientific studies.

That’s why we are currently not offering one of the latest fat–melting fads: mesotherapy. This non–FDA approved procedure is often touted as a non–surgical alternative to liposuction, various liquid chemicals are injected into the skin’s subcutaneous tissue (the mesoderm) to stimulate fat cells and cause them to “melt away.”

Despite all the hype and publicity surrounding mesotherapy, no credible evidence exists to show that the procedure actually works. During the 50 years since mesotherapy was first “invented” in France, its practitioners have produced not a single randomized, double–blinded controlled study to show that the procedure dissolves fat cells.

Nor have they proven that it’s safe. In fact, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not approved the procedure.

Until such studies are conducted and published in peer–reviewed journals, consumers should be leery of mesotherapy. Here are some of our specific concerns:

• The substances used in the injections have never been standardized.
So during the mesotherapy procedure, you could be injected with just
about anything, from prescription medications to plant extracts to
vitamins–none of which has been studied for this purpose.

• One drug frequently used is phosphatidylcholine, which can cause
severe skin reactions. Brazil, a country usually less strict about
approving drugs than the United States, has specifically banned
phosphatidylcholine for this procedure.

• Even when phosphatidylcholine isn’t the substance used for the
injections, consumers are at significant risk of developing various
prolonged skin reactions and infections.

• No one knows what long–term effects these injected substances may
have on the bodyís other tissues.

• It is also now becoming common to inject a pure solution of
deoxycholate. This can be very painful and cause long term
inflammation and injury.

While it is very enticing to be able to reduce fat with a series of injections, until the substance and protocols have been FDA approved exercise and diet with or without standard liposuction is still the best therapy for fat reduction. Currently several prospective randomized studies using well defined protocols are now underway. Until this data is out and the FDA approves this for use we follow the Position Statement of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery to not recommend this therapy.

Our promise to you is that we believe in evidence based medicine and will only offer you proven FDA approved therapies.