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All About Mesotherapy

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Mesotherapy... A "Lunch-time" Treatment?

Author: Letty's Staff Writer

Many people want to look young and fresh – after a lifetime of stress and living.

But they don't want the pain and long recovery time associated with actual surgery.

Mesotherapy, like many of the so-called "lunch-time" procedures developed in part to fill that void.

The question then becomes – "Is this pie in the sky"?... Or put another way, is it realistic to expect that profound and lasting changes to our appearance can take place with so little investment of time or effort?

This article delves into injection lipolysis treatment and what you can realistically expect from it.

What is Mesotherapy?

From the old Greek mesotherapy literally means – "middle" (mesos) – and "to treat medically" (therapeaia).

About Mesotherapy...

In modern times mesotherapy is a non-surgical, cosmetic therapy used as an alternative to liposuction.

More specifically mesotherapy is a technique that involves injections of medicines, herbs, and or vitamins into the dermal and hypodermal layers of skin for the purpose of corrective treatments, cosmetic enhancements, or for medicinal purposes.

Scientist have found that superficial injections into the skin layers remain in the area longer than they would if the injections were into deeper layers of tissue – because the substances are cleared a lot slower by general circulation.

The idea with injection lipolysis and other "lunch-time" procedures is that the treatment will be quick, and non-invasive so that you can return to "work" or your normal routine immediately afterwards.

What is it is used for?

Mesotherapy is really just the mechanism to deliver multiple kinds of therapies for different conditions. Among them are:

  1. Treat fat deposits
  2. Treat cellulite
  3. Treat infectious diseases
  4. Treat vascular diseases
  5. Treat chronic conditions (rheumatism)
  6. To treat pain
  7. To diminish wrinkles
  8. To firm, and plump the appearance of skin

And the list goes on. Many conditions are treated with injectables to the middle layers of skin. As you can see they aren't just cosmetic. There are many medical applications for this injectable technology as well.

Products commonly used in injection lipolysis treatment:

The following table lists the substances that have been used in injection lipolysis treatment and some of the uses that they have been put to.

Table: List of Treatment Substances
Substance Action in Body
Phosphatidyl Choline Dissolves fat
Organic silicuim Increases collagen production
CRP 1000 Stimulates cellular growth, improving collagen and elastin production
Hyaluronic Acid Improves hydration
Glutathione Antioxidant and can decrease pigmentation
Ascorbic Acid Antioxidant
Glycolic Acid Antioxidant and can decrease pigmentation
Pyruvate Antioxidant and can decrease pigmentation
Buflomedial Hair growth stimulant
Minoxidil Hair growth stimulant
Finasteride Hair growth stimulant
Vitamin C Can reduce hyperpigmentation and melasma; also is an antioxidant helping in collagen and elastin production
Vitamin A Anti-aging treatment used to improve fine lines and wrinkles
Biotin Used in the treatment of alopecia
Copper peptide Used to increase skin elasticity

The list goes on and on. And these are just a few of the wide-ranging list of medicines, vitamins, and chemical compounds used in injection treatments.

The goal with treatment is providing the body things it does NOT currently have to promote a positive change.

Is it a substitute for liposuction?

The answer is - perhaps.

Liposuction involves the physical removal of fat using surgical techniques. Injection therapy aims to dissolve the fat with injected chemical substances – and have the body's natural processes clear that fat eventually. The goal of both mesotherapy and liposuction is to reduce stubborn fatty deposits that are resistant to diet and exercise.

So – as you can see – the desired outcome for both techniques is the same and potentially one may substitute for the other. Now how they achieve that goal is vastly different in terms of expense, associated pain, and invasiveness of the technique. Liposuction is surgery and all that that implies.

Lipo is invasive, involving deeper cuts into the skin, and more extensive disruption of tissues. Because of this – liposuction require more expense, surgical expertise, and recovery time.

But there's some controversy about how effective injection lipolysis is.

What is the controversy?

Currently the technique is not FDA approved (although the individual substances may be approved). So there is some controversy because not enough evidence has yet been gathered to prove its effectiveness, or general safety.

That's a pretty major consideration going in.

In fact, here in the US mesotherapy is a relatively unregulated practice. Standards for training and education and for who can perform the procedure haven't been developed on a national level.

So - potentially - highly questionable individuals can perform the procedure.

What are the side-effects?

So, you might be thinking: "What's the big deal?... It's not like we're talking about real surgery!" However, the truth is that although mesotherapy might sound harmless – there are significant risks.

    Mesotherapy Potential Side-Effects:

  1. Scarring. Potentially you can scar at the point of injection, from reactions to the injected substances, or from infected abscesses
  2. Bacterial and fungal infections. The skin is a natural barrier to bacteria and fungi. During injection they can gain access to the body if the skin is improperly sterilized beforehand.
  3. Inflammation. The body may recognize the injected substance as foreign to itself. One of the first levels of defense is inflammation - where the body calls in its own substances to kill the invader. This may be evidenced in inflammation.
  4. Allergic reaction. The allergy response is another level of self-defense the body can mount against invaders. When injectables enter the body, an allergic response is possible and should be tested for before committing to the procedure.
  5. Hardening of the skin. The body may "wall-off" or encase the injected substance in hardened tissues to isolate it from the rest of the body. This too is part of the immune response - and may be worse in some individuals.
  6. Unattractive contour changes. If scarring does occur for any reason - pitting of the skin may occur in those areas. This would lead to contour changes - which can also occur with over-injection as well.

Some of these consequences are more serious than others. An important disadvantage that mesotherapy poses is that negative consequences can be highly visible. This is because the injections happen at a very superficial level.

So, often times when things go badly – everyone can see it.

What is take-home here?

Because of the potential risks to health and beauty it becomes even more important for patients to seek out qualified practitioners.

A good place to start if you are convinced that this is for you is with a board-certified dermatologist - preferably one who has lots of experience with the technique and has had many evident success stories.

Ultimately you will have to use good judgment and be very critical when selecting a treatment practitioner or facility.

After all, your well-being is on the line.

You HAVE to Watch This:

Find out what a taskforce of physicians has to say about mesotherapy:

Mesotherapy - References:

  • U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Public Statement in response to the practice of using Lipo-Dissolve. Sept. 20 2007.

  • "Mesotherapy." IDEA Health & Fitness Source 22.5(2004): 17. Expanded Academic ASAP. Web 12 Mar. 2010.

  • "ASAP Guiding Principles for Mesotherapy/Injection Lipolysis." American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Approved by Executive Committee (July 2008). Web 20 Dec. 2009.

  • Gorgos, Diana. "Three emerging 'lunch-time' procedures presented at ASPS annual meeting." Dermatology Nursing 18.1 (2006): 96+. Expanded Academic ASAP. Web 12 Mar. 2010.

  • "Plastic Surgery; Plastic surgeon says mesotherapy not a viable alternative to liposuction." Obesity, Fitness & Wellness Week. 23 Jul. 2005: 1315. eLibrary. Web 20 Dec. 2009.

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