What's up Doc? a Blog

Mesotherapy – Body Sculpting Miracle or Hype?

Mesotherapy sounds like a great idea.  Weekly injection of a fat dissolving substance.  No surgery and no downtime.  There is even some good theory behind it.  In the 1990’s, Brazilian doctors started using phosphatidylcholine to dissolve fat and improve cellulite.  It was thought to activate pathways which would cause fat to be lysed in the body, and excreted by the liver.  Other substances were soon added to help with a variety of problems, and to treat conditions ranging from hair loss to pain relief. Recently, deoxycholate, which emulsifies phosphatidylcholine and is a detergent to destroy cell membranes, was thought to be the reason why mesotherapy worked in some cases to dissolve fat.

But in 2003, Brazilian medical authorities banned the substance due to frequent reports of scarring, pigmentation and body contour irregularities.  The American Society of Plastic Surgeons has also made a statement warning against the use of these ingredients.  In April last year, the FDA cracked down on clinics who marketed these substances with false claims.

So for now, according to the latest commentary in SkinMed, by Drs Galadari and Faresi, there have been no standardized trials reporting any clinical effectiveness of phosphatidylcholine for fat loss or for mesotherapy as a treatment for hair loss.  Does mesotherapy have a future?  Perhaps.  But for now, the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery says to stay away, until further studies are published.  The complications are high, and the benefits are negligible compared to traditional treatments such as liposuction or more traditional means of body contouring.

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