Mesotherapy Chicago IL
Kybella is FDA approved as a mesotherapy injection in the U.S.
For many years, liposuction has been the only option for quickly reducing some unwanted fat and sculpting and refining areas of the body, which may not respond to those hours in the gym. However, within the last couple years more and more media attention in the U.S. has been given to a procedure called Mesotherapy; also know as lipolysis and lipodissolve injections. My patients often inquire about this “fat-dissolving” procedure, so what exactly is mesotherapy and is it safe?
The term mesotherapy was first used in the French media in 1958 and the procedure has been performed widely in Europe and South America for more than 50 years. Mesotherapy has grown in popularity in the U.S. in the past few years. The procedure involves injecting different mixtures of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, detergents, and extracts, and other substances under the skin. This is meant to “melt” fat and “tighten” skin. A common ingredient is lecithin, which has fat-dissolving properties. Lecithin is found in human bile and is necessary for the digestion of dietary fats. Other substances have been used include various enzymes, hormones, vasodilators and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents. The “detergent” action of some substances may account for any clinical cosmetic effects of fat cell removal; however, the actual mechanism of action of mesotherapy remains largely unknown. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not approved the use of these agents for injection under the skin for mesotherapy. Further, there is a lack of scientific clinical trials and studies to support the safety and efficacy of mesotherapy. Finally, the compounds are usually mixed in compounding pharmacies, and not in larger and more regulated drug manufacturing companies.
One recent study in the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery used CT scanning and thigh girth on 20 women who underwent mesotherapy with one of the common formulations. Using scientific methodology, the authors concluded this formulation had no statistical significance in melting thigh fat.
Some substances cause extreme inflammation and swelling and have left some patients with permanent, disfiguring wounds. Another safety concern is the fact that lipodissolve may be performed in spas or mesotherapy “clinics”, where a physician may not be present. Nurses or technicians without sufficient training may be administering the injections; and are not qualified or licensed to treat possible complications as is a physician. I have personally seen numerous problems with locally performed mesotherapy, including severe scarring, nodules under the skin, and the common complaint of pain and bruising for one week after each injection session.
In May 2007, the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery issued a warning to patients against the use of fat loss injections citing the procedure as scientifically unproven and lacking the necessary objective data on safety and efficacy. They state the bottom line for patients is not to allow yourself to be injected with an unknown or untested substance. The American Society for Dermatologic Surgery in 2005 issued a similar caution to its members, stating that “further study is warranted before this technique can be endorsed.
I suspect many patients pursue this “quick fix” as an alternative to liposuction due to fear of surgery or anesthesia, and possibly concerns about recovery time or discomfort. For now, liposuction remains the only proven method of eliminating unwanted fat cells and has a long track record of safety. Many patients may not be aware that liposuction can be safely and comfortably performed without general anesthesia. A combination of local anesthesia and oral medications make the procedure quite tolerable for most patients. There are other FDA-approved non-surgical methods, such as Thermage, which produces skin tightening and may improve cellulite.
While there one day may be a safe and proven injectable to dissolve fat, at this point, I encourage patients interested in the mesotherapy to consider the warnings issued by reputable medical associations and to research the many safe, FDA-approved alternatives.
If you have localized spots of unwanted fat on your body but you aren’t ready for liposuction or more invasive fat removal procedures, mesotherapy may be the right choice for you.
Mesotherapy involves the injection, through a very tiny needle, of a combination of vitamins and minerals that melt fat cells, which will then naturally be washed out of your system, resulting in firmer, smoother skin with less underlying fat.
Because it is much less invasive that procedures like liposuction, the recovery from mesotherapy is very light. There may be localized bruising which will fade after a few days. You may see results after one mesotherapy treatment, or it may take up to 10 treatments, depending on the amount of fat and its location.