What is Mesotherapy?

Brendan McGuigan
Brendan McGuigan
Mesotherapy can cause bruising.
Mesotherapy can cause bruising.

Mesotherapy is a hotly-debated technique which claims to reduce fat and cellulite by injecting various substances directly into the fat layer of the body. It was developed in the 1950s in France, and has since become very popular throughout the world, with particular popularity in the United States. Mesotherapy has a range practitioners, with many cosmetic surgeons offering it as a specialty. Pricing varies depending on the area targeted by the procedure and the number of treatments purchased, but is generally comparable to other minor aesthetic surgeries.

Pain and itching can be a side effect of mesotherapy.
Pain and itching can be a side effect of mesotherapy.

Mesotherapy is touted as being able to reduce fat in 'spot' treatments, with particular focus on notorious problem areas such as the buttocks, love handles, inner thigh, neck and chin. Many practitioners also claim that mesotherapy can help drastically reduce cellulite, eliminate wrinkles, remove scars and even stimulate hair growth.

The procedure itself is fairly straight-forward. A special 'cocktail' of vitamins, minerals and medications is injected directly into the layer of fat located just beneath the skin. The mixture injected is different for each area being treated, and is tweaked depending on the desired effect the practitioner. Once injected, this cocktail theoretically 'melts' away the fat by breaking fat cells down to the point where they can be flushed out through the bowels and kidneys. In the case of treating cellulite, the injection serves to weaken the connective bands of tissue which pin fat down, reducing dimpling and resulting in a cleaner appearance.

Mesotherapy is touted for its ability to reduce fat in specific areas of the body.
Mesotherapy is touted for its ability to reduce fat in specific areas of the body.

Mesotherapy is the subject of much debate and critique by members of the medical establishment and health activists. Many claim that a lack of hard data and testing make mesotherapy little more than a pipe-dream, and that practitioners who suggest the treatment are simply taking advantage of their clients' desperate desire to eliminate fat and cellulite. The American Society for Dermatologic Surgery recently made a statement that they could not endorse mesotherapy until further research validated the many claims its practitioners make as to its effectiveness.

Mesotherapy may help reduce the appearance of wrinkles.
Mesotherapy may help reduce the appearance of wrinkles.

Side effects of mesotherapy may include bruising, heightened sensitivity, damage to the liver, itching, swelling, redness and burning. For most people, these effects fade quickly, with pain and itching rarely lasting more than a few days, and bruising and swelling subsiding within a week. Most people receive at least three to ten treatments, with spacing of approximately one week to one month between treatments. A typical treatment might cost between US$300 and US$500, depending on the size of the area being targeted.

Mesotherapy is not usually advertised as a weight loss technique, but rather as a body-sculpting procedure. Mesotherapy is intended more to remove inches from trouble areas than to slim the entire body. Despite a healthy amount of debate over whether or not mesotherapy is effective, its popularity continues to increase at a good pace. Many people prefer mesotherapy to liposuction because it is not invasive, requires no anesthetic or bandages, and requires no downtime after the procedure takes place.

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Discussion Comments

anon31528

I recently got mesotherapy done and am anticipating the results. I did get redness which I was warned about. I also had a lot of swelling which has gone down a lot already. My opinion is there's at least one day of down time. I was really sore the first night.

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    • Mesotherapy can cause bruising.
      By: PeJo
      Mesotherapy can cause bruising.
    • Pain and itching can be a side effect of mesotherapy.
      By: Piotr Marcinski
      Pain and itching can be a side effect of mesotherapy.
    • Mesotherapy is touted for its ability to reduce fat in specific areas of the body.
      By: Antonioguillem
      Mesotherapy is touted for its ability to reduce fat in specific areas of the body.
    • Mesotherapy may help reduce the appearance of wrinkles.
      By: biancia
      Mesotherapy may help reduce the appearance of wrinkles.