Effectiveness of Mesotherapy on Body Contouring
By Seung Ha Park, M.D., PhD, Deok Woo Kim, M.D., Min Ah Lee, M.D., Sang Chul Yoo, M.D., Seung Chul Ree, M.D., Sang Hwan Koo, M.D., PhD., Geun Hye Seol, RN, & Eun Young Cho, AN
Published in Plast Reconstr Surg 2008, 121;4:179eľ85e
Mesotherapy is a method of delivery of pharmacologic agents into the mesoderm, the layers under the skin. The technique has been advocated by some as an alternative for liposuction in body contouring procedures. The drugs frequently used for injections are phosphatidylcholine, isoproterenol, aminophylline, caffeine, L-carnitine, buflomedil, and calcitonin, among others. Despite anecdotal reports confirming effectiveness, there have been no peer-reviewed clinical trials that show proven efficacy of localized injections for body contouring.
The authors conducted random, prospective clinical trials on 20 young women (20 to 40 years) with localized obesity. A test site on the medial thigh was selected and then injected with a solution of aminophyllin, lidocaine, and buflomedil. The solution was injected into the superficial dermis and the treatment was repeated every 3 weeks for 3 months. The contralateral site was not treated.
The patients were monitored each month; girth of both thighs was measured and blood was drawn for lipid profiles. A CT scan was performed before and 2 weeks after completion of the treatment to further investigate the girth of the thighs. In addition, a questionnaire was given to all subjects to inquire about their experience with mesotherapy.
The study showed little change in body weight and the amount of body fat observed throughout the study. There was no statistically significant difference in the thickness of the fat layer. In regards to the questionnaire, patients answered with either 4 (very dissatisfied) or 5 (extremely dissatisfied). Eighty-nine percent of patients noted that they were tempted to prematurely terminate treatments for the following reasons: severe pain (56% of patients), poor outcome (44% of patients). All of the patients expressed negative thoughts about mesotherapy and no volunteer wanted the same treatment on the contralateral side. Questionnaire results indicated that patients would not recommend the treatment to others as a body contouring procedure.
Although there are reports in contrast to this study, no body contouring was observed in this clinical trial. An important remark the authors made is that medical practice should not be based on a principle of uncertainty. The United States Food and Drug Administration has not approved the subcutaneous application of the medications commonly used in mesotherapy. There are also other studies suggesting unexpected infections or adverse reactions to mesotherapy. This study found that mesotherapy is not an appropriate treatment option for controlling localized fat tissue for the purpose of body contouring. Last but not least, it is not recommended because most patients were dissatisfied with the therapy and its outcome.
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