In the most recent issue of our prestiguous journal, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (April), I read an article on evaluating the effectiveness of mesotherapy on body contouring. This was a study out of Seoul, Korea on 20 women who had mesotherapy injections on their inner thighs on one side and not the other over a 12 week period. The results showed, not surprisingly, that no measureable improvement could be seen.
This study highlights several important points on aesthetic treatments that are frequently confused. Mesotherapy is the injection of a mixture of different compounds into the skin. (the study cited above used aminophylline, buflomedil, and lidocaine) This is different than LipoDissolve therapies where one specific compound, phosphatidylcholine, is injected into the underlying fat. Mesotherapy (meso = mesium or skin) and LipoDissolve are terms that are often used interchangeably but they really signify completely different types of treatments. Just because both come out of a small needle, like Botox and injectable fillers, doesn’t mean they all do the same thing.
I have always questioned the effectiveness of mesotherapy approaches for fat removal or cellulite treatment. It is difficult to see how injecting chemicals into the skin can effect the underlying fat. Perhaps cellulite may have some improvement with mesotherapy since this problem has a skin component to it. But I have yet to see well-controlled studies that have provided convincing evidence to date. But the removal of fat requires agents that directly contact it such as what happens in LipoDissolve. While LipoDissolve requires more study and better analysis, given the large number of patients that are being treated (it is NOT an FDA-approved procedure), but I have first-hand experience with its outcomes and there clearly is some benefit to its use. The issue with LipoDissolve is not its effectiveness but in choosing the right patients for treatment and analyzing for each patient the cost-benefit analysis versus other treatment options, most typically that of liposuction.
Dr Barry Eppley