Thursday, May 8, 2008

Mesotherapy as a Cellulite Treatment: Good or Evil?

If you have followed the trail of posts that I have created so far, you are well aware that I am officially on my cellulite treatment kick. As this blog develops and as I do more and more research, I am coming across a myriad of different cellulite reduction methods, all of which have their pros and cons. If you want to catch up on the cellulite treatments I have covered thus far, check out these two posts:

Cellulite Treatments: Is Endermologie® an Effective Solution?

Cellulite Treatments: Ionithermie

In this post we will cover mesotherapy as a cellulite treatment. So far I have only covered cellulite treatments that were non-invasive in nature (no surgery required), or treatments that adopted a more naturalistic approach--which especially in the case of ionithermie, many in the medical community still frown upon to some degree. The FDA has remained silent regarding the safety and effectiveness of mesotherapy due to the nature of the treatment and its use of injections (we will cover this in more detail a little later in the post). Claims regarding the effectiveness of mesotherapy have also not been substantiated by the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, due to lack of research targeted to that end.

What is Mesotherapy?

Mesotherapy is an anti cellulite treatment in which the patient receives injections of various natural and chemical substances, including but not limited to mineral extracts, plant extracts, vitamins, pharmaceutical compounds, and homeopathic substances. The quantity of each individual substance in the mixture is very small (microscopic, actually), and together they are somewhat of a "cocktail" designed to treat cellulite at the subcutaneous (below the skin) level. These miniature "power pellets" reportedly pack a wallop of potency in reducing cellulite. Usually the exact ingredients in the injections are determined by a trained mesotherapist, and can be specific to the patient based on their "cellulite profile", or the problem areas where cellulite treatment is needed most. The mesotherapist acts as somewhat of an "alchemist", concocting the appropriate combination of substances to achieve the desired result, based on the patient's individual profile. When done correctly, mesotherapy experts claim that the procedure greatly assists in breaking down the stubborn fat cells that cause cellulite.

As I stated earlier, the reason the FDA has not issued a formal evaluation of mesotherapy is because of the nature of the treatment; it is considered "minimally invasive", meaning there are medicinal injections that take place, but it does not fall under the category of an outright surgical procedure. At the same time, because of the degree to which the procedure involves clinical injections, the FDA defers to each individual state medical board to evaluate general compliance to medical safety standards.

Who Started All This Anyway?

The late Dr. Michel Pistor, a French physician, pioneered the practice of mesotherapy back in 1952. It popularity has increased over the last few decades, and it is now practiced by nearly 20,000 physicians in the U.S. (the most recent hotbed of mesotherapy), South America, and Europe.

The Mesotherapy Procedure

The needles used in mesotherapy vary from 4 to 6 millimeters in length, depending on the skin type. A test area is usually treated first to determine if the patient will have any allergic reactions to the compounds used. The mesotherapist usually maps out the areas to be treated, and then systematically makes injections in the target areas. In the case of a treatment offered to the legs, injections are made on all sides of the thighs, covering the general area between the knees and the buttocks.

An important point to note is that mesotherapy is not limited to just treating the most common areas where cellulite rears its ugly head, i.e., the hips, thighs, & buttocks, but it is also used as an anti-aging and cosmetic improvement procedure for such areas as the arms, hands and neck. In these instances, it is primarily used to reduce the appearance of sagging skin.

Mesotherapy in the Hot-Seat

Despite its long-term popularity (over 50 years worth), mesotherapy is still somewhat the "Rodney Dangerfield" of cellulite reducing procedures--it has yet to be officially recognized as a viable cellulite treatment, and has actually produced quite a bit of controversy due to some of the chemicals that are used in the injections. While a large portion of the substances used are vitamins, plant extracts, and other naturally-based compounds, there are quite a few chemicals in the mix that many experts believe are not safe to utilize in the treatment, and are reported to be potentially harmful to the skin, producing side effects such as chemical burns, inflammation, swelling, or skin discoloration. A couple of primary "suspect substances" are phosphatidylcholin (say that 10 times real fast), which is considered a relatively unstable agent, and dimethylethanolamine (okay, say that one 20 times real fast), an organic compound that is widely used for industrial purposes.

In all fairness, every cellulite reduction procedure has its risks and potential foul-ups, and mesotherapy is no different. Most procedures are completed without a hitch, and with a minimal amount of side effects. It should be noted that throughout the history of mesotherapy being practiced (50-plus years), there have been no deaths as a result of the procedure. Unfortunately, the same thing cannot be said about liposuction--but we'll delve into that in more detail in one of my future posts.

Gotta sign off for now--bedtime beckons. I hope that this post has given you more insight into the different pros and cons of mesotherapy. Stay tuned for more useful info as we explore more ways to help you get rid of cellulite!

1 comment:

lollipoopmonster said...

to successfully remove cellulite on your skin, maintain a healthy lifestyle, cut out the stress related stuff and use a firming creams/lotions to tighten the skin :)