Mesotherapy is a type of treatment for cellulite that aims to "melt" away fat. Although mesotherapy is becoming increasingly popular, no standardization of the therapy exists among cosmetic dermatologists and other practitioners. Certain health risks and side effects are possible with mesotherapy as well, so you must consult your physician or dermatologist before undergoing this cellulite and weight-loss treatment.
Mesotherapy is a method first applied by Dr. Michael Pistor in 1952 in France, according to Transmed Cosmetic Surgery Clinic. Considered a non-surgical cosmetic treatment, mesotherapy was approved in 1987 by the French Academy of Medicine. Mesotherapy involves injecting a special liquid solution beneath the skin to disintegrate fat cells, explains the International Academy of Cosmetic Dermatology.
Mesotherapy uses a solution that usually contains a combination of herbal extracts, hormones, enzymes, vitamins and minerals, as well as chemicals like aminophylline, MayoClinic.com reports. Unfortunately, the injected solution isn't standardized and most mesotherapy practitioners make up their own formula. The solution is typically injected in tiny amounts. The procedure is thought to help regulate lymph and blood circulation, as well as breakdown fat deposits including cellulite, explains the Transmed Cosmetic Surgery Clinic.
Mesotherapy is most commonly used to get rid of cellulite and stubborn fat deposits beneath the skin, but it's also sometimes used to reduce and rejuvenate sagging skin on the hands, neck and other body areas, according to Transmed Cosmetic Surgery Clinic. In some cases, mesotherapy is also used for treating hair loss and to promote weight loss. The idea behind mesotherapy's use in weight loss is that the injected solution dissolves fat deposits, says the International Academy of Cosmetic Dermatology. No conclusive medical research in humans supports the use of mesotherapy for any purpose, however.
Mesotherapy is essentially an unregulated cosmetic treatment that practitioners can perform without any formal training and in a spa environment instead of a clinic, cautions the International Academy of Cosmetic Dermatology. The lack of standardization for the mesotherapy formula that's injected under the skin also poses serious health risks to patients, because inexperienced practitioners can create their own combination. Mesotherapy can also cause mild to severe side effects, including rashes, bumps, skin abnormalities and even infections, MayoClinic.com reports.
You can experience a wide variety of adverse effects from undergoing mesotherapy. In addition to the risks of infections, bumps and rashes, you could also develop skin discoloration, scarring and lumps beneath your skin, warns the International Academy of Cosmetic Dermatology. You could have pain, embolisms and permanent pigmentation issues or scars after mesotherapy. In some cases, mesotherapy could potentially become life-threatening.