Cosmetic mesotherapy: between scientific evidence, science fiction, and lucrative business.
ABSTRACT Mesotherapy, originally conceived in Europe, is a minimally invasive technique that consists of the intra- or subcutaneous injection of variable mixtures of natural plant extracts, homeopathic agents, pharmaceuticals, vitamins, and other bioactive substances in microscopic quantities through dermal multipunctures. Its application in cosmetic medicine and surgery is gaining in popularity and acceptance and is rapidly growing in profile at an alarming rate. Despite their attraction as purported rejuvenating and ''fat-dissolving'' injections, the safety and efficacy of these novel cosmetic treatments remain ambiguous, making mesotherapy vulnerable to criticism by the generally more skeptical medical community. The technique is shrouded in mystery and the controversy surrounding it pertains to its efficacy and potential adverse effects that are subject of much concern. As with any new technology, it is important to assess the benefits, safety, experience, and standardization of mesotherapy. More studies are necessary before it can be advocated as a safe and effective treatment for body contouring and facial rejuvenation. Although the claims made about mesotherapy may be hard to believe at face value, we must be cautious about rejecting new ideas. Just as absence of proof is not proof of absence, lack of scientific validation is not proof that it does not work.
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ABSTRACT: Dimpling of the skin of the thighs and buttocks is commonly referred to as cellulite, and it afflicts women much more frequently than men. Whereas many therapies that presume cellulite is caused by an abnormality of adipose tissue have gained recent popularity, the basic pathophysiology of cellulite has not been clearly identified. Theoretically, cellulite could reflect differences in adipose tissue biochemistry or connective tissue structure of affected versus unaffected individuals and/or of affected versus unaffected regions within an individual. We report here on direct experimental examination of these possibilities. Seven healthy adult subjects (five women, two men; four affected, three unaffected) underwent sonography of the thigh, measurement of regional in vivo subcutaneous adipose tissue metabolism (catecholaminergic responsiveness and blood flow) by microdialysis probe studies of the abdomen and the thigh, and full-thickness wedge biopsy of the thigh under local anesthesia. The presence of cellulite was defined as evidence of dimpling of the skin of the posterolateral thigh when the subject stood with the affected leg flexed to 90 degrees at the hip and knee. Any continuous area of skin at least 3 cm in diameter in which no dimpling was evident was designated as "unaffected." In all affected individuals, studies were performed to include both affected and unaffected areas of the thigh. In vitro pathologic examination of wedge biopsies and in vivo sonographic examination of the thigh both showed a diffuse pattern of extrusion of underlying adipose tissue into the reticular dermis in affected, but not unaffected, individuals. In vitro and in vivo studies also demonstrated that women had a diffuse pattern of irregular and discontinuous connective tissue immediately below the dermis, but this same layer of connective tissue was smooth and continuous in men. This connective tissue layer was more irregular and discontinuous in affected versus unaffected individuals. No significant differences were noted in subcutaneous adipose tissue morphology, lipolytic responsiveness, or regional blood flow between affected and unaffected sites within individuals. There is a sexual dimorphism in the structural characteristics of subdermal connective tissue that predisposes women to develop the irregular extrusion of adipose tissue into the dermis, which characterizes cellulite. These gender-related differences are diffuse and not localized only to affected areas. There is no evidence of any primary role for adipose tissue physiology, blood flow, or biochemistry in the etiology of cellulite, although the connective tissue of the female thigh is structured to accentuate differences in small subdermal adipose tissue depots.Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery 07/1998; 101(7):1934-9. · 3.54 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Mesotherapy, as broadly defined, represents a variety of minimally invasive techniques in which medications are directly injected into the skin and underlying tissue in order to improve musculoskeletal, neurologic, and cosmetic conditions. There are few clinical studies evaluating the efficacy and safety of mesotherapy in any form. This study evaluates the histologic and clinical changes associated with one of the simplest formulations of mesotheraphy commonly used for skin rejuvenation. Ten subjects underwent four sessions of mesotherapy involving multiple injections of a multivitamin and hyaluronic acid solution. Treatment was conducted at 4 monthly intervals. All subjects had pre- and post-treatment photographs and skin biopsies. Skin biopsies were evaluated with routine histology, mucin and elastin stains, and electron microscopy. Patient surveys were also evaluated. Evaluation of photographs at 0, 3, and 6 months revealed no significant clinical differences. Light microscopic examination of pre- and posttreatment specimens showed no significant changes. Electron microscopic analysis of collagen fibers measurements did show smaller diameter fibres posttreatment. No significant clinical or histologic changes were observed after multivitamin mesotherapy for skin rejuvenation. Multivitamin and hyaluronic acid solution facial mesotherapy does not appear to provide any significant benefit.Dermatologic Surgery 01/2007; 32(12):1467-72. · 1.87 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Mesotherapy is a procedure involving the injection of substances into the dermis and subcutaneous tissue. Used in Europe for decades in the treatment of various medical conditions and cosmetic fat dissolution, the technique only recently became widely available in the United States. Mesotherapy has been surrounded by controversy pertaining to efficacy and has been associated with localized complications, including allergic reactions, necrosis, and infections. Panniculitis is a rare adverse reaction to mesotherapy that may result from injection pressure, local trauma, or the type of injected substances. Treatment options for complications are limited. We report a case of mesotherapy-induced panniculitis successfully treated with dapsone. This case illustrates one of the potential adverse effects of mesotherapy and suggests that dapsone may be effective in the treatment of panniculitis resulting from such injections. Reported adverse effects associated with mesotherapy are also reviewed.Journal of Cutaneous Maedicine and Surgery 10(2):92-5. · 0.78 Impact Factor