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Mesotherapy Not Proven as Weight-Loss Method

Experts caution against injections of medications, plant extracts into fatty tissue

WEDNESDAY, April 27, 2005 (HealthDay News) -- Mesotherapy, touted as a nonsurgical method of losing weight, has not been proven to be a safe alternative to lipsuction, and patients should be wary until the procedure is found to be safe and effective.

That warning comes in a new report from a committee of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

Mesotherapy involves injections of medications and plant extracts into layers of fat and connective tissue beneath the skin. These injections may include enzymes, nutrients, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, antibiotics, hormones and agents that open blood vessels.

This treatment may be used in conjunction with diet changes, exercise, nutritional supplements and hormone replacement therapy. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration hasn't approved any drugs for use in mesotherapy, the report said.

There are also no published scientific studies demonstrating the safety or efficacy of this therapy, or whether its effects are permanent. There is no standardization in mesotherapy, meaning the types of drugs and quantity and frequency of injections varies among practitioners.

Mesotherapy can cost from $1,000 to $1,500 per treatment, and can require three to six treatments.

"The promise of a nonsurgical, permanent method for fat removal and body contouring is obviously very appealing, but mesotherapy is not proven to be the miracle cure to a thinner you. The problems with mesotherapy is the whole technique is shrouded in mystery. Liposuction remains the only proven method to safely and permanently remove fat," report co-author Dr. Alan Matarasso said in a prepared statement.

The report appears in the current issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.

More information

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has more about liposuction.

SOURCE: American Society of Plastic Surgeons, news release, April 18, 2005
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