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Mesotherapy (lipodissolve)

Mesotherapy, also called Lipodissolve, is billed as a fat-busting alternative to liposuction, but it is not approved by the FDA.

By Zeel Editorial Staff, Last updated: June 26, 2012

Mesotherapy is billed as a less-invasive alternative to liposuction. The treatment, which is also called Lipodissolve, purports to dissolve fat to lessen wrinkles and cellulite while tightening skin. It was first performed in France in 1952 and became popular in the United States in the late 1990s.

A "medical cocktail" that contains a combination of vitamins, herbal supplements, as well as medications that treat conditions, such as asthma and high blood pressure, is injected into the central, or "meso," layer of your skin. Each mixture contains a different ratio of ingredients.

Mesotherapy, most commonly performed by non-dermatologists and non-plastic surgeons, is potentially unsafe because it involves the injection of multiple medications without proper testing. It is not approved by the FDA.

What It's Good For

Mesotherapy is most often performed on the legs, hips, and buttocks, but it can also treat the neck, arms, abdominal region, and hands. It is meant to treat cellulite, wrinkles, excess fat, and sagging skin.

Who it works for: People generally get mesotherapy to remove cellulite, shrink small fat deposits, and rejuvenate the skin so it appears tighter and wrinkle-free. Mesotherapy, as typically undertaken, is unproven and potentially dangerous, so there is really is no good candidate for the procedure.

Recommended age range: Mesotherapy is most commonly performed at the first signs of cellulite - on people between the ages of 25 and 45.

When will I see results?: According to Dr. Bissoon, author of The Cellulite Cure, the average patient sees results in 10-25 treatments. However, it is unclear how much of this result is due to dieting and exercise after the treatments.

How long it lasts: Though your skin may look rejuvenated and tighter after mesotherapy, outcomes are highly variable, and patients must exercise and diet to see maximum results. Fat and cellulite can return as easily as they can be removed, and results can be joined by unsightly, unhealthy side effects if complications occur.

Key benefits of mesotherapy (lipodissolve): Mesotherapy, as currently performed, has no clear advantages.

Licensed uses: Mesotherapy isn't legally licensed for any medical use. In fact, in 2010, the FDA issued a warning against mesotherapy treatments. Six medical spas in the U.S. were notified in April 2010 by the Food and Drug Administration that they were marketing the procedure falsely as "superior to other fat-loss procedures" and "safe and effective" without concrete evidence of mesotherapy's results. Mesotherapy remains popular in Europe.

Did you know?: A 2007 Allure magazine article issued a warning to potential mesotherapy patients not to undergo the procedure.

Who's Done It?

During a 20/20 special on the treatment, singer Roberta Flack attested to mesotherapy's effectiveness, claiming to have lost 40 pounds in a year through mesotherapy.

Dr. Tony Youn, a Detroit-based plastic surgeon, reports that Britney Spears was rumored to have undergone mesotherapy treatments in 2007 after the birth of her two boys.

Find experts who offer mesotherapy (lipodissolve) near you