advertisement



Q & A Library


Print this page | Sign up for free e-bulletins
 | Bookmark This Page

Q
Can You Melt Away Fat?
I have been hearing a lot about mesotherapy to "spot reduce" fat versus the use of liposuction. Can you give me any information about its effectiveness and safety?
A
Answer (Published 11/18/2004)
Mesotherapy is a technique that supposedly "melts away" fat via injections of drugs and other substances into the mesoderm, the layer of fat and connective tissue under the skin. The method originated in France in the 1950s as a treatment for infectious diseases, vascular diseases, sports injuries and circulatory problems but in the years since has evolved into a means of weight reduction. Until recently, it was widely used only in France and South America, but now some doctors in the United States are promoting mesotherapy as a means of eliminating cellulite, for spot reduction, and for overall weight control.

Reportedly, the injections, given with a "meso-gun" equipped with a tiny needle, are relatively pain-free, but the cost may give you a headache: between $400 and $500 per treatment. And you may need as many as 10 sessions, each one consisting of 50 to 150 injections. Because this is a cosmetic procedure, the cost is not covered by health insurance.

Related Weil Products
Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging for Healthy Eating - Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging for Nutrition - Want to change your diet? The Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging online guide is your anti-inflammatory diet headquarters. Start your free trial and get access to an exclusive version of Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Food Pyramid, hundreds of recipes, eating guides, and more.

Although people who have had the treatment may be pleased with the outcome, I've seen no scientific proof that it works as advertised. Worse, I'm disturbed that there doesn't seem to be any standardization of what substances are injected - apparently, different doctors use different combinations of drugs. I've read that the medications are combinations of plant extracts, vitamins, Novocain and aminophylline (a stimulant drug from tea that was formerly used to treat the symptoms of asthma). Another drug that is often used is phosphatidylcholine, which can cause extreme swelling and inflammation at the injection site. This concoction is supposed to stimulate fat cells to give up their fat. Anyone considering mesotherapy should find out exactly what medications are going to be injected and what side effects they may cause. This is particularly important if you're taking any other drugs, either prescription or over-the-counter.

As for the comparison between liposuction and mesotherapy: liposuction has been scientifically studied and its benefits and risks are well documented. Moreover, unlike mesotherapy, liposuction can be performed only by licensed physicians (who should be well trained and have a successful track record that prospective patients can check).

Weight loss isn't easy, but the safest, most effective method is available to everyone, cost-free: eat less and exercise more.

Andrew Weil, M.D.

Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved Creative Commons Copyright Notice
A portion of the original material created by Weil Lifestyle, LLC on DrWeil.com (specifically, all question and answer-type articles in the Dr. Weil Q&A Library) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

The Weil Vitamin Advisor
Get your FREE personalized vitamin recommendation & supplement plan today!

Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging
Your Online Guide to the Anti-Inflammatory Diet. Start eating for your health - begin your free trial now.

Dr. Weil's Spontaneous Happiness
Achieve emotional well-being
in just eight weeks!
Start your 10-day free trial now!

Vitamin Library
Supplement your knowledge with Dr. Weil's essential vitamin facts. Learn why they are necessary and more.

Dr. Weil's Optimum Health Plan
Your 8-week plan to wellness.
Begin your journey today!
 

Dr. Weil's Head-to-Toe
Wellness Guide

Your guide to natural health.
Use the Wellness Guide today!

Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Diet Food Pyramid
Our interactive tool can help improve overall health through diet.

Condition Care Guide
Learn about health conditions from acne to vertigo, and Dr. Weil's view of the best treatment options for each.

Healthy Recipes
Discover a treasure trove of healthy, healing foods and creative, delicious ways to prepare them.

Q&A Library
Over 2,000 questions from you
and their corresponding answers
from Dr. Weil.

 
Copyright © 2014 Weil Lifestyle, LLC
Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment.

Ad Choice
Advertising Notice

This Site and third parties who place advertisements on this Site may collect and use information about your visits to this Site and other websites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services of interest to you. If you would like to obtain more information about these advertising practices and to make choices about online behavioral advertising, please click here