The French Way to Lose Weight
Mesotherapy is widely practiced in France as a weight-loss technique, but it hasn't caught on in the U.S. And some doctors are glad about that.
"Spectacular" Results continued...
Some patients report seeing results after only the first
treatment, but the majority report losing a dress size or belt notches after
approximately four treatments, says Shapiro. For weight loss and/or cellulite
reduction, Shapiro recommends 5 to 10 sessions; the number of injections at
each session varies, from 50 to 150.
Because the injections are given with a chemical injector or
"meso-gun" using a very tiny needle, patients generally report feeling
no more sensation than an ant bite. The cost for each session ranges from $400
to $500. Not cheap, but as Shapiro says, "In the long run, it's
significantly less than the price of liposuction."
Shapiro will see anyone between the ages of 18 and 70 who is in
good health. Those who are on blood thinners, have blood clots or heart
arrhythmia, or are pregnant or undergoing treatment for cancer, diabetes, or
other significant major medical problems are not good candidates for the
While Shapiro uses mesotherapy solely for weight loss and
cellulite, mesotherapy has long been used in Europe and South America for a
number of other conditions as well, ranging from hair loss to herpes,
fibromyalgia, ankle sprains, bursitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and Bell's
palsy, to name a few.
Allyn Brizel, MD, medical director for the Center for Clinical
Age Management in Boca Raton, Fla., attended the recent U.S. training course in
mesotherapy and will soon be offering the treatment to his patients, not only
for cosmetic purposes, but also for hair loss and sports-related injuries.
Brizel admits, though, that mesotherapy is receiving most of its attention in
the U.S. because of its weight-loss benefits. "In this country, money is
made from weight loss," he says.
According to Brizel, using mesotherapy for medical conditions
as well makes sense, although he acknowledges that it is a treatment that's not
widely recognized or accepted in this country. "You're using the same
medications that you would take orally, but in injectable form," he says,
adding that when drugs are given under the skin, the dose is 10% to 20% of the
normal oral dose. "If you're going to take a medicine at all, why not take
it by injection where you can take less of it?" he says.
No Evidence It Works
Not everyone is so gung-ho on the benefits of mesotherapy. Even
though it was recognized in 1987 by the French Academy of Medicine as a part of
traditional medicine, there have been no proven scientific benefits or merits,
says Rod Rohrich, MD, president-elect of the American Society of Plastic
Surgeons and chairman of plastic surgery at the University of Texas
Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. "This borders on medical
experimentation," he says. "Injecting unknown substances into someone
with multiple needle sticks is almost unconscionable."