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.
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."
Rohrich adds that proponents of mesotherapy say it can be used
for almost anything, "but with no scientific data, this should not be done
on human beings.
"This is just another fad," Rohrich says. "It preys
on the consumer who wants to look for a quick solution, but there are no
shortcuts to good health."
That's what Leroy Young, MD, says as well. To Young, chairman
of the nonsurgical procedures committee for the American Society of Aesthetic
Plastic Surgery, mesotherapy is nothing more than "quackery."
"There's just no proof that it works for any kind of
fat," he says, adding that even those doctors who are in favor of
mesotherapy advise their patients to eat well and exercise more. "If you
eat properly and burn more calories, then guess what? You're going to lose the
fat," says Young.
Wendy Lewis, author of The Beauty Battle and a skin care
and surgery consultant who counsels men and women in both the U.S. and the U.K.
about cosmetic surgery, face and body treatments, and anti-aging issues, agrees
with Rohrich and Young. "Mesotherapy is being touted as a cure for just
about everything," she says. "But there are no guidelines and nothing
Every doctor has his or her own "cocktail" of drugs,
says Lewis. "My fear is that you really don't know what they're injecting
into you." If you do decide to go ahead with the treatment, Lewis says that
it's important to do your homework first. "You need to know what is being
injected into you, what are the side effects, how many injections you'll need,
the fees ... get as much information as you can up front."
At this time, mesotherapists in the U.S. don't have to be
licensed, although efforts are under way to establish a chapter of the
International Society of Mesotherapy in this country. At the moment, though,
says Lewis, there is no way to qualify those who are offering the treatment.
"I think it's tricky stuff," says Lewis. But if you want to do it,
"pay attention and ask questions."