Mesotherapy was developed by Dr. Michel Pistor in France, where it has been used since 1952. Indicated primarily for treating pain that originates from injured musculoskeletal tissues, the technique involves the injection of a combination of vitamins, drugs, and supplements into the mesodermal or middle layer of the skin. The dermis acts as a time-release dosing system, allowing very small amounts of medicine to be absorbed over an extended period of time.

For what conditions is mesotherapy used?

Mesotherapy is gaining popularity in the United States as a form of cosmetic medicine, as well as a therapy for sports injuries, pain management, and general medicine. In one case series, 65 patients with chronic thoracic pain reported beneficial effects of mesotherapy treatments when other pain relievers had been unscuccessful.1 A second study of 267 patients with degenerative arthritic pain found mesotherapy to be an “effective and reasonable treatment option” with no adverse side effects.2

What compounds are used in mesotherapy injections?

Mesotherapy solutions generally contain a base solution consisting of a local anesthetic and a vasodilatory pharmaceutical drug. Other medicines are added, depending on the condition being treated. Substances fall into the categories of vasodilators, anti-inflammatories, muscle relaxants, decontractants, proteolytic enzymes, biologics (such as vitamins, minerals, and plant extracts), vaccines, anti-infectants, hormones, hormone blockers, general medicine physiologics, and anesthetics. For example, in rheumatoid arthritis, plant and pharmacologic agents are used to control inflammation. For cellulite, a vasodilator to increase blood flow, a stimulator of lymph drainage, and a lipolytic agent to break down fat tissue would be used.

What types of sports injuries might be treated with mesotherapy?

Sports injuries that may be treated with mesotherapy include ligament sprains, muscle tears, overuse injuries, plantar fascitis, shin splints, stress fractures, and tendon strains. Mesotherapy also may help heal calcifications in structures such as the biceps and rotator cuff tendons.

How does mesotherapy help eliminate cellulite and wrinkles?

The puckery look of cellulite results from a deficiency in the venolymphatic system. Since mesotherapy injections reach the subcutaneous fat, they can break down fat nodules as well as improve the venous and lymphatic flow. For cellulite as well as wrinkles, mesotherapy is best used in conjunction with an overall program to improve health, including correcting hormonal imbalances, nutrient deficiencies, dehydration, and diet.

Do the injections hurt?

Injection depths typically range from only 2 to 6 mm with extremely small needles. If the clinician pinches the skin prior to the injection, the patient may not even feel the needle sticks.

How many treatments are necessary?

The number of shots and length of treatment vary with the condition. Treatments may be given once per week, later extending to once every two weeks or once per month, with the number of shots ranging from 8 to 300. For long-term chronic conditions, such as wrinkles, at least 15 sessions may be needed. For acute sports injuries, only one to three sessions may be required.

Where is mesotherapy practiced?

Mesotherapy is widely practiced in France, where there are more than 15,000 practitioners. The treatment also is used throughout Europe and in other countries throughout the world. Mesotherapy must be performed by a licensed health care clinician permitted to do injections.

1 Smail H. Anterior thoracic pain with vertebral origins [in French]. 9th International Mesotherapy Conference [held by the French Society of Mesotherapy; proceedings]. Paris, France, October 20-22, 2000.
2 Leah da Silva J, Mesquita ME. Evaluation results of two methods of treatment with mesotherapy for chronic degenerative rheumatic pain [in French]. 9th International Mesotherapy Conference [held by the French Society of Mesotherapy; proceedings].
Paris, France, October 20-22, 2000.