Mesotherapy is a surgical technique used to treat certain types of cancerous tumors with minimal side effects. Mesotherapy involves removing one or several lymph nodes (called mesenteries) from the neck area, which contain cancer cells. These lymph nodes are removed through a small incision made on the skin over the collarbone. After mesotherapy, the patient will have a scar around the neck and may experience some temporary pain. However, there is no evidence that mesotherapy causes long term problems. There are many different methods of mesotherapy. Some surgeons use only one method while others choose between two or three methods depending on the type of tumor being treated. Mesotherapy is usually performed under general anesthesia. A local anesthetic such as lidocaine is injected into the neck area before surgery. Anesthesia can cause some minor discomfort during the operation but most patients report little to no pain after their treatment.
The procedure itself takes less than ten minutes and results in a scar around the neck, which will disappear naturally over time. The surgeon then uses scalpels to remove any remaining lymph nodes from the neck area. This process is performed until all of the cancerous lymph nodes are removed. The body then produces new lymph nodes to replace the ones that were taken out.
Multiple sessions of mesotherapy may be needed to completely remove all of the cancer cells in some patients and surgery may be repeated at a later date if this is the case. If there are no signs of cancer in the neck area after the first session of surgery, further treatment is not required. Mesotherapy is most commonly used as a treatment for people whose cancer has spread to the lymph nodes in the neck but has not spread elsewhere in the body. In these cases, mesotherapy may cause the remaining cancerous lymph nodes to shrink and slow the growth of any remaining cancer cells. There is some evidence that mesotherapy may also benefit people with certain types of lung cancer that have spread to the neck lymph nodes.
In these cases, the mesotherapy may lessen pain and other symptoms caused by cancer cells in the neck.
The number of lymph nodes removed during the surgery depends on the type and stage of cancer being treated. If all areas of cancer involvement have been identified before the operation begins, only one session of mesotherapy may be required. However, if cancer remains in other parts of the body after the first surgery, a second or even third surgery may be required.
If you are a candidate for mesotherapy, your doctor will go over the benefits and risks of the procedure before agreeing to perform it. In some cases the benefits do not outweigh the risks and surgery may not be performed at all. Be sure to ask as many questions about mesotherapy as you like before making a decision about whether or not to have this procedure. How well mesotherapy works depends on many different factors. It’s important to remember that not everyone is a good candidate for this treatment and some people may experience negative side effects.
After your surgery, you will most likely go home the same day. You may experience some pain or discomfort in your neck but this should improve within a few days. You may also have difficulty turning your neck from side to side for several weeks after the procedure but this too should improve with time. Complete recovery may take up to a few months.
There are few risks involved with mesotherapy and serious side effects are rare. Some people experience mild pain in the area where the lymph nodes were removed for a short period of time after surgery. Others may develop a superficial skin infection around the surgical wound. This can be treated with antibiotics and should clear up quickly. You might also feel tired or fatigued for a short period of time after surgery.
The most common side effect is unilateral swellings on one side of the neck. These are caused by the lymphedema and can be managed by wearing a support bandage for up to a year after the operation.
Other side effects of less concern may include an itchy or tingling sensation in the area where the lymph nodes were removed. This is temporary and should go away within a few weeks to months.
The success of mesotherapy depends on many factors that differ from person to person. In some cases, the therapy has successfully reduced or eliminated lymphedema in one or both arms. In others, it has been less effective or has not worked at all. The number and location of the lymph nodes removed can have an effect on the success of the treatment. If the nodes are too numerous or located in an inopportune place, the procedure may not work and a second or even third surgery may be required.
Mesotherapy is not a substitute for standard lymphedema treatment. Following your surgery you will still need to learn how to care for your arm and monitor for signs of lymphedema recurring. If it does, you may need to undergo additional treatment through intervention or another form of surgery.
Sources & references used in this article:
Mesotherapy: what is it? Does it work? by RJ Rohrich – 2005 – journals.lww.com
Mesotherapy and phosphatidylcholine injections: historical clarification and review by AM Rotunda, MS Kolodney – Dermatologic surgery, 2006 – Wiley Online Library
Mesotherapy by M Vedamurthy – Indian Journal of Dermatology, Venereology, and …, 2007 – go.gale.com
Mesotherapy for body contouring by A Matarasso, TM Pfeifer… – Plastic and …, 2005 – journals.lww.com