Destin, FL (PRWEB) November 19, 2013
Radiofrequency use in medical treatments has over a 70 year history. It has been used for multiple applications but the most exciting innovations recently have been in skin tightening. Thermage in 2002 was the first to market a device which was FDA approved to tighten skin and improve wrinkles. Since then, there have been a least a dozen devices come to market with similar technology. The “knock” on most of these devices has been that their results are sometimes minimal.
Research has shown that heating the dermis to a certain temperature will cause collagen stimulation and contraction. By heating to 40-45 degrees Celsius, enough heat is created to cause the body to try to repair the area by laying down new collagen. Higher temperatures, in the 65 degree range, will denature collagen and cause contraction. Obviously this requires more energy but this equates to more visible results. Here’s the problem with all cutaneous devices: It is very difficult to heat the dermis to a temperature that is effective and still maintain safe temperatures for the skin surface. If the surface were to reach the 40-45 degree area, it would burn. So, these device’s solution has been to try to cool the surface while pumping in energy to the deeper layers. This becomes a very difficult and unpredictable task. The devices rely on the tissues to carry the energy to the right level. Differences in skin thickness, hydration and the composition of collagen and fat can lead to placement of the energy at unknown or variable depths. If the energy is placed too deep, you can get fat necrosis, as what was occurring with the early Thermage device, and if placed too superficial, the skin skin can burn or get hyperpigmentation. Also, if you don’t actually reach the critical temperatures, you will get no stimulation of collagen. Multiple treatments are the norm for several of these devices because getting collagen stimulation is very difficult with the one treatment. The bottom line is that all cutaneous RF devices have the problem with unpredictable heating of the dermis and therefore lack reliable results.
By treating only a fraction of the tissue, you can have more safety, more comfort, yet still get fairly similar results than treating the entire area. This concept has been borne out mainly with lasers in the arena of fractional laser resurfacing. Almost all of the devices use a bulk heating method and not a fractional heating, so the risk, downtime, and discomfort are high. By keeping surrounding tissues untreated (fractionally) as with the Infini, you get faster healing, less pain, and much less risk.
So how can we get more predictability with RF? Penetrate the skin to the level you would like to heat with microneedles and bypass the superficial layer that must stay cool and untreated. You can heat the deeper tissues to a much higher level with this technique, leading to greater collagen remodeling, collagen contraction, and stimulation. As a secondary benefit, the actual penetration with microneedles has been shown to mechanically stimulate fibroblasts to produce collagen. Going deeper into the skin allows for some treatment opportunities which haven’t been/or poorly been addressed in the past with RF devices: Acne treatment (attacking the sebaceous glands), acne or other scarring (particularly darker skin types), and sweating (attacking the sweat glands).
Dr. Steve Weiner is a Facial Plastic Surgeon who “laid down his scalpel” in 2005 and concentrates solely on non invasive and minimally invasive cosmetic procedures at The Aesthetic Clinique. His website is http://www.theclinique.net . Call for a consultation: 850.622.1214.