Radio-frequency skin tightening

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Radio-frequency skin tightening is an aesthetic technique that uses radio frequency (RF) energy to heat tissue and stimulate subdermal collagen production in order to reduce the appearance of fine lines and loose skin.[1] The technique induces tissue remodeling[2] and production of new collagen and elastin.[3] The process provides an alternative to facelift[4] and other cosmetic surgeries. RF treatment also causes apoptosis of fat cells,[5] which leads to fat layer reduction in the treated area.[6]

By manipulating skin cooling during treatment, RF can also be used for heating and reduction of fat. Currently, the most common uses of RF-based devices are to noninvasively manage and treat skin tightening of lax skin (including sagging jowls, abdomen, thighs, and arms), as well as wrinkle reduction, cellulite improvement, and body contouring.[7]

Several companies manufacture RF devices, including D-Finitive Evo by Beco Medical V-Form by Viora, Thermage by Solta Medical, Venus Freeze by Venus Concept, VelaShape by Syneron, Exilis by BTL, and 3DEEP by Endymed. Alternative techniques include Laser Resurfacing and certain Ultrasound alternatives. Typically, treatment requires a series of 8-12 treatment sessions lasting 30–45 minutes. Devices have different penetration depths depending on the number of electrodes (monopolar, bipolar, or unipolar).[8]

Side effects[edit]

Due to radiation of high-energy radio frequency, several patients have reported pain requiring sedation during the procedure. The process also requires extreme care in its execution for improper application may result in dents on the skin surface due to uneven healing responses on the skin. Many effects including fat necrosis and atrophic scarring have also been reported, although several new techniques have overcome this obstacle. With the application of a vacuum at the point of application, the burning and crusting was reportedly reduced.


  1. ^ Gold, Michael H. (2010). "Update on Tissue Tightening". The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology. 3 (5): 36–41. ISSN 1941-2789. PMC 2922712. PMID 20725568.
  2. ^ Alster, Tina S.; Jason R. Lupton (2007). "Nonablative cutaneous remodeling using radiofrequency devices". Clinics in Dermatology. 25 (5): 487–491. doi:10.1016/j.clindermatol.2007.05.005. ISSN 0738-081X. PMID 17870527. Retrieved 2014-06-16.
  3. ^ Hantash, Basil M.; Anan Abu Ubeid; Hong Chang; Reza Kafi; Bradley Renton (2009). "Bipolar fractional radiofrequency treatment induces neoelastogenesis and neocollagenesis". Lasers in Surgery and Medicine. 41 (1): 1–9. doi:10.1002/lsm.20731. ISSN 1096-9101. PMID 19143021.Zelickson, Brian D; David Kist; Eric Bernstein; Douglas B Brown; Sergey Ksenzenko; Jay Burns; Suzanne Kilmer; David Mehregan; Karl Pope (2004). "Histological and ultrastructural evaluation of the effects of a radiofrequency-based nonablative dermal remodeling device: a pilot study". Archives of Dermatology. 140 (2): 204–209. doi:10.1001/archderm.140.2.204. ISSN 0003-987X. PMID 14967794.
  4. ^ El-Domyati, Moetaz; Tarek S. El-Ammawi; Walid Medhat; Osama Moawad; Donna Brennan; Mỹ G. Mahoney; Jouni Uitto (2011). "Radiofrequency facial rejuvenation: Evidence-based effect". Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. 64 (3): 524–535. doi:10.1016/j.jaad.2010.06.045. ISSN 0190-9622. PMID 21315951. Retrieved 2014-06-18.
  5. ^ McDaniel, David; Lozanova, Paula (June 2015). "Human Adipocyte Apoptosis Immediately Following High Frequency Focused Field Radio Frequency: Case Study". Journal of Drugs in Dermatology: JDD. 14 (6): 622–623. ISSN 1545-9616. PMID 26091389.
  6. ^ Downie, Jeanine; Kaspar, Miroslav (April 2016). "Contactless Abdominal Fat Reduction With Selective RF™ Evaluated by Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): Case Study". Journal of Drugs in Dermatology: JDD. 15 (4): 491–495. ISSN 1545-9616. PMID 27050705.
  7. ^ Weiss, Robert A. (March 2013). "Noninvasive radio frequency for skin tightening and body contouring". Seminars in Cutaneous Medicine and Surgery. 32 (1): 9–17. ISSN 1085-5629. PMID 24049924.
  8. ^ Weiss, Robert A. (2013). "Noninvasive radio frequency for skin tightening and body contouring". Seminars in Cutaneous Medicine and Surgery. 32 (1): 9–17. ISSN 1085-5629. PMID 24049924.