Radio frequency skin tightening
Radio frequency skin tightening (RF) is an aesthetic technique that uses RF energy to heat tissue and stimulate subdermal collagen production in order to reduce the appearance of fine lines and loose skin. The technique induces tissue remodeling and production of new collagen and elastin. The process provides an alternative to facelift and other cosmetic surgeries. RF treatment also causes apoptosis of fat cells, which leads to fat layer reduction in the treated area.
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.
Several companies manufacture RF devices, including 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).
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.
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