Skin Tightening using Radiofrequency or Pulsed Light
Skin tightening using radiofrequency, a device, or both may be considered non-surgical. Common radiofrequency devices are Solta’s Thermage device or Alma’s Accent. Common pulsed light devices are Cutera’s Titan or Sciton’s ST. Syneron’s Velashape combine radiofrequency and light energy.
How does Radiofrequency or Pulsed Light work as Skin Tightening Treatments?
Radiofrequency (RF) works similar to the way your microwave oven reheats food. RF energy acts on your tissue to induce heat. The goal is to control the heating to be “just enough” to stimulate “good” tightening of your tissues. Just as there are hot and cool spots in microwave cooking, RF energy can affect tissue differently in different people.
Pulsed light treatments can work in 2 ways: Converting light to heat in your tissue (similar to the sun warming your skin) and by stimulating repair cells in your skin.
Compared to other skin tightening treatment, the major difference for light and RF is that the epidermis or outer skin layer is not damaged in any way but the radiofrequency energy or light energy heats the deeper skin layers during the treatment. The body’s natural wound healing response then causes collagen changes in the skin with resultant skin tightening. A series of these treatments is usually performed.
Non-Surgical Skin Tightening Technique
Your doctor will help assess whether you are a good candidate for these treatments. The different systems have different criteria to ensure your safety. Depending on local custom (and local regulations), treatment may be done either by your doctor or a technician on his staff.
The area to be treated is cleaned of makeup and skin lotions. Some treatments require a thin coat of ultrasound gel during treatment. Premedication may be required depending upon device, treatment area, and your individual needs. One or more “passes” may be performed. Treatment may take anywhere from several minutes to one hour to complete.
Non-Surgical Skin Tightening Benefits
- A non-invasive technique that can tighten facial or body skin
- No surgery required
- Minimal discomfort
- Minimal risk of change in skin
- May be used for all skin types
- Rare downtime
Non-Surgical Skin Tightening Considerations
- Non-surgical skin tightening cannot give the same results as a facelift or body tuck procedure.
- These treatments are useful after a surgical procedure to improve skin quality
- Multiple treatments are usually be needed
- Small burns are rare but possible
- Skin may be red in the treated area for a few hours
- Rare loss of volume beneath in treatment areas has been reported
Non surgical skin tightening devices have minimal recovery and full activity may be resumed immediately.
Will it be painful?
The pain level depends upon the device and setting used. Current treatments are less painful than older protocols as less energy and more “passes” are generally used
Will there be scarring?
The risk of scarring is very small.
What are some typical short-term side-effects?
Some patients may experience skin redness, temporary swelling of the treated area and temporary numbness of the area
Why type of anesthesia, if any, will be used?
Some devices may require oral or intravenous type medications
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