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Nonexcisional Tissue Tightening: Creating Skin Surface Area Reduction During Abdominal Liposuction by Adding Radiofrequency Heating

Treatment / Technology

Background: Recent publications show that heat-mediated tissue tightening is a promising treatment for the lax abdomen and may provide better long-term outcomes than traditional suction-assisted liposuction (SAL).

Objectives: The author evaluates the degree and duration of skin surface area contraction, as well as the influence of anatomic location of the treatment region on the degree of tissue tightening, in a study comparing SAL alone vs SAL plus radiofrequency-assisted liposuction (RFAL).

Methods: In this prospective, randomized, split abdominal study, 12 consecutive patients were treated with SAL alone on 1 side and with SAL plus RFAL on the other side. Each patient had 4 (3 × 3-cm) squares—2 per treatment type—tattooed in the lower abdominal region (2 on the right and 2 on the left). The surface area of these squares was measured with the Vectra computerized measurement system (Canfield, Inc, Fairfield, New Jersey) at pretreatment, at 6 weeks posttreatment, and at 1 year posttreatment. All measurements were subjected to statistical analysis using predictive analytic software and were evaluated for statistical significance.

Results: In regions treated with SAL alone, there was a 10.4% mean skin surface area contraction at 6 weeks and 8.3% at 1 year post treatment. The mean skin surface area reduction was 25.8% in regions treated with radiofrequency plus SAL at 6 weeks and 36.4% at 1 year. The anatomic location of each square (medial vs lateral) did not statistically correlate with more or less tissue tightening.

Conclusions: Radiofrequency-assisted tissue tightening, when applied in conjunction with SAL, is effective in achieving greater skin surface area


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