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Three Dimensional Radiofrequency Tissue Tightening: A Proposed Mechanism and Applications for Body Contouring

Treatment / Technology

“Linear contraction observed at 3 months follow-up were much more significant than reported with any other technology and varied from 12.7% up to 47% depending on patient and treatment variables.”

Abstract: The use of radiofrequency energy to produce collagen matrix contraction is presented. Controlling the depth of energy delivery, the power applied, the target skin temperature, and the duration of application of energy at various soft tissue levels produces soft tissue contraction, which is measurable. This technology allows precise soft tissue modelling at multiple levels to enhance the result achieved over traditional suction-assisted lipectomy as well as other forms of energy such as ultrasonic and laser-generated lipolysis.

Conclusion: We believe the study results confirm the hypothesis of Kenkel [17], i.e., skin tightening and elasticity changes following thermal lipoplasty are mostly a result of subdermal tissue contraction but not dermal, which experiences lower heating during the treatment. It is clear that 40–42°C on the skin surface cannot result in an immediate contraction effect. Deep dermal remodeling may account for some horizontal contraction over time. It is possible that the dermal-fat junction experiences higher temperatures, but this process requires future investigation. We believe that the mechanism of subcutaneous collagen contraction during RF-assisted liposuction is similar to that witnessed in other types of collagen in that the contraction process has thermal contraction thresholds in the range of 60–70°C.
It is likely more accurate to talk about tissue contraction rather than skin tightening because significant area contraction is a result of the strong contribution of deeper adipose fascial layers. Further studies with accurate 3D area measurements will tell us more about the RF-mediated area contraction in this RFAL technology. This RFAL thermal process and contraction can be effectively applied during a liposuction treatment in selected cases, improving patient satisfaction and extending liposuction procedures to higher-weight patients and patients with compromised skin conditions.


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