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Radiofrequency Systems

What are radiofrequency applications?

Radiofrequency is an electromagnetic radiation at the frequency range of 3 kHz to 300 GHz. It has been used in various fields of medicine (general surgery, cardiology, neurology, orthopedics, etc.) for over 100 years. It can be used in various indications in dermatology thanks to technologies developed in recent years. Radiofrequency systems mainly use radio waves to activate the water molecules and ions in the body. As a result, energy is released in that area and the skin heats up. Heating can be superficial or deep depending on the problem. While the normal body temperature is 36-37 degrees, the area treated with radiofrequency systems is heated to 40-43 degrees. However, when the skin reaches this temperature, the temperature in the subcutaneous area is up to 55 degrees. The collagen fibers in the subcutaneous area are shortened and the associated tissues are therefore tightened together with the skin. Besides, fibroblast cells are stimulated and new collagen synthesis occurs in time. The subcutaneous fat layer is heated under control and a decrease in fat tissue is achieved in systems targeting deep tissues. Since it has no effect on the melanin in the skin, the method is safe and effective and can be used for all skin types.

What is radiofrequency used for?

  • To decrease wrinkles and sagging of the face, neck, eye periphery, and décolletage,
  • To reduce the appearance of a double chin,
  • To tighten up loose tissues in the arms and legs,
  • To help local (abdomen, arm, leg, hip) thinning,
  • To decrease skin contour irregularities after liposuction,
  • To decrease cellulite appearance.
  • Needle Radiofrequency systems are also effective in reducing acne scars.

What are the materials used in radiofrequency applications?

There are now various Radiofrequency systems such as monopolar, bipolar, tripolar, needle (fractional) and combined. The common feature of these systems is to heat the skin by sending radio waves. The skin is heated at a depth that varies according to the desired effect and targeted area. While the dermis layer of the skin is targeted for face lifting and reducing wrinkles, both the dermis and subcutaneous fat layer are targeted for cellulite and regional thinning. The degree to which the skin is heated is monitored from the device during the process. The desired effect can thus be achieved without any damage to the skin. Radiofrequency applications other than needle systems do not cause any effect on the skin surface. However, improving the upper layer of the skin with needle systems is desired in order to reduce scar tissue, especially those developing after acne.

How many sessions of radiofrequency should be applied?

The number of sessions varies according to the type of the radiofrequency system used. The first radiofrequency system developed for anti-aging purposes was monopolar radiofrequency. Among monopolar radiofrequency systems, Thermage was the first product to be developed. It received FDA approval for wrinkles and sagging around the eye in 2002, facial sagging in 2004, and sagging of the body regions in 2005. The energy and power it can produce are much higher compared to other radiofrequency systems. It can be effective with a single session. Its effect is sustained for 18-36 months depending on structural and environmental factors. Repeated the treatment 2 years after the initial application is usually recommended. A total of 4-8 sessions with a mean interval of 7-14 days are recommended for radiofrequency systems applied at lower energies.

What are the recommendations after radiofrequency application?

  • The person can continue with his/her social life after the application.

When is radiofrequency not used?

  • In pregnant or lactating women,
  • Subjects with a pacemaker,
  • Patients who have a heat-triggered disease in the treatment area,
  • Those with a metal implant in the application area.