Radiofrequency treatment (Thermage®,ThermaCool®, Aurora®, Polaris®, Comet®)

Purpose:

To tighten skin and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

The treatment:

The manufacturers of radiofrequency equipment recommend that it is only used following a consultation with a doctor by operators who have been specially trained to operate the machines.
Treatments which combine radiofrequency treatment with laser or intense pulsed light treatment should only be carried out in establishments licensed by the Healthcare Commission.

Radiofrequency treatment is a "non-ablative" treatment which means that it acts on the middle and lower layers of the skin while causing little or no damage to the top layer of the skin.

The practitioner will use a handpiece containing one or two electrodes to deliver radiofrequency energy into the middle and lower layers of the skin. This heats the middle and lower layers of the skin. This heating process is said to cause tightening of existing collagen, as well as stimulating new collagen to form. Some machines also include a cooling spray which cools the treated skin immediately following the action of the radio waves. An anaesthetic cream may be applied and then removed before the treatment begins.

Some treatment machines combine radiofrequency energy with lasers or intense pulsed light for treating uneven pigmentation and hair removal, as well as fine lines and wrinkles. Treatments include Thermage/ThermaCool®, Aurora®, Polaris® and Comet®.

Manufacturers claim that the improvements will become increasingly visible over a six month period and may last for up to two years.

The risks:

The skin may be red for a day or two after treatment, and some people may experience some swelling, bruising or blistering. The treatment is not suitable for people who have pacemakers or any metal implants as the radiofrequency energy may interfere with the safe operation of these devices or implants.

Before you start:

The manufacturers state that radiofrequency treatment works best on people who do not have too much sagging skin.

Also see:

Brow lift
Chemical peel
Dermabrasion
Laser skin resurfacing
Light rejuvenation therapy
Facelift
Thread lift

Procedure information is copyright Department of Health (http://www.dh.gov.uk. Reproduced under the terms of the Click-Use Licence.