The Non-Surgical RF Facelift

Skin Care, Cosmesis, and Cosmetic Surgery is a blog about medical care and occasionally the politics of medicine

The non-surgical face lift has taken on a new face. As the merits of RF (radiofrequency, the former little brother of laser surgery) have evolved the non-surgical face lift is now a reality.  Let's call it ... the RF facelift.
The principles of this breakthrough have been well described in the RF medical literature. Basically, if collagen is heated to 65 degrees centigrade. other things being equal, it will melt into a homogenous pulp. This in itself, will tighten the skin. The body, then, responds to this insult by making fresh collagen which can hold its shape and will support the new, tightened skin of the face. Newer equipment, moreover, is able to direct the heat to various levels of facial tissue including the skin and the SMAS and its attachments to the skin. The SMAS is the superficial musculature of the face which is tightened during a surgical facelift. By heating this ultra thin muscle and its attachments many of the tightening changes of the surgical face lift can be duplicated in a non surgical manner in appropriately chosen patients. These types of patients are commonly found in the 40-65 year old bracket where irreversible changes have not occurred. 

I have just completed a study of one of the most advanced RF techologies called the Accent. This newly designed equipment allows more specific patterns of heat distribution and consequent tightening of intended layers of the face while also allowing the physician to determine and duplicate energy settings at each treatment. Each treatment, therefore , can be precisely set to duplicate or even enhance the previous treatment, taking the guess-work out of how much energy to deliver to the face. 

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