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Revolutionary Radiofrequency

Posted On March 6, 2018

Marvel at these cosmetic procedures that effectively rejuvenate your body longer—and with no downtime

By SYBIL FIX  »  Photos by LEA AUSTEN

Talk of radiofrequency might conjure middle-school science and make you yawn, but in the hands of the right people it makes your body perk up—and perk up you should! 

Three third-generation, non-invasive cosmetic treatments that make use of the physical properties of radiofrequency are creating revolutionary results in fat reduction, skin tightening, and collagen production that are nothing short of miraculous in effectiveness and safety, with no downtime and much longer-lasting results.

“I can see the results happening right before me, and that is very exciting,” said Lori Wrightington, director of Laser & MediSpa Services for Dermatology & Laser Center of Charleston. “This is third-generation technology that has really improved immensely.” 

Heat It Up

Back to middle school science, how does radiofrequency work? In simple terms, radiofrequency takes advantage of the positive and negative charges in molecules to produce an electromagnetic wave that makes the molecules vibrate and flip back and forth. This movement generates vibration and heat, which, in the skin, kills off fat cells, or, conversely, stimulates blood flow, the regeneration of collagen, and the tightening of the skin. 

Hence, application of radiofrequency to different parts of the body, at different depths in the tissue, in different quantities and with different kinds of applicators generates a series of cosmetic results that, says Wrightington, are nothing short of revolutionary. 

The first treatment is called BTL Vanquish ME, an FDA-approved, non-invasive, radio frequency fat removal procedure that never even touches your skin. 

Feeling much like a heating blanket, this technology disrupts fatty cells through the selective heating of fat tissue. This leads to fatty cell shrinkage and elimination. Because it can treat a large area of the body, it removes more fat compared to other procedures, with absolutely no invasiveness or downtime, and in fact, Wrightington said, it may debulk even patients who are not eligible for other fat-reduction treatments. In addition, the results last long after the treatment ceases—the radiofrequency continues to kill off fat cells—and has the added benefit of tightening the skin. 

The second treatment, called Exilis Ultra 360, also FDA-approved, tightens and rejuvenates the skin through a direct contact applicator that stimulates collagen production. We each lose about a teaspoon of collagen per year from our face, so being able to replace that lost collagen with new growth is extremely helpful to maintain a youthful appearance. The heat, carefully applied and regulated, feels much like a hot-stone massage, Wrightington said, and can be used on all parts of the body, from face to neck to toes, hands, arms, and legs. 

“I have never seen such a nice result with no downtime, and the technology is very versatile,” Wrightington said. “There is no hitch!”

Radiofrequency Can Make You Blush

If you are not perked up yet, the third revolutionary radiofrequency application is something called Ultra Femme 360. FDA-approved, the technology provides state-of-the-art, non-invasive treatment for vaginal rejuvenation, tightening and improvement of sexual function.

So, what does this do? As in other parts of the body, the radiofrequency increases blood supply to the area, rebuilds collagen, and improves elasticity, both in the inner and outer vaginal areas. In addition to having aesthetic benefits and improving the sexual experience, the procedure has real medical benefits, bringing lasting improvements in post-partum incontinence and relief from post-menopausal dryness that causes pain during intercourse. 

“This is not something that people like to talk about, but when they do, it’s such a relief,” said Wrightington. “When women start to tell you about their concerns, you learn that it really is an issue.”

The Ultra Femme 360 treatment is an incredible alternative to traditionally expensive and higher risk surgeries, such as vaginal meshes and labiaplasties. This treatment is low risk, has zero downtime, and is incredibly effective. Particularly for women after childbirth, this can be a game changer," said Dr. Brandon Coakley, also with Dermatology & Laser Center of Charleston. “Many women are distressed about post-partum changes such as bladder leakage with normal sneezing or jogging, and this technology offers very significant improvement. It really should be part of the normal post-partum discussion for all women,” he said.

The landmark clinical trial for this radiofrequency technology also looked at changes in sexual satisfaction. The women participating in this trial reported reaching climax 50 percent faster after receiving treatment, likely because of increased blood supply, skin tightening and increased lubrication.

All of these radiofrequency treatments still cost in the thousands of dollars (the treatments and costs are strictly individual, so Wrightington encourages everyone to call for an evaluation), but the results last for years with little upkeep and no time lost. 

“People used to have to come back every month or every few months or so, but now the results last much longer,” she said. “So, it’s still much more affordable than surgery or liposuction, or other treatments.” 

Don’t Forget the Skin

All this talk of beauty and sexual rejuvenation shouldn’t lull you into forgetting that skin cancer remains a prevalent disease. One in every five Americans will develop skin cancer in a lifetime, and, of course, it’s even more likely in sunny locales such as Charleston. 

More than 3 million people are diagnosed every year with non-melanoma kinds of skin cancer, and while those do not often kill, Coakley said, “they certainly maim people.”

Coakley recommends regular skin checks, and, in the eventuality that a skin cancer is actually caught early and diagnosed, he is a proponent of something called Mohs Micrographic Surgery, the most advanced, precise and effective treatment for a wide variety of skin cancer types.

The particularity of this type of surgery, which is administered by specifically trained and certified dermatologists such as Coakley, is that contrary to standard skin cancer excisions, skin tissue is removed layer by layer as needed with Mohs rather than in an initial chunk. Tissue is examined then and there before the doctor proceeds to remove a new layer. 

The standard practice of removing one-quarter inch or one-half inch of tissue around a skin cancer is fine on a hidden part of a leg or the back, where extra skin allows a greater margin and the scar will not be visible. However, it is certainly not ideal in cosmetically sensitive areas, such as the face, where one strives to keep as much healthy tissue as possible.  

“Every additional millimeter you cut out for the cancer removal means a bigger scar,” Coakley said. 

“In addition, because of its precision and simultaneous pathological analysis, Mohs has a 99-percent efficacy rate, making it the standard of care for a high-cure rate,” Coakley said.  

“Mohs is simply the best treatment for facial skin cancers because it removes the least amount of skin, has the highest cure rate and results in the best cosmetic outcome.” dermandlaser.com

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