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Radiofrequency (RF)

What is Radiofrequency (RF)?

Radiofrequency is a skin-bypassing form of technology. It emits heat energy. It is a different form of energy than a laser or Intense Pulsed Light.

What is it commonly used for?

Radiofrequency or RF devices are commonly used in aesthetic practices.  RF devices are used for skin tightening, collagen production, body contouring by heating up and destroying fat cells, and facial rejuvenation.  A larger area, such as the abdomen or flank, can be treated in a shorter period of time.

How does it work?

Radiofrequency energy consists of alternating wavelength current that is delivered by a specialized electrode(s).  As the energy travels across the tissue, the polarity or electrical charge of the skin tissue is changed.  The friction of the movement of the energy current creates heat in the epidermis and or dermis.  Radiofrequency devices can be designed as being “monopolar” thus using a dispersive electrode that is worn by the client during the procedure.  Since RF energy travels the path of least resistance or impedance in the skin, the RF energy travels across the body and returns back to the device via the dispersive pad. Some RF devices are “bipolar” and travel more superficially across the tissue.  The current travels from the positively charged electrode to the negatively charged electrode that is contained in the tip of the device or handpiece.  No dispersive electrode is needed to be worn during the procedure.  RF energy can be used solely or in combination with lasers or with intense pulsed light.

What are the benefits of Radiofrequency?

These skin-bypassing technologies can be effective with a wide range of patients, including those with darker color skin that may experience discoloration with a laser.

updated June 3, 2010

Ultrasound and Radiofrequency in Dermatology
Girish S. Munavalli, MD, MHS explains the advantages of ultrasound and radiofrequency for fat reduction and skin rejuvenation.

The views expressed and materials presented in this video represent the personal views of the individual speaker(s) and do not represent the opinion of the ASLMS. The ASLMS assumes no responsibility for the content of the videos made by the speaker or group of speakers.

The American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery is the world’s largest scientific organization dedicated to promoting research, education and high standards of clinical care in the field of medical laser applications. It provides a forum for the exchange of scientific information and participation in communicating the latest developments in laser medicine and surgery to clinicians, research investigators, government and regulatory agencies, and the public.

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