What is Radiofrequency Skin Tightening?

Skin tightening procedures have become very popular in recent years because they provide a nonsurgical alternative to more invasive procedures for correcting skin laxity and improving skin quality.

What are the brand names for nonsurgical skin tightening?

  • Thermage
  • Accent
  • Pelleve

Who is it for?

The following are some common reasons why you may want to consider nonsurgical skin tightening:

  • You have mild to moderate loose skin on your face, neck, arms and abdomen
  • You have residual skin laxity after an operative procedure
  • You would like an improvement in the quality of your skin
  • You are unable (or unwilling) to undergo a more invasive surgical procedure to correct skin laxity

Pre-op essentials

In advance of your procedure, your surgeon will ask you to:

  • Stop smoking for at least six weeks before undergoing treatment to promote better healing
  • Avoid taking aspirin, certain anti-inflammatory drugs, and some herbal medications can cause increased bleeding
  • Discontinue any topical skin products that might increase your risk of complications from treatment
  • Regardless of the type of treatment to be performed, hydration is very important before and after surgery for safe recovery

What to expect during treatment

Radiofrequency and intense pulsed light treatments heat only the deep layer of your skin. The epidermis or outer skin layer is not damaged. Your body’s natural wound healing response causes collagen changes in the skin which results in skin tightening. A series of treatments is usually performed.

  • The treatment area is measured and marked
  • Your skin is cooled for comfort and safety
  • A specially designed treatment tip is placed against your skin
  • Radiofrequency energy penetrates deep into the skin’s tissue, heating the treatment areas and stimulating collagen production
  • You will feel a gentle vibration as well as cooling and heating sensations during each pulse
  • The upper layer of your skin is cooled

After Treatment

Nonsurgical skin tightening procedures have minimal recovery and you are usually able to resume full activity immediately after treatment. You may notice an immediate improvement in your skin, but your results will unfold over the course of two to six months.

Your surgeon will discuss whether there are any immediate restrictions on your activities and if so, how long it will be before you can return to your normal level of activity. After treatment, you and your caregiver will receive detailed instructions about the care of the treated areas, including information about:

  • Normal symptoms you will experience
  • Potential signs of complications

Limitations and Risks

All procedures have some degree of risk. Some of the potential complications of all nonsurgical procedures are:

  • Adverse reaction to anesthesia, if applicable
  • Changes in sensation
  • Contour irregularities
  • Scarring
  • Allergic reactions
  • Damage to underlying structures
  • Small burns
  • Skin reddening, swelling, and numbness of the treatment area(s)
  • Pigment (skin color) changes
  • Loss of volume beneath the treatment area(s)
  • Unsatisfactory results that may necessitate additional procedures

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