British Skin Foundation - Older Skin

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Are RF and Hifu treatments safe?

Postby redmaggie on Mon Mar 13, 2017 12:12 pm

THere is a lot of promotion for "non surgical face" lifts, such as Radio frequency (monopolar) and Hifu (ultrasound).
Do they cause fat loss from the face in older women? I am finding it hard to get an answer to this question. I have also seen both treatments specifically marketed for fat loss on the body. I'm 59 and have quite a thin face to start with so I really want to avoid anything that would make my skin layers lose more fat!

Thank you!
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Re: Are RF and Hifu treatments safe?

Postby Dr Anjali Mahto on Thu Mar 16, 2017 11:15 pm

Thank you for this very interesting question. I think the reason you are finding it difficult to get a straight forward answer to your question is because i'm not sure there is a straightforward answer! That said, I shall do my best to explain!

HIFU (eg. ulthera) uses highly focused ultrasound to stimulate collagen for lifting and tightening - usually of the lower face and neck. When treatment is carried out, the practitioner can directly view the layer of skin they are targeting for this effect. The treatment depth is carefully controlled with transducers and energy is delivered to a layer known as the SMAS. It should therefore not interfere with the fat or subcutaneous layer causing its break down.

Radiofrequency (eg. Thermage, Pelleve, Accent) uses radiofrequency energy to heat the tissue and promote collagen production leading to skin tightening. Radiofrequency can be described as monopolar or bipolar. Loss of fat (fat atrophy) has been recognised and linked to older monopolar devices. More modern devices have built-in temperature sensors to prevent excessive heating of skin and fat atropy is a rare complication.

I hope this helps!

Dr Anjali Mahto
Consultant Dermatologist and British Skin Foundation spokesperson
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Dr Anjali Mahto
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