For more than 75 years, radio frequency (RF) technology has been used in medicine, with a focus on achieving improved efficacy and patient comfort in the aesthetics industry developing in the last 15 years. As advances in RF-based treatments spanning from body aesthetics to skin resurfacing, wrinkle reduction, and more continue, these treatments have become increasingly popular among consumers. In particular, demand for non-surgical fat reduction treatments saw the procedure come in third place among the most popular non-surgical treatments in the United States in 2017.
But not all radio frequency aesthetics devices work alike. Discover which RF device features offer improved efficacy and patient comfort for better business growth.
Before getting into too much detail, it’s useful to understand the basics of how radio frequency energy can be manipulated for use in aesthetic treatments. RF energy is frequently delivered to the targeted treatment area via an applicator applied to the surface of the skin. The applicator emits radio frequency energy that penetrates deep within the skin, to the deep dermis and sub-dermal layers, converting to thermal heat in targeted tissue. When collagen is heated, it prompts the treated skin to react by producing more collagen for improved texture and elasticity. When fat cells are heated, radio frequency energy induces apoptosis of selected fat cells for an overall reduction in circumference. Because radio frequency energy is electrical, rather than light-based, melanin remains unaffected and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation is of little concern.
Devices differ by the number and configuration of electrodes in applicators, alongside the varying electromagnetic fields used to deliver the RF energy. Here, we’ll focus in on electrode variations, which can be classified as monopolar, bipolar, or multi-polar.
The first and most common aesthetics devices harnessing RF energy for cosmetic treatments feature monopolar applicators. Monopolar devices utilize a dedicated applicator with one electrode and a grounding plate. The applicator is applied to the surface of the treatment area, with the grounding plate also being applied to the body, but at a distance from the applicator.
Delivered in this way, monopolar RF offers penetration of up to 20 mm, affecting the deep dermis layer and subcutaneous fat. However, penetration depth varies according to factors such as tissue impedance and applicator area. Depending on a patient’s pain tolerance, monopolar treatments are generally less tolerable to patients. It should be noted that monopolar RF treatments vary from unipolar devices, which also utilize a single electrode for application but lack a return pad or grounding plate.
Bipolar RF devices feature two electrodes in the same applicator, with energy traveling from one electrode into the skin and back to the second electrode on the same handpiece. Bipolar applicators better control and distribute energy between electrodes and offer the improved ability to target more specific dermal structures for improved efficacy, compared to monopolar and unipolar devices.
Multi-Polar RF applicators feature three or more electrodes that utilize the unipolar or monopolar systems of current delivery. These applicators often utilize a pattern that allows for the manipulation of active and inactive electrode pairings for greater operator control and efficacy. Depth of penetration for Multi-Polar RF devices alters depending on the distance between electrodes; the greater the distance between electrodes on the applicator, the greater the depth of penetration.
According to a collection of studies, bipolar and multi-polar devices are regarded as the more versatile option for improved efficacy and patient comfort, as well as minimal downtime when compared to monopolar devices.
Advanced medical aesthetic treatment devices featuring proprietary (MP)2 technology combine the proven efficacy and benefits of Multi-Polar Radio Frequency with Pulsed Electro Magnetic Fields (PEMF). This combination offers improved collagen production via the proliferation of dermal fibroblasts and the stimulation of new blood cells for healthy cell renewal.
In particular, Venus Concept’s (MP)2-powered devices utilize a multi-polar applicator with energy output controlled by a complex algorithm for even energy distribution between electrodes, resulting in more homogeneous energy delivery and volumetric heating. Combined with advanced safety features like Real-Time Thermal Feedback and Automatic Temperature Control, these treatments ensure patient safety and comfort alongside improved ease of use for the device operator. Overall, Venus Concept (MP)2 aesthetics devices offer optimal results for many of the most popular non-invasive aesthetics treatments without risking patient comfort or satisfaction. Treatments include body contouring, cellulite reduction, skin tightening, and wrinkle reduction.
Interested in adding radio frequency-based treatments to your aesthetic clinic’s service offerings? Contact an expert today to discover your options.