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Microneedle RF for cellulite

In a study of 28 female patients with cellulite, the Profound (Syneron Candela) microneedle-based fractional radiofrequency device resulted in a 100% response rate at various degrees for rebuilding collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid.

The study’s author Leyda Elizabeth Bowes, M.D., medical director, Bowes Aesthetics & Body Contouring, in Miami, Fla., presented the findings in April at ASLMS 2016, the 36th Annual Conference of the American Society for Laser Medicine & Surgery, Boston, Mass.

Dr. Bowes treated patients with the device bilaterally, and graded cellulite severity at one, three and six months. 

“The treatments were done using a modified 6-mm length 5-pair micro-needle tip at a 75-degree angle,” Dr. Bowes tells Cosmetic Surgery Times. “At the six-month follow up, we found an improvement in the degree of cellulite, typically by one to two points on the grading scale, which translates to a 30% to 40% improvement. That’s only with one minimally invasive, 30-minute treatment. This is quite significant.”

Related: CoolSculpting for cellulite?

Most patients in the study, she says, are planning to do a second treatment, with the hopes to achieve further enhancement of results.  

Dr. Bowes reports the treatment resulted in improvement of the skin’s overall appearance. She attributes the improvement to the device’s stimulation of new collagen. The increased collagen production also improves skin texture and the cellulite’s indentations and undulations, which she says improved moderately with one treatment in the study.

What’s different about the Profound system for cellulite is that the needles penetrate about 6-mm, reaching the subcutaneous fat, where the thermal effect of the radiofrequency affects the fatty tissue and stimulates, in turn, the production of collagen. It is precisely this collagen that will build up newer, stronger and more abundant fibrous bands in the superficial fat or subcutaneous fat. Women, she explains, have more cellulite than men because their fibrous bands in the superficial fat tend to be fewer and straighter than men’s, which are more abundant and tend to be in a crisscross pattern. With the results of the microneedle-based radiofrequency approach, women’s fibrous bands will mimic more those of men.

“We’re trying to stimulate more collagen, instead of breaking up the bands,” she says. 

Related: Cellfina insights: Q&A

The dermatologist has used the Profound system for treatment of wrinkles and skin tightening on patient faces. In that case, the Profound system uses microneedles at a 25-degree angle, which penetrates between 2 mm and 3 mm. 

“The effect on the face is more collagen, more elastic fibers and hyaluronic acid,” she says. “The same treatment device is used for cellulite, but the applicator device has the microneedles at a 75-degree angle.”

The more vertically oriented needles allow providers to deliver radiofrequency to the subcutaneous fat, causing low levels of thermal injury to the tissue, which leads to collagen production. 

“That’s a big difference: The 25-degree angle versus the 75-degree angle,” she says.

Patients who are not candidates for Profound treatment are those with pacemakers.

“We cannot do radiofrequency treatments, in general, on those patients,” Dr. Bowes says. 

Being on anticoagulant therapy, however, is not a contraindication. 

“Patients might have a little bit of bruising, but you’re not really transecting planes,” she says. 

Disclosure: Dr. Bowes is a researcher for Syneron Candela.

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