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Micro-channeling: Skin care by design

Article-Micro-channeling: Skin care by design

Plastic surgeon Steven L. Davis, D.O., says micro-channeling technology is helping him offer a new and important option to patients who want skin rejuvenation but aren’t willing to endure downtime.

Dr. Davis, of Davis Cosmetic Plastic Surgery in Cherry Hill, N.J., uses the AquaGold Fine Touch micro-channel technology by Aquavit Pharmaceuticals. Dr. Davis, who reports no ties to the product or company, tells The Aesthetic Channel that he’s impressed by what the device allows him to do in practice.

“The Aquagold Fine Touch is a sterile, one-time use little glass container that has as screw on top, with 24-carat-plated needles attached,” he says. “It’s sterile — it’s a one-time use, so it’s safe.”

The self-contained tool allows aesthetic physicians to customize treatment with whatever ingredients they want to put in the glass container, to transfer directly into the dermal-epidermal junction.

“There are a lot of ways of injecting things under the skin, but to actually inject it into the skin, right where you’re trying to get this product to go is really revolutionary,” Dr. Davis says. “With this technique, you’re literally able to channel exactly what you want, where you want it, without any waste. We’re able to deliver real product and medicine, and give patients results without any downtime.”

The technology’s needles are hollow. Providers depress the gold button at the top of the cap, so that the needles go into the skin and deploy product.

“The needles only go down 600 micrometers, which actually is a perfect depth to get to that dermal-epidermal junction. The needles themselves are finer than human hair — they’re 130 micrometers in diameter,” Dr. Davis says.

Facial cosmetic surgeon Patrick M. Flaharty, M.D., who practices in Fort Myers, Naples and Bonita Springs, Fla., and uses ProCell (ProCell Therapies) micro-channeling technology, says micro-channeling fills a niche for patients that are between a peel and a thermal treatment, such as Infini (Lutronic) radiofrequency microneedling or Ultherapy (Merz Aesthetics).

“Micro-channeling has become very popular with my patients and my estheticians. Patients love it because it’s quick, relatively pain-free and they see both instant and long-lasting results. The estheticians love it because they can customize the treatment with appropriate serums and gels, Dr. Flaharty says.

Dr. Flaharty says results with the ProCell are consistent for depth and coverage, with no risk of drag.

Among the products Dr. Davis puts in his micro-channeling containers: neurotoxins, hyaluronic acid gels, growth factors and bleaching agents.

“Depending on what you’re trying to treat, you can make a concoction specifically for the patient,” he says.

There’s no blood during the procedure and no tell-tale redness, swelling or bruising post-procedure, according to Dr. Davis.

Microneedle vs Micro-channel

Microneedling and micro-channeling are different, with microneedling being a more aggressive treatment aimed at driving needles deeper into the tissue in order to generate irritation. The needles create channels through which products that providers apply topically to the area penetrate skin through those channels. In contrast, micro-channeling isn’t meant to cause irritation, rather the hollow needles are designed to deliver product to only the point of the dermal-epidermal junction, according to Dr. Davis.

Dermatologist, cosmetic surgeon and President of Joel Schlessinger, M.D., says he has integrated the AquaGold into practice alongside his EndyMed radiofrequency microneedling device.

“The benefit of AquaGold is that it can be done and not have any significant issues with downtime. Additionally, I love the fact that I can include other items, such as neurotoxins and fillers in the diluent, which allows me to not only provide microneedling but a boost for the skin,” Dr. Schlessinger says.

Dr. Schlessinger says most of his patients feel the combination of the AquaGold and EndyMed treatments leads to a superior result. 

“We do try to have at least one EndyMed session every four times we perform AquaGold, but that depends on patient preference, as well,” he says.

While Dr. Davis recommends micro-channeling to patients who need a quick fix for an event or desired more radiant, smooth skin without downtime, he also sometimes combines it with, for example, laser skin resurfacing to deliver growth factors into the skin post-procedure to promote healing. 

“The patients have been very happy,” Dr. Davis says. “For someone who has deep wrinkles or deep acne scars there would be other treatment modalities chosen. But for the superficial acne scars, and fine lines and wrinkles around the face, neck and décolleté, this is a great treatment to plump up these areas and to deliver the product much more efficiently and reproducibly.”

Micro-channeling neurotoxins into the dermis helps to shrink pore size and gives a slight plump to the skin, according to Dr. Davis.

“It’s very well tolerated and moves patients steadily forward in improving the appearance of their skin. Paired with good skincare, appropriate serums and exfoliation, micro-channeling gives patients results that keep them happy until gravity and tissue laxity become dominant factors,” Dr. Flaharty says.

“You’re not really injecting Botox into the muscles, you’re injecting it into the dermis. The shallowness is really perfect…,” he says.

Dr. Davis says his patients have not experienced any side effects or problems associated with micro-channeling treatment.