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Radiofrequency Therapy

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Radiofrequency (RF) therapy exploits the production of heat in skin tissue resulting from the application of an electromagnetic field onto the skin.

RF therapy and treatment have been used in aesthetic surgery and medicine for more than 70 years. In aesthetic medicine an RF generator is employed, which emits medium- and high-frequency (30–70 kHz) electromagnetic radiation from specialized handsets.

Tissue treated by ablative RF is destroyed, whereas tissue treated by non-ablative RF is not destroyed.

The most well-known application of ablative RF involves its being used as a radio scalpel, which permits the destruction of a limited volume of skin in a controlled and reproducible manner.

Non-ablative RF has many fields of application in aesthetic medicine.

The so-called “aesthetic” effects of RF refer to the thermal damaging of collagen, which consequently breaks intermolecular bonds, thus producing a stoichiometric rearrangement of surface and deep fibers (shrinkage).

RF treatment is indicated for skin laxity of the face and body, and has been recently indicated for the treatment of cellulite and wrinkles.

Collateral effects of RF treatment are rare, but when they do occur they take the form of skin redness and micro-burns.

RF treatment has evolved a “fractional” form of RF treatment, so called because it is analogous in some ways to treatment with a fractional laser. Fractional RF treatment is characterized by the production of very short, high-intensity electrical discharges at an adjustable frequency of repetition.

Fractional RF uses a handset composed of a series of micro-needles, which can vary in number from 5 to 225, and produce a series of “micro-damaged” heat points on/in the skin that initiate the regenerative process.

As in the case of non-fractional RF, fractional RF can also have side effects, which are characterized by burn points that heal within 5–7 days. The application of a filtering or protective cream is necessary for at least 1 month.


  • Hyaluronic Acid
  • Acne Scar
  • Fractional Laser
  • Skin Laxity
  • Stretch Mark

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Correspondence to Patrizia Forgione MD .

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Forgione, P. (2016). Radiofrequency Therapy. In: Fabbrocini, G., De Padova, M., Tosti, A. (eds) Nonsurgical Lip and Eye Rejuvenation Techniques. Springer, Cham.

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