Today, there are more skin rejuvenation options than ever before. It’s never been safer or more convenient to get youthful, glowing skin with minimally-invasive treatments that offer great results and minimal downtime. RF Microneedling is one of the latest solutions for patients who want to look younger without a lengthy recovery period.
Edward D. Buckingham, M.D. of Buckingham Center for Facial Plastic Surgery is proud to introduce this innovative skin care treatment to patients at his practice in Austin, TX. The in-office procedure combines microneedling with radiofrequency thermal energy to promote collagen production and tightening of the skin. This treatment is safe for all skin types and can improve signs of aging, scars, stretch marks, and mild skin laxity.
What is RF Microneedling?
RF Microneedling is named for the two components involved in its skin rejuvenation approach: the pixilation effect that appears in the skin from microneedles, and the radiofrequency energy that it is delivered to the skin.
Through the small punctures and the introduction of radiofrequency energy deep into the tissues, vertical microchannels are formed in the skin. This creates a controlled injury using both heat energy and manual punctures. These channels then cause the body’s natural healing processes to go into overdrive. By creating minor damage to the tissue, collagen production is boosted and creates new, healthy tissue.
Collagen plays a vital role in the skin’s health, creating the look of healthy, youthful skin. When the skin is damaged through UV rays, the natural aging process, disease, trauma, collagen loss and skin irregularities or signs of aging occur. RF Microneedling is a treatment that helps rejuvenate the skin through increased collagen production.
Because the transformation begins at the deepest layer of skin, the dermis, cellular improvements will continue for 6-8 weeks after each treatment.
Why Choose the RF Microneedling Treatment?
RF Microneedling is a great option for those with skin texture issues. It is a minimally-invasive treatment that harnesses the body’s recovery powers to enhance the skin.
Patients can undergo the procedure to treat existing issues, which may postpone the need for more invasive treatments and plastic surgeries. RF Microneedling can also be performed following a surgical procedure to help maintain the results of the surgery. Some surgeries like facelift or forehead lift focus on certain areas of the face but may not address areas that show less extensive aging. In these cases, RF microneedling can help create a uniformly refreshed look.
RF microneedling is effective in improving the following conditions:
- fine lines and wrinkles
- mild skin laxity
- large pores
- acne scars
- stretch marks
Candidates for RF Microneedling
Prospective patients of RF microneedling may be considered for treatment if they meet the following criteria:
They are Healthy
While the procedure is considered minimally-invasive, patients who are immunocompromised, prone to infection, or who have active skin issues in their desired treatment areas may not be immediately approved for the procedure. Once these conditions improve, Dr. Buckingham can review the patient’s full medical history and determine if the procedure is safe for them.
They are Experiencing Skin Laxity and Signs of Aging
RF microneedling can jumpstart the skin renewal process and is designed to create a smoother, tighter, more youthful look. Due to the nature of the procedure, there are some limitations to what the treatment can accomplish. RF microneedling may not be the best treatment option for discoloration caused by hyperpigmentation, pigmented lesions, and visible blood vessels like capillaries, as laser treatments are often more effective for achieving these goals. The treatment can be combined with BBL however to accomplish the goals of pigment and vascular reduction as well at the benefit of the radiofrequency microneedles. Patients should, however, have realistic expectations of what a non-surgical treatment can achieve.
They are Willing to Commit to Multiple Treatment Sessions
In most cases, Dr. Buckingham will recommend a treatment plan for at least 4 RF Microneedling appointments, 3-4 weeks apart. This promotes optimal, long-lasting rejuvenation over a period of weeks and months. Often Dr. Buckingham will recommend adding BBL to the treatment to assist with pigment or vascular reduction as well as improved collagen building.
RF Microneedling is safe for use on any skin tone, from very fair to very dark skin. There is also no specific age restriction. Women and men alike can benefit from the treatment. It is recommended that patients who are pregnant or on certain acne medications wait to undergo RF Microneedling.
A RF Microneedling Consultation with Dr. Buckingham
Prospective patients who have skin concerns can meet with Dr. Buckingham at Buckingham Center for Facial Plastic Surgery in Austin, TX for a doctor-patient consultation. During this meeting, Dr. Buckingham will review the patient’s medical history, learn more about his or her aesthetic preferences, and examine the skin.
If the patient is a good candidate for the procedure, Dr. Buckingham can then create a custom treatment plan to include RF microneedling, as well as any additional procedures and professional skin care options the patient is open to.
Preparing for a RF Microneedling Session
Patients should wash their face and refrain from applying sunscreen or cosmetic products prior to a skin treatment session. Long hair should be secured away from the face. Patients should wear loose, comfortable clothing as they will be lying down for up to an hour or longer. If the patient is experiencing an active skin condition or another health issue, he or she should notify the office to determine if rescheduling is necessary.
How RF Microneedling is Performed
First, the skin is cleansed and prepped with a topical anesthetic. The numbing cream remains on the face and any other treatment sites on the neck and body for about 30 minutes to ensure a comfortable RF Microneedling treatment. The handheld device is passed across the treatment sites. This allows the microneedles that are affixed to a small wheel to prick the skin while radiofrequency energy is delivered to the tissues simultaneously. Each pass is completed one time in each area. Cool air can be blown over the skin during RF microneedling for an improved experience.
In some cases, the RF microneedling procedure will be combined with a PRP treatment, which involves platelet-rich plasma being spread across the skin prior to the treatment. PRP is derived from the patient’s blood. Prior to the session, blood will be drawn and run through a centrifuge to extract the potent plasma. Called “liquid gold,” the serum contains powerful healing components that can amplify a patient’s skin rejuvenation results.
The entire appointment can last from 45-90 minutes, and patients are free to return to their normal schedules following the appointment.
Recovering from RF Microneedling
Fractionated microneedle radiofrequency is a minimally-invasive skin therapy that is performed in a convenient office setting at Buckingham Center for Facial Plastic Surgery and requires minimal downtime. While patients may be encouraged to stay out of the sun and to keep their skin clean and hydrated, there are few other restrictions once they are discharged. Makeup can be worn the next day. Dr. Buckingham and his staff will provide any specific instructions for the best results.
What are the Risks and Side Effects of RF Microneedling?
- Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation
Side effects include:
- Tenderness in the skin
- Redness and minor swelling; the feel of sunburn is typical
- Visible spots for up to a few days that appear like pixelated dots
Articles on RF Microneedling
Read this RF Microneedling review from the Prime International Journal of Aesthetic and Anti-Aging Medicine.
Frequently Asked Questions About RF Microneedling
Is RF Microneedling painful?
While there can be some mild discomfort involved with the treatment, the use of a pre-procedure topical anesthetic combined with cool air provides patient comfort during an RF microneedling session. There can be redness and irritation following the procedure, but it is typically minimal and short-lived. Over-the-counter pain medications and a cool compress can control these side effects.
How much does RF Microneedling cost?
Depending on how many areas are treated, patients can expect to spend around $700-$1,000 per RF Microneedling appointment. The total cost of the treatment series is usually less than the cost of cosmetic surgery. If the patient elects to undergo additional treatments, like the application of PRP, the price of each session will increase. Prospective patients can consult with office staff to receive a pricing guide.
How often should I schedule treatments?
Initially, patients are typically encouraged to have a total of 4-5 treatments performed at intervals of 3-4 weeks. After this initial series, Dr. Buckingham can set up a schedule for those interested in maintaining their results.
What are other names for RF Microneedling?
Generic descriptions for similar technology include:
- Fractionated microneedle radiofrequency
- Injectable fractional radiofrequency treatment
- Microneedle fractional radiofrequency (MFR)
- RF collagen induction therapy
What are the limitations of RF Microneedling?
RF Microneedling was specifically designed to treat the skin, and more specifically fine lines and wrinkles, scarring, and sagging skin. It can address many areas of the face (including around the eyes) and body but will not replace surgery for candidates with more extensive aging. RF Microneedling will not improve coloration issues and more significant issues of the skin that may require surgery.