Bipolar Fractional Radiofrequency Treatment of Suprapatellar Skin Assessment Using Noninvasive Devices and Microbiopsy

Mikaela Kislevitz, Karen B. Lu, Christine E. Wamsley, Shyon Parsa, John E. Hoopman, Jeffrey M. Kenkel, Yucel Akgul

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: Noninvasive treatments for skin tightening are gaining popularity. However, no studies have assessed bipolar fractional radiofrequency treatment on suprapatellar skin. Objectives: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of bipolar fractional radiofrequency treatment on suprapatellar skin. Methods: Twenty patients received 1 bilateral suprapatellar bipolar fractional radiofrequency treatment. They returned 7 days, 3 weeks, 3 months, and 6 months posttreatment. Noninvasive measurements were obtained at each visit, including high-resolution ultrasonography, optical coherence tomography, transepidermal water loss and skin elasticity. Microbiopsies were collected in the treatment area for histologic and gene expression analyses. Three clinicians completed photographic evaluations comparing texture and laxity at baseline vs 6 months posttreatment. Results: Fifteen subjects completed all 6 visits. Both transepidermal water loss and dermal-epidermal junction roughness were increased at 3 weeks and 3 months posttreatment. Both attenuation coefficient and stiffness were increased significantly at 3 and 6 months posttreatment. Blood flow 0.5 mm below the surface and expression of epidermal hyaluronic acid and inflammatory genes IL-1b and IL-6 were significantly higher at 7 days posttreatment compared with pretreatment and 3 months posttreatment. There were no statistically significant changes in collagen- or elastin-related genes and proteins at 7 days or 3 months posttreatment. An improvement in texture and laxity was observed at 6 months posttreatment in 17.7% and 24.4% of photographs, respectively. Conclusions: Radiofrequency treatment by microneedling of suprapatellar skin shows limited effects in decreasing skin laxity and improving skin appearance. At a molecular level, the treatment resulted in lower elastin and hyaluronic acid levels and increased dermal-epidermal junction roughness based on histology and optical coherence tomography imaging. Level of Evidence: 4:

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)NP1997-NP2008
JournalAesthetic surgery journal
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2021
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


Dive into the research topics of 'Bipolar Fractional Radiofrequency Treatment of Suprapatellar Skin Assessment Using Noninvasive Devices and Microbiopsy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this