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The Secret™; Radiofrequency (RF) Microneedling

We are pleased to report on our experience with the technology we adopted about a year ago in the form of Radiofrequency (RF) Microneedling. Our device is the Secret™, a radiofrequency microneedling machine produced by the Cutera® company. The technology was reportedly developed in Korea, where the skin of Koreans has some tendency to develop pigmentation irregularities with other energy-based treatments that effect the skin surface, such as fractional CO2 laser resurfacing. The effect of the laser is to heat the skin to a certain level and cause both contraction of the native collagen and stimulation of new collagen formation. The laser energy is preferentially absorbed by water, which is present in all of our cells, so the surface, including pigment cells, is effected just as the deeper cells are. That can create the risk of pigment changes, especially in certain skin types.

In radiofrequency microneedling, the skin is penetrated by an array of tiny, very sharp needles that are coated with an insulation except at their tips. The device has settings to determine the energy delivered and the depth to which the needles go. Different levels are chosen depending on the patient’s concerns and the treatment goal. Once at the defined depth, the machine releases radiofrequency energy (current) that travels between the tips of the needles. That produces an effect on the collagen very similar to the laser, but does not effect the surface, so the risk of pigment irregularities is reduced significantly.

Other benefits of the radiofrequency microneedling include very short recovery (hours) and often lower cost. The CO2 laser is frequently done as a single episode, and while it can be done in the office, requires stronger anesthetic. The Secret microneedling treatment is performed with topical anesthetic only. It does require 3 or more sessions timed at monthly intervals for optimal effect, but these can be scheduled around the patient’s activities, and because the recovery is so brief, no time off from work or other activities is typically required.

Our patients have expressed satisfaction with the results of our new radiofrequency microneedling device with respect to skin quality, fine lines and decreased laxity.