Electrosurgical facial resurfacing: A prospective multicenter study of efficacy and safety

Roy C. Grekin, Whitney D. Tope, John M. Yarborough, Ingrid H. Olhoffer, Peter K. Lee, David J. Leffell, Christopher B. Zachary

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Background: A novel electrosurgical technology that uses a bipolar electrode-tipped stylet to deliver relatively low-radiofrequency energy through an electrically conductive medium has been developed. Objective: To evaluate the efficacy and safety of the radiofrequency resurfacing system for the treatment of facial wrinkles. Design: Multicenter, prospective, noncomparative study with longitudinal follow-up. Setting: Four US academic dermatologic surgery clinics. Patients: Ninety-five patients with mild to severe photodamage (Fitzpatrick classes I-III) involving periorbital (75 treatment sites) and perioral (50 sites) facial skin. Intervention: Radiofrequency resurfacing with the use of 2 to 3 passes at 125 or 139 V. Main Outcome Measures: Wrinkle and cosmetic improvements evaluated by patients, investigators, and, by means of photographs, an independent panel of 5 evaluators. Results: All evaluators determined a positive mean improvement in wrinkles for both periorbital and perioral anatomic sites, with greater improvement for patients with more severe wrinkles at baseline. An increased number of passes and higher voltage settings had a positive impact on wrinkle improvement. Transient postinflammatory hyperpigmentation occurred in 26% of periorbital and 4% of perioral sites. Hypertrophic scars occurred in 3.8% of treatment sites, with all but 1 scar resolving by 6 months. For the most part, healing was rapid, pain was minimal, and erythema largely resolved within 2 months. Other untoward effects were relatively few and short-lived. Conclusions: At the study settings used, radiofrequency resurfacing is an effective modality in the treatment of periorbital and perioral wrinkles in patients with Fitzpatrick class I, II, and III photodamage. There is less severe postoperative morbidity than seen with carbon dioxide or coagulating erbium:YAG lasers. The potential risks are similar to those seen with other resurfacing modalities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1309-1316
Number of pages8
JournalArchives of Dermatology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 15 2000


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