Fractional radiofrequency devices have been in the market for quite some time now, but most of them have been indicated in the use of more superficial treatment of the skin, such as in post-acne scarring.
The Morpheus 8 microneedle fractional radiofrequency device brings to the table greater versatility and field of effect – its proposed mechanism of sub-dermal adipocyte remodelling using a highly adjustable energy delivery system delivering heat uniformly via a multipolar network allows not only for superficial remodelling but also that of deeper fat tissue.
The cumulative effect of this is:
1. Superficial skin resurfacing with collagen and elastin stimulation
2. Stimulation of dermal white adipose tissue that is responsible for the health of the skin
3. Reduction in fat deep to the skin
4. Reduction in laxity and redundant space between septae and fat, producing a tightening and lifting effect
There are so many other skin tightening devices – how does this compare?
The aesthetic market has presented us with so many options over the years, with non-surgical options including ultrasound-based devices (such as Ultherapy), non-invasive radiofrequency devices (such as Thermage), and fractional radiofrequency devices (such as the Morpheus 8).
The question posed by many is – which one of these is best, and which is best for me?
Which of these is best?
It is hard to answer this question as the definition of best takes into account many issues, including indication for its use, your appetite for downtime, your expectations, and your price-point, which brings us to the more important question:
Which is best for me?
Personally, over the time I have been using the Morpheus 8, I find its effects most drastic for patients, which equates to the greatest outcome for dollar spent. The effects seen over 2 to 3 months include gradual tightening and lifting of the skin, improvement in skin texture (scars/stretch marks/cellulite), and reduction in fine wrinkles. While it has a more drastic effect over other modalities, it does have an associated downtime – think redness and slight swelling of the face for 2 to 5 days, depending on the intensity of treatment
This is opposed to treatments such as Ultherapy treatment in Singapore(which I do use daily as well) and Thermage; these treatments have a more gradual effect, with the result being less drastic – you can expect a gradual tightening of the skin with a more youthful appearance over several months; scars, however, are not affected much. The downtime though, is much more acceptable, with patients able to return to activities immediately after their procedure.
Furthermore, procedures such as Ultherapy and Thermage tend to cost significantly more as we as practitioners are charged by distributors for every shot that we fire for a patient.
As such, the decision as to which you should undergo lies in the discussion above –
- What are we managing?
- What kind of result are we expecting?
- How much downtime can we afford for this result?
- How much do we plan to spend on the treatment?
It would be oversimplified a reply to say – we want the best outcome, least downtime, and cheapest option; each option has their benefits, and I end up helping my patients with either procedure almost daily.
You mention greater downtime with the Morpheus 8 treatment – does that translate to a greater risk of side effects?
In short, yes. Done properly, rarely.
The Morpheus 8 platform allows a practitioner to deliver waves of energy at various depths. This translates to greater bulk heating and skin tightening, but the skin does have a critical threshold after which a bad injury can occur.
Mild side effects include post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation marks that take several weeks to clear, while major side effects from over-enthusiastic use include physical scarring.
Over the past year and a half that I have used the Morpheus 8, I have come to appreciate and maximise the outcome while minimising potential side effects.
As such, the biggest piece of advice when undergoing treatment with the Morpheus 8 is to ensure your practitioner has good experience with it and patient load to show for it.
Since this helps with scars, do I still need other forms of scar treatment?
The beauty of devices such as the Morpheus 8 is that it allows for the delivery of heat energy deep to the skin without harming the upper layers – this means deep stimulation with a much smaller risk of causing more scarring.
As such, this helps with certain types of scars – mostly those with deeper dermal scarring.
For scars that require more superficial remodelling and resurfacing, ablative lasers, such as the carbon dioxide laser, is still required to target the uppermost tissue most effectively.
This is especially true for stretch marks, where there is deep tissue loss as well as poor superficial skin quality and loss of pigmentation – the Morpheus 8 stimulates and tightens deep tissue, while ablative lasers resurface, tightens and repigments the upper skin.
Are there any other preparatory steps I need to do before treatment?
The best thing that can be done before treatment is to minimise sun exposure, start on regular sunscreen weeks before treatment, and plan for the next few days of downtime.A thorough consultation prepares you well – both physically as well as mentally – for the eventual procedure.