Profound RF Microneedling, At A Glance
- Best Results1 sessions, 6-12 weeks
- Treatment Recovery7 to 10 days
- Procedure Time30 min
- Skin SpecialistDavin Lim
- Duration of ResultsVariable
- AnaestheticNumbing, blocks, sedation
- Back to Work7+ Days
- CostNot currently performed (see below)
Profound RF Microneedling
Profound RF microneedling was my very first skin tightening device. It uses insulated needles to heat the deeper dermal layer of skin, causing collagen tightening & stimulation. Though I still have this system, I have largely replaced it with more efficient energy delivery devices including Ultherapy, Ultraformer III, Genius RFM, & RF Bipolar devices. Newer systems have much less downtime & seem to work better, at least in my hands.
FactsFacts on Profound RF Microneedling
- Radiofrequency is an efficient method of dermal heating
- Profound uses a computer controlled system to obtain safe & effecient heating of the dermal layer of skin
- Controlled heating results in collagen contraction & stimulation
- Profound is a radiofrequency microneedling device
- Radiofrequency microneedling devices can treat skin taxity, moderate wrinkles & also acne scars
- I have largely replaced this device with newer RF microneedling including Genius, Infini RFM as well as Bipolar RF & Ultrasound devices including Ultherapy & Untraformer III
What is Profound RFM?
The Profound treatment is a nonsurgical alternative for treating facial wrinkles & skin laxity. It has also been reported to reduce the appearance of cellulite. It combines radiofrequency (RF) energy with microneedles to renew your skin from within.
I have used Profound for five years, before replacing this system with newer devices including microfocused ultrasound (MFU, HIFU), as well as other microneedling RF devices. I do believe that newer technologies offer better results, with less downtime & cost to the patient.
How does Profound RF work?
The device combines two key factors in skin rejuvenation, firstly the use of long insulated needles (as compared to very fine microneedles). Secondly delivery of controlled heating via radiofrequency. Controlled and precise heating (69 degrees) is delivered to the dermal layer of skin. This heats collagen for a fraction of a second, causing immediate collagen contraction & secondary delayed collagen stimulation.
Collagen stimulation is mediated via your immune system occurring immediately after the procedure, but maximal at 3-4 months after the event.
What does treatment involve?
This procedure is promoted to be ‘minimally painful’. The majority of my cases were performed under sedation with local anesthesia to the area. This ensured patient comfort.
The device itself uses a single cartridge of insulated needles, 5 pairs in total. These needles are placed into the dermal layer of skin, at an angle. The theory behind this is to increase the surface area of contact; as opposed to vertical delivery of needles, as seen with most RFM devices like Infini, Instensif, Intracel, Genius, Secret, & Morpheus.
A computer controls the delivery of RF energy to achieve precise heating of skin; at around 68 to 69 degrees. Profound uses insulated needles to achieve heating; much like devices such as Intracel, Genius, & Infini RF. Insulation protects the upper epidermis, whilst allowing for increased dermal heating & efficiency.
Once heating is achieved, the needles are withdrawn & placed in other areas. The whole process takes about half an hour to complete.
Healing time is over a week, extended & extensive bruising was not uncommon (this is due to the oblique insertion of the needles which means increased surface area of treatment, at the expense of increased collateral bruising, as compared to vertical delivery of needles).
When will I see the results?
You will have significant bruising for the first week, after which you may notice some tightening. This may continue to improve for a few months after the procedure.
All skin tightening devices including Profound (RF), RF microneedling, bipolar RF as well as HIFU (High Intensity Focused Ultrasound), rely on your own immune system to replenish dermal matrix, namely collagen, elastin & hyaluronic acid.
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How long is the recovery period following Profound RF?
About one week. I understand that the brochures may say minimal downtime, however swelling takes 2-4 days before subsiding. Bruising can take 7 to 12 days before resolving. Most patients can start make up on day 4-5.
Does skin tightening increase dermal volume?
Skin tightening delivered from radiofrequency, focused ultrasound, microneedling, PRP, lasers, or other methods do not give a good predictable increase in facial volume in the context of age related volumetric losses.
Skin tightening, as the name suggests, tightens the skin by increasing collagen and collagen contraction. Facial volume is mainly due to fat, this can only be replaced with dermal fillers or fat transfer.
I am very mindful of applying skin tightening devices to patients with low facial fat. This especially applies to powerful devices like Profound, Ultherapy, Ultraformer III, Inifini RF & Genius RF. Collagen contraction in a patient with low facial volume can be perceived as fat melting or atrophy. There is always a theoretical risk of fat loss if devices are set too high, sequential pulsing or pulse stacking is delivered, or if energy delivery is at an incorrect depth. Be guided by your specialist in regards to your suitability.
What is my preferred non-surgical skin tightening device?
I employ many non-surgical methods to tighten skin including-
- Infini RFM (now replaced with the newer model)
- Genius RFM (updated Infini since 2019)
- Ultherapy HIFU
- Ultraformer III HIFU/ Microfocused USS
- Tempsure RF
- Profound RF
- Thermage RF (replaced in 2018)
- Ablative CO2 & erbium lasers
In addition to the above I use threads including monofilament threads, suspension MINT threads, conical Silhouette threads as well as hyper dilute collagen stimulating dermal fillers.
The ideal treatment depends on many factors including – degree of laxity, thickness of dermis, fat layer, degree of photodamage, age, ethnicity, previous treatments, downtime, area of laxity as well as patient’s downtime, & expectations.
One modality (or even five) does not cut it. Some patients are not suitable for any non-surgical procedure & are candidates for surgery, others may benefit from simple RF bipolar treatments, others from HIFU/Ultherapy or a combination of devices, threads & dermal fillers. The algorithm is very complex.
Why do I prefer Genius RF Microneedling over Profound RF Microneedling?
OK, here are my thoughts, firstly microneedling RF (with any device) is not my preferred sole modality to treat skin laxity. I base treatment selection on many factors as above.
If I elect to perform microneedling RF, my prefered device is Genius RF. This represents the newest generation of insulated microneedling devices, while Profound represents generation one. Delivery of needles with Genius is vertical as compared to oblique delivery of Profound. This means much less collateral damage with the newer device. Both devices are insulated. This means better targeting of tissue.
Where Genius RF is ahead is the computer controlled real time impedance monitoring which allows for safer, & more effective treatments. As a guide, using very similar settings with both devices, healing following Genius is about 3 times faster than Profound. There is a significant cost saving for the patients (see below) with newer systems.
Do I use Profound RF for cellulite?
No, I don’t think anything works well long term for cellulite. I have used many different modalities to try to treat cellulite, including Tripolar RF, RF, RF microneedling as well as cannula stripping & even Celfina. Subcision with a stripping canular works best, but downtime is a significant issue (bruising for 3-6 weeks).
In my practice I do not treat cellulite, as the majority of my work is facial rejuvenation / reconstruction.
How would I know what is the most effective non-surgical skin tightening for me?
Firstly ignore all the BS from industry & clinic marketing. Any non-surgical technique is dependent on FOUR main factors-
- Are you a suitable candidate to begin with? Mild to moderate laxity cases do best, moderate to severe skin laxity is not an ideal.
- What is the ideal method or methods to give the highest chance of success? In Brisbane, Gold & Sunshine Coast, there is a marked amount of photodamage or elastosis. This means collagen is both loose and fragmented. Most patients will benefit from a skin tightening procedure & laser resurfacing. This tightens & replenishes damaged collagen.
- What settings or techniques are suitable using the machine or methods? Settings matter, depending on the clinical findings. Additionally, non-surgical modalities like thread lifts also depend on the technique.
- How much collagen regeneration your immune can produce is the rate limiting step. All non surgical procedures including threads, HIFU, lasers & RFM all rely on immune stimulation of collagen. This takes 3-6 months before maximal results are achieved.
What are the risks of Profound RF Microneedling?
In the scheme of things, RFM or radiofrequency microneedling is a low risk procedure. They include-
- Swelling (2 to 5 days considered normal)
- Bruising (about one week is the average)
- Infection (exceedingly rare)
- Pain (normal during procedure, mild after)
- Numbness (temporary)
- Nerve damage (very rare)
How much does Profound RF Microneedling cost?
The RRP ranges between $3,600 to $4,900 per session. It is marketed as a one treatment only method of skin tightening. This is where I have a problem with the price structure of non-surgical skin tightening. All devices & methods, from Profound to HIFU & thread lifting are not predictable in their responses. To recommend or charge this much for any hit and miss treatment is not ethically correct, even though financial consent has been obtained.
This is where more cost effective treatments can be considered. As a guide HIFU such as Ultherapy or Ultraformer III is nearly half as much as Profound. Combine this with a bulk heating, superficial laser & it is still much cheaper than one treatment with Profound. The results with combination treatments are more predictable than monotherapy.
Davin’s Viewpoint on Profound RFM
This treatment can be considered generation one RFM. It has been with us for the 8 years & has undergone a few revisions with the delivery system. The old name for Profound was ePrime.
I still have the device, but I really don’t use it much. Does it actually work? Yes, we do have some satisfactory cases, however I have largely replaced this older technology with newer systems, namely Infini RF, which has been replaced with Genius RF microneedling. I have also augmented non-surgical lifting with newer tech, including RF Thermage, replaced with Pelleve, replaced with Tempsure. I also employ HIFU, namely Ultherapy and the newest Ultraformer Version 3. The thing with devices, is that they get outdated every 18 to 24 months. Newer treatments are more effective, have less side effects, less pain, faster recovery & in most cases are more cost effective. Nothing against Profound, however in my practice I do think there are more effective treatments with less downtime. This is the progression of technology over a decade.
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