Dr Laurent Benadiba
A number of treatments can be used to tighten up the skin without surgery but the results are often limited.
One of the main requests made by patients involves treating their sagging skin. There are multiple causes:
- Weight loss
- Yo-yo dieting
- Skin aging
- Photoaging, etc.
Often, we can only remove this excess skin through surgery – tummy tuck, thigh lift, arm lift or neck lift, all areas which are prone to sagging – but this type of surgery always leaves a scar.
Which techniques tighten the skin?
A number of techniques can be used to tighten up the skin without surgery. Radiofrequency, HIFU, lasers, etc. are all applied to the skin’s surface. They do give results, but these are often limited and the final results are only visible after few weeks or even months.
What is J-Plasma or RENUVION?
This technique combines the properties of helium gas with the efficacy of radiofrequency (RF) to create a double thermal effect. The procedure uses a single-use gun that heats up the subcutaneous tissue to 85°. The helium gas acts as a conductor and protects the skin by immediately cooling it, to prevent it from burning.
This combination causes the skin to visibly retract after treatment. Renuvion is approved by the FDA for cutting, coagulating and ablating soft tissue during open surgery and laparoscopic surgery. Because it is so accurate, it is used in gynaecology and digestive surgery, and is now used in aesthe- tic surgery to tighten up the skin.
Radiofrequency emits very high-frequency electromagnetic waves onto the skin. The VHF waves applied to the skin cause the subcutaneous tissue to heat up, which stimulates the synthesis of collagen and elastin fibres, giving a lifting result from the outside. Renuvion has an internal action, and is currently the most effective procedure we can offer as it combines this VHF technology with the plasma effect of helium gas.
Renuvion can be used to treat all areas that suffer from skin sagging, such as:
- The neck and oval of the face
- The inside arms`
- The belly, if it does not present an abdominal apron (particularly after pregnancy or liposuction)
- The inner thighs, knees, etc.
It might also be used for other indications, such as for a scar-free face lift, by applying the Renuvion technique directly onto the skin of the face (awaiting FDA approval).
How is Renuvion performed?
It is a surgical operation that can be carried out under local anaesthetic when there is only one, small treatment area (neck, arm), but we recommend sedation or a short general anaesthetic for multiple sites, to make it more comfortable for the patient.
It is often combined with liposuction to remove the subcutaneous fat (neck, thighs, abdomen) but this is not obligatory, because sometimes there is no fat underneath the skin when the sagginess is isolated.
The procedure takes quite a long time, on average an hour per site, because we have to be very methodical and pass the Renuvion device over the treatment area very steadily. The movement is very slow – 1 cm/s – to give the plasma effect time to work on the skin. This technology is very reliable, as the system automatically cuts off if the handpiece stops moving or if it is too close to the skin, to prevent any burns.
The after-effects are the same as for liposuction, i.e. possible bruising, redness and swelling in the treatment area.
However, it may cause more swelling than a straightforward liposuction procedure due to the helium gas, which may diffuse onto the surrounding skin, such as the décolletage when treating the neck or the hips when treating the abdomen. This may cause a crackling sensation on normal skin. The swelling should go down after a few days and poses no risk to the patient’s health.
The results on the skin are visible almost immediately after treatment. At the end of the procedure, you can see that the skin is more elastic. You need to wait for a few weeks before seeing the final results, once the swelling and bruising has gone down, but our first patients have achieved astounding results.
Plastic surgeon in Paris and Geneva, where he performs the Renuvion technique in the Forever Institut. Qualified Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeon for over 20 years. Teaches aesthetic medicine at the Paris medical faculty and is co-head of the DUTIC and DUMEG diplomas.