Radiofrequency (RF) skin surgery for removal of moles

Radiofrequency or RF can be used to shave down moles or skin lumps and bumps without scarring

What is radiofrequency or radiowave surgery?

Radiowaves are a band of wavelengths that can be used for skin surgery and mole removal by shaving. They are high frequency wavelengths that generate minimal heat. The wavelength that is optimal for skin surgery is a frequency of 4.0 megahertz (MHz), which is similar to the frequency of marine band radios. This wavelength when channeled through an electrode tip, can cut the skin as well as simultaneously coagulate blood to produce a bloodless incision. Also, as it has minimal heat generated, surrounding tissues are unaffected.

In comparison to the traditional method of skin excision with a scalpel, there are many advantages of using radio waves to incise skin or remove skin lesions.Traditionally, skin incisions for surgery or skin lesion removal is done with a scalpel. Incisions made this way tend to bleed and leave more scarring. The advantages of radiowave surgery include;

  • No pressure required to make an incision – ie it can be more precise
  • Simultaneous blood coagulation whilst cutting
  • Incisions are bacteria free
  • The scarring produced is usually less than scalpel incisions
  • Safety higher than using scalpels
  • Enhanced healing, with less swelling, bleeding, pain and infection afterwards in comparison to scalpel incisions
  • Can be used to shave back skin lesions so no stitches are required, and no scars are left
  • Cosmetically superior results to scalpel incisions

At The Victorian Cosmetic Institute, we use the Ellman Pelleve for our radio wave surgery.

What can radiowave surgery be used for?

Radio wave surgery can be used to make skin incisions or to remove skin lesions such as benign naevi (moles, mole removal), warts, seborrhoeic keratosis (benign skin lesion), and skin tags.

Its use in the removal of benign skin lesions is useful as the skin lesion can be gradually shaved down until the level of the skin is reached. Therefore, much less scarring is left than if the lesion were to be removed by incising through the skin with a scalpel. It is also still possible to send part of the lesion off for pathological diagnosis after radio wave surgery.

It is also commonly used for making incisions where a bloodless field is important. For example, it is commonly used for making the incisions required in blepharoplasty (eyelid reduction surgery).

The first step is to have a consultation with one of our doctors. They will make an assessment of whether the lesion is suitable for treatment with radio wave surgery or not.

A small amount of local anaesthetic is injected into the base of the lesion. The radio wave electrode tip is then brushed over the top of the lesion, removing it layer at a time. As mentioned previously, a part of the lesion may be sent to pathology for assessment.

In some cases, where extra precision is required, an erbium laser
can be used to remove the final few slices of the lesion that are close
to the skin after the majority of the lesion has been removed with
radio wave surgery. The erbium laser ablates or removes extremely fine
layers of the skin lesion.

Usually no dressing is required after the treatment, however, we do usually apply a small strip of skin coloured tape to the area to help protect the area treated.

The recovery time is approximately 7 to 10 days in most cases. During this time, the skin may appear slightly red.

Our doctors are highly experienced and skilled in the use of radiowave surgery. As a result, we will be able to recommend you of your suitability for the treatment,  and provide the best treatment possible for you.

Dr. Gavin Chan
Dr. Gavin Chan

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