What Makes the Lutronic Genius So Good?
One of the major factors contributing to the aging face is loss of collagen, elastin, and hyaluronic acid in the skin. The frequently quoted statistic is the after the age of around 25, there is a 1% loss of collagen per year. This accelerates for females experiencing menopause, with a 30% collagen loss occurring at that time. Other contributing factors include: overall medical condition, nutrition, smoking, and sugar intake. It’s an uphill battle to preserve and restore collagen in the facial and neck skin and maintain one’s youthfulness.
What can we do in the fight against collagen loss?
The easiest solution is to limit sun exposure. It has been reported that 95% of collagen loss is attributed to UV exposure. Unfortunately, unless you completely cover your skin with clothing, UV exposure is inevitable. Routine use of sunscreen and avoiding prolonged direct sunlight is encourage by all dermatologists. Tretinoin (Retin A) or retinols have been shown to stimulate collagen formation and should be part of all patient’s anti-aging regime. For those patients desiring more aggressive collagen rebuilding, chemical peels, lasers, and radiofrequency procedures can be performed. The most recent skin rejuvenating innovation, Lutronic Genius, uses radiofrequency microneedling (RFM) to reverse the aging process in the skin.
Why has RFM become such a popular anti-aging procedure?
RFM uses very small groups of needles to create heat in skin (dermis) and leaves coagulation zones. These zones can be considered as controlled injuries which result in neocollagenesis (new collagen), neoelastinogenesis (new elastin) and hyaluronic acid as the body repairs these areas. While lasers and High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU) can create coagulation zones, RFM can do this more safely, comfortably, and with less downtime. Lasers push heat through the upper layers of the skin (epidermis) which can lead to potential problems, particularly in darker skin types. The more superficial skin injuries carry a risk of stimulating the pigment cells into overproduction of melanin as result of injury/stress, a condition called Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation (PIH). While this is treatable, it is often difficult to reverse. Rarely, the melanocytes (pigment creating cells) are injured to a point to where they stop producing pigment (hypopigmentation). Coagulation zones that include the epidermis, such as those from lasers, require more healing time and wound care than the Genius, whose wounds are mainly deeper in the dermis.
While there are many RFM devices on the market, why is Lutronic Genius so much better?
- Insulated (Coated) needles: The needles of the Genius have only a very small exposed area at their tip. This configuration protects the upper layers of the skin from heating, thus minimizing the risks of PIH and cutting the wound care and downtime. Essentially the skin surface just has multiple needle penetrations, which is similar to a microneedling procedure, and healing time is minimized.
- Precise needle manufacturing and motor design: Upon review of all existing RFM devices, it was discovered that set depths of the needles rarely made it to their intended location. Deficiencies were found in the sharpness of the needles and the power of motor. Lutronic created a microneedle which stayed sharp, had a finer tip, and inserted exactly to the preset depths. The motor was made to have higher torque than the competition and inserted more rapidly.
- Impedance feedback: Impedance is the resistance of the skin tissue to energy of the radiofrequency. Impedance is highly variable: various areas of the face/neck/body, hydration of skin, degree of sun damage, age, collagen content all affects the way the RF is transmitted to the tissues. There is also marked differences between individuals. If similar energies are given to areas of different impedance, the treatments will be highly variable and uneven. The Genius can measure the impedance of the tissue being treated every 2 milliseconds and adjust the energy delivered to make a consistent coagulation zone. One other note – if impedance is not measured, as a RF pulse is delivered and the tissue loses water, impedance can increase significantly, leading to cutting off the energy flow. The result is less energy delivered than the operator believed they were giving in those devices without impedance feedback.
- Realtime energy delivered: The Genius is also able to measure the energy delivered per pulse as well as cumulative energy per treatment. Treatments are now based on energy delivered rather than number of passes. If there is a variance from the energy set per pulse and energy delivered, there is a warning light/sound to alert the operator there is something amiss. This can represent an error in technique or improper settings for that patient’s skin condition.
What do these Genius innovations mean to me, the patient?
All these advances the Genius has made to RFM equate to a safer, more thorough, and more effective treatment than other competing devices. There is less risks for PIH, hypopigmentation, prolonged downtime because the coagulation zones are more precise and customized for the individual. There will be more consistent results because adjustment are made for individual variations in impedance.
What conditions does Genius treat?
The Genius is routinely used to improve skin laxity, wrinkles, jowls, and skin tone/texture. The neck is often a difficult area to treat with any nonsurgical procedures, but it responds well to Genius treatment, particularly the jawline and submental (below the chin) area. It’s the consensus amongst dermatologists that RFM is the best device to treat acne scars. It’s superiority over lasers is related to its increased safety, particularly in darker skin types, as well as it’s increased depth of penetration. Other conditions treatable with the Genius are hyperhidrosis, acne, hair restoration, and pore size.
Acne scars are often treated with multiple modalities but almost always include the Genius at The Aesthetic Clinique. The advantages of RFM over laser is that the coagulation zones are much deeper and darker skin types can be treated more safely. Downtime and wound care is significantly less with RFM then with ablative lasers such as CO2 and erbium.
Tell me more about Genius for Hyperhidrosis.
Hyperhidrosis is excessive sweating. It can occur in many areas of the body but the Genius is limited to treatments in the axilla (underarm) and face/scalp. (Hands and feet are treated with Botox/Dysport at the Aesthetic Clinique.) The Genius treatment of hyperhidrosis in the underarm area is performed with topical numbing creams, cold air (Zimmer chiller), and the Frozen C. The coagulations zones are placed in the deep dermis and upper subcutaneously tissue, where the sweat glands reside. User 1-2 passes are done at 3 different depths. The procedure takes about 15 minutes. 2-3 treatments are recommended. Results are considered permanent because sweat glands don’t regenerate. Most patients might still have a minor amount of sweat production, but this is usually controlled with OTC anti-perspirants. Dr. Weiner has co-authored a paper on treating hyperhidrosis using the Infini and has popularized using RFM for this condition.
Radiofrequency microneedling has been a huge advance in anti-aging and acne scar treatments. The Genius has optimized the energy delivery and safety of RFM procedures.