VelaShape III: Understanding tissue interaction with RF for faster results in body contouring

By Alex Karidis / 01 Jan 2014

Alex Karidis discusses the bene ts of the newest addition to the VelaShape family of devices.

The basic premise of all non-invasive body contouring devices is to modify the adipocyte. The final aim is to either temporarily or permanently reduce the size and/or number of adipocytes, which in turn will result in a measurable reduction of fat and a circumferential reduction of the treated area.

Targeted heating of the skin and fat using applied Radio Frequency (RF) energy has already demonstrated circumferential reduction and skin tightening. The mechanism of action is through an increased rate of fat metabolism resulting in accelerated lipid turnover ultimately leading to fat cell shrinkage and reduced volume. In addition, heating of the skin facilitates fibroblast activity, resulting in increased dermal collagen and ground substance, leading to a tightening of the skin and connective tissue. Despite significant results in the past, some inconsistencies were encountered with the previous generation of VelaShape devices. In order to understand these inconsistencies it is crucial to understand the key elements and parameters that have to take place within the tissues in order to reliably initiate the aforementioned cascade of events. These ideally need to be:

  • To reach an end point temperature of between 43-45°C
  • To create more heat below the skin surface and within the adipose tissues and sustain this heat in the tissue longer.
  • Control and maintain end point temperature over time.

By achieving these goals, fewer treatment cycles and treatment times can also be achieved. One of the key observations gleaned from the previous generation of VelaShape products has been the significance of the impedance of the tissue. Impedance is the measure of resistance (measured in ohms) to the effects of any electrical current and this has been found to vary significantly in the different types of tissue. In very thin and muscular abdomens without much adipose tissue, this can be 100 ohms, whilst in a patient with a larger BMI this can be of the order of 400-500 ohms. This variation in tissue impedance in individual patients, as well as within the same patients, and the lack of adaption of the delivered RF energy in previous generation RF energy systems has been one of the reasons for the inconsistencies of results in the past. The VelaShape III possesses Intelligent Bipolar RF in a closed loop fashion, giving the device the ability to measure the skin impedance ever 1ms and adjust RF power and energy levels accordingly to uniformly and accurately heat the tissue consistently regardless of the skin impedance of the patient. This has the advantage of delivering more consistent and reproducible results and reduces the risk of discomfort. The other key concept that has driven the development of the VelaShape III is the ‘Thermal dose’ concept. This states that the higher the temperature achieved in any given adipose tissue, the shorter the treatment time required. Increasing the tissue temperature from 42.5°C - 45°C can reduce the time the tissue needs to be in this elevated temperature by a factor of approximately eight.The new VelaShape III possesses 150 watts, which is approximately two and a half times more than the VelaShape II. This increased power plus the new impedance control assures the same energy gets delivered into the tissue regardless of the tissue impedance. It is now possible, depending on the area needing treatment, to achieve the desired result with only one treatment.

In summary therefore, whilst the end results for patients are very similar compared to previous generation multi-treatment VelaShape devices, for busy patients who cannot commit to up to six treatments, the alternative of a single treatment of 45 - 90 minutes is available. However, if patients prefer more frequent but shorter treatments, this can also be offered. 

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