Control of postoperative pain with a wearable continuously operating pulsed radiofrequency energy device: a preliminary study

Aesthetic Plast Surg. 2012 Apr;36(2):458-63. doi: 10.1007/s00266-011-9828-3. Epub 2011 Oct 25.


Background: Pulsed radiofrequency energy (PRFE) has long been reported to have a therapeutic effect on postoperative pain. In this study, a portable, wearable, low-energy-emitting PRFE therapy device was used to determine the control of postoperative pain after breast augmentation surgery.

Methods: The study enrolled 18 healthy women who underwent breast augmentation purely for aesthetic considerations. Postoperative pain after surgery was assessed with a 0- to 10-point visual analog scale (VAS). Baseline pain scores were taken at completion of the operation, and the patients were randomly assigned coded PRFE devices that were either active or placebo devices. For 7 days, VAS scores were recorded twice daily (a.m. and p.m.). Medication use also was logged for 7 days. The PRFE devices were left in place and in continuous operation for the 7 days of the study.

Results: All the patients tolerated the PRFE therapy well, and no side effects were reported. The VAS scores for the active group were significantly lower on postoperative day 1. By day 7, the baseline VAS remaining in the active group was 7.9% versus 38% in the placebo group. Together with lower VAS scores, narcotic pain medication use was lower in the patient group that received PRFE therapy.

Conclusion: Postoperative pain is significantly lower with PRFE therapy. According to the findings, PRFE therapy in this form is an excellent, safe, drug-free method of postoperative pain control.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Breast Implantation*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Equipment Design
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Pain Measurement
  • Pain, Postoperative / prevention & control*
  • Pulsed Radiofrequency Treatment* / methods
  • Treatment Outcome