Bipolar and multipolar radiofrequency

Dermatol Surg. 2014 Dec:40 Suppl 12:S174-9. doi: 10.1097/DSS.0000000000000201.


Background: The increased demand for anti-aging treatments over the past decade has fueled the development of multimodality devices. This allows for more efficacious treatment of dermal defects, excess adiposity, and skin laxity. Radiofrequency (RF) devices are constantly evolving and consequently adding multiple indications for their use. In this article, the authors focus on bipolar and multipolar RF modalities.

Objective: The objective was to review, summarize, and evaluate the key studies of procedural therapies using bipolar and multipolar RF technologies.

Methods: Studies selected for evaluation had clear statements of purpose, patient selection, follow-up evaluations, previous and concurrent medications, treatment parameters, methods for evaluating results, and adverse effects. All studies were complete and published in peer-reviewed journals.

Results and conclusion: With their unique mechanism of action, bipolar and multipolar RF devices remain versatile treatment options associated with minimal downtime and pain compared with monopolar RF and other nonablative modalities. Proper patient selection and education along with an experienced treating physician is crucial in achieving patient satisfaction and results. It is important that larger studies are conducted to provide data on upcoming devices. Review of the literature provides a starting point for physicians seeking to treat patients safely and effectively with newer devices.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cosmetic Techniques / instrumentation*
  • Diathermy / instrumentation*
  • Humans
  • Radiofrequency Therapy*
  • Rejuvenation*
  • Skin Aging / radiation effects*