Radiofrequency skin lesion removal (radiowave surgery)

Radiofrequency removal of skin lesions or radiowave surgery involves the removal of dermal lesions using radio waves.

Radiofrequency electrosurgery was developed in 1928 and it is the most widely used for fine cutting and coagulation of the skin.
It works at high frequency and low temperature, minimally damaging the surrounding skin.
Scars after Ellman radiosurgery are much more discreet, sometimes even inconspicuous, and the procedure itself is without any doubt less painful compared to the use of thermocautery devices.

What do radio waves remove?

Using radio waves we can remove all benign dermal lesions: moles, keratoses, viral warts, condyloma, papilloma, fibroma, angioma, atheroma up to 5 mm in diameter, spots.
We can also perform skin abrasion on scars or coagulation of small capillaries on face and legs.

radiofrequency skin lesion removal
Radiowave surgery

Radiofrequency skin lesion removal – Patient Experience

Skin lesions should be removed using local anaesthetic. It can be a cream, if there are a lot of superficial skin lesions such as seborrheic keratosis, flattened warts, condyloma.
If the lesion is placed deeper, local anaesthesia will be applied, same as dentists do.
In this way, moles, papillomas, angiomas, plantar and palmar warts located on any body part, are removed using radiofrequency. The intervention is over in a few minutes, and a superficial scab is formed following the procedure.
A suture is needed after a radiofrequency treatment. The scab falls off within 3 or 14 days depending on the size and depth of the lesion.
A whitish spot or no trace may remain on the skin.
Redness after the intervention can last up to a month, and during that time the skin should not be exposed to the sun.

Are there any situations when radiofrequency removal should not be used?

Radiofrequency removal of dermal lesions is not indicated for the growths larger than 8 mm in diameter.
The scar after this intervention is usually not aesthetically acceptable.
If the skin lesion has some elements that would suggest the development of a malignant condition, it needs to be removed surgically.

In that way, the intervention can encompass wider and deeper area.

Is it possible to send a lesion sample to pathohistological analysis after it has been removed using radiofrequency?
The pathologist cannot examine the cells exposed to the high temperature of the radio waves, but he can analyse the remaining of the sample.
That’s another reason why suspicious moles should not be removed using radio waves.
It is possible to perform a shave biopsy using a knife, and to perform only coagulation with radio waves.

What is the difference between radiofrequency removal and laser removal?

The main difference between the two is that radiofrequency removal is a more precise procedure than the one using laser.
Both devices use tissue evaporation, but radio waves cut more precisely, and there is less evaporation of the skin than with laser, so the recovery period from radio wave intervention is shorter than when a laser is used.
Exceptions are dark spot treatments where Q-switch laser has a great advantage over radio waves or ablative CO2 laser.

Reference:
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18384618/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6181846/
https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/mole-removal-scar

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