BodyTite RFAL | Cynthia Mizgala MD FACS
I'm Dr. Cynthia Mizgala, a woman plastic surgeon. I've been doing all types of liposuction for more than I'd like to admit, maybe about 24 years that I've been in practice, and I really love the results. It's the most common procedure that patients come in asking for because, if there's an unwanted area of fat collection, it's very easy to suction it out.
Now the newest technology is known as RFAL, radio frequency assisted lipoplasty. The interesting thing about that technology that we're so excited about is that it's been shown in well-documented research studies that it has the most dramatic skin-tightening effect of any of the other technologies available, which is so important because, as you could imagine, if you're taking fat out of a fat pocket, you don't want to be left with loose skin. We're getting great results tightening the neck. FDA just cleared the applicator for the body to do tightening of areas like the abdomen, the back, the arms, the thighs, all with a tightening effect, which is really important when you're doing liposuction.
Here is a diagram of a typical area that might be treated. You're seeing, from the external surface, what I was discussing. Internally, we're trying to heat the fat cells, which would have tumescent fluid in it. As I'm doing that, I'm also tightening the skin with the external electrode. Basically, the heat is going from deep to superficial. This has two effects, melting the fat internally, so we achieve a internal temperature somewhere in the range of 68 degrees Celsius, and the target for the external or skin temperature is somewhere between 35 and 40 degrees Celsius. As you can see, the goal here is to push away the elastic fibers and maintain those while the fat is being emulsified. That also helps to pull the skin back in once the fat cells are aspirated.
We are going to show you a brief video of a patient who went through the BODYTITE procedure of the lower abdomen. We definitely do it in our procedure room of the office which, of course, is a sterile environment. There are several steps to the process. The first step is to prepare the area with the Betadine. The second step is to numb up the areas where I'm going to make the little nicks in the skin to introduce the canula. That canula then provides the tumescent solution, which is the next step. Now we let everything numb up, give it a little time for the fat cells to get water-logged and numb so all they feel is movement, but they don't feel any pain, and they don't feel the heat that's generated by the RFAL.
Once the patient is prepped and once the tumescent solution is infused, we're ready to start the actual surgical part of the procedure. The next step could be one of two things. I can either proceed directly to the RFAL. The goal there is with the double prong. The inner prong is melting the fat cells with the outer prong accepting the heat energy and, if you will, also tightening the skin. It almost is the image of ironing the skin. In some cases, though, the next step would be to pretreat and remove some of the fat with regular liposuction in order to have less of a fatty layer. That way, we can generate the heat to the external surface a little quicker when there's less fat accumulation, so sometimes I pre-evacuate the fat to reduce the amount of fat so that I can use the dual prongs to heat up and get more skin tightening.
Patients will already start to see some slimming effects, certainly within a week, but it only gets smoother and smoother and smoother with time. You see pretty dramatic results at six weeks but even more dramatic results at three months. Although it is not a very painful procedure, we do give pain medicine, but most people don't have much discomfort and certainly not much after the first day. Again, they can go right back to all their normal activities, back to work, back to taking care of their children, back to school, and even back to the gym almost immediately.
There's not a lot of follow-up required, and I would see the patient in about a month to six weeks to see their initial results and then expect the final results at three months, and I would see the patient then and, of course, any time in between if they had a question or a concern, but usually, they're just really happy with their new physique and enjoying a renewed self-confidence from the procedure.