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News & Press: Annual Meeting

Transcutaneous Temperature-Controlled Radiofrequency Treatment Eases Urinary Incontinence

Saturday, February 11, 2017  
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Transcutaneous Temperature-Controlled Radiofrequency Treatment Eases Urinary Incontinence Due to Childbirth and Menopause
Women Claim 50 Percent Improvement

OFFICIAL NEWS RELEASE FROM THE AACS 2017 Annual Scientific Meeting

SAN DIEGO – Non-surgical radiofrequency treatment stimulates the growth of collagen in the vagina, alleviating childbirth and menopause-related stress urinary incontinence, suggest results of a randomized study being presented today at the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery Annual Scientific Meeting.
 
“We confirmed this non-invasive treatment increased the quality and quantity of collagen, and the patients said their symptoms improved by more than 50 percent,” said Gustavo Leibaschoff, MD, lead author of the study and president of the International Consultants in Aesthetic Medicine-USA. “It also helped ease other common symptoms, including vaginal dryness, painful intercourse and irritation.”
 
Collagen is the body’s connective protein – the adhesive – in skin, muscles, bones and other tissue, including the vagina. Collagen decreases with aging, leading to wrinkled skin, weaker muscles and thinner tissue. This can contribute to the development of problems such as stress urinary incontinence, in which urine leaks during coughing, laughing or exercise. Childbirth and menopause can exacerbate the problem.
 
For the treatment – called transcutaneous temperature-controlled radiofrequency (TTRF) – a special wand-like device is inserted into the vagina where it emits heat using radiofrequency energy. Heating the vaginal tissue stimulates blood flow and prompts the growth of collagen and the tightening of tissue Dr. Leibaschoff said.
 
The randomized, blinded study included 20 women with stress urinary incontinence, 10 of whom received TTRF once a month for three months and then one year later. The other 10 had a placebo treatment in which the device was not turned on, but appeared to be in the on mode so the women thought they were receiving treatment.
 
Prior to the study, researchers measured stress urinary incontinence symptoms in 20 women, using five validated questionnaires or tests: the vagina health index, the Incontinence Questionnaire-Urinary Incontinence Short Form (ICIQ-UI SF), the Urinary Distress Inventory (UDI-6), the Impact Incontinence Questionnaire Short Form (IIQ-7) and the visual analog scale (VAS). The women retook those five tests after the third TTRF or placebo treatment. Those who had TTRF experienced 50-percent to 70-percent improvement in urinary incontinence, vaginal dryness, painful sex and irritation, while women who had the placebo treatment did not experience improvement, Dr. Leibaschoff said. He noted that nearly all (98 percent) of the women who had TTRF said they benefitted and improved regarding their stress urinary incontinence symptoms.
 
Researchers took biopsies of vaginal tissue before and after treatment in both groups, comparing the cells under a microscope. Although they didn’t quantify it, they noted significantly improved quality and quantity of collagen in the treated group, but no change in the placebo group.
 
TTRF provides a warm sensation and is painless. There is no down time or recovery period, said Dr. Leibaschoff. The device is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat dermatologic issues, such as tightening the skin under the neck. It’s not yet FDA approved for treatment in the vagina.
 
Because the treatment is not considered health-related, it’s not covered by insurance and typically costs around $3,500.


About the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery
Founded in 1985, the mission of the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery is to advance the specialty of cosmetic surgery and quality patient care. AACS is the leader in continuing medical education for all specialties of cosmetic surgery, providing fellowship training programs, live surgery workshops, medical symposiums and an Annual Scientific Meeting. Most members of the AACS are board‐certified cosmetic surgeons, dermatological surgeons, plastic and reconstructive surgeons, head and neck surgeons, oral and maxillofacial surgeons, obstetric‐gynecologic surgeons, general surgeons and ophthalmic surgeons – all of whom specialize in cosmetic surgery. AACS is the organization that represents all cosmetic surgeons in the American Medical Association through its seat in the AMA House of Delegates.