Visualizing radiofrequency-skin interaction using multiphoton microscopy in vivo

Tsung Hua Tsai, Sung Jan Lin, Woan Ruoh Lee, Chun Chin Wang, Chih Ting Hsu, Thomas Chu, Chen Yuan Dong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Redundant skin laxity is a major feature of aging. Recently, radiofrequency has been introduced for nonablative tissue tightening by volumetric heating of the deep dermis. Despite the wide range of application based on this therapy, the effect of this technique on tissue and the subsequent tissue remodeling have not been investigated in detail. Objective: Our objective is to evaluate the potential of non-linear optics, including multiphoton autofluorescence and second harmonic generation (SHG) microscopy, as a non-invasive imaging modality for the real-time study of radiofrequency-tissue interaction. Methods: Electro-optical synergy device (ELOS) was used as the radiofrequency source in this study. The back skin of nude mouse was irradiated with radiofrequency at different passes. We evaluated the effect on skin immediately and 1 month after treatment with multiphoton microscopy. Results: Corresponding histology was performed for comparison. We found that SHG is negatively correlated to radiofrequency passes, which means that collagen structural disruption happens immediately after thermal damage. After 1 month of collagen remodeling, SHG signals increased above baseline, indicating that collagen regeneration has occurred. Our findings may explain mechanism of nonablative skin tightening and were supported by histological examinations. Conclusions: Our work showed that monitoring the dermal heating status of RF and following up the detailed process of tissue reaction can be imaged and quantified with multiphoton microscopy non-invasively in vivo.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)95-101
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Dermatological Science
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2012


  • Collagen
  • Multiphoton microscopy
  • Radiofrequency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Dermatology


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