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Shrinking Upper and Lower Eyelid Skin with a Novel Radiofrequency Tip



BACKGROUND Many subjects wish to have tightening of eyelid skin but are reluctant to undergo aesthetic blepharoplasty surgery. We wanted to perform a small pilot study to test the efficacy and safety of a 0.25-cm2 monopolar radiofrequency tip in a prospective noncomparative study as a novel nonsurgical method to safely tighten upper and lower eyelid skin in subjects of differing ethnicity and sex.

METHODS Twenty adult subjects were enrolled in this prospective pilot study. All received symmetrical monopolar radiofrequency treatments in multiple passes to the pretarsal, preseptal, and lateral orbital skin. All subjects wore a protective plastic haptic contact lens to protect their vision during the radiofrequency treatment. (Haptic contact lenses fit over the entire anterior surface of the globe from superior to inferior and medial to lateral fornix. The purpose of using such a large contact lens was to protect the globe itself from radiofrequency energy.) Standardized color digital photography with eyes both open and closed was taken on each visit. Treatment efficacy was evaluated by both the expert observer and the subject at each visit.

RESULTS At 6-month follow-up, according to the expert observer, 26 upper lids (87%) showed 25% or more tightening. Twenty lower lids (67%) showed 25% or more tightening. Two subjects (3.33%) had 51% to 75% upper lid tightening at 6 months. There were no adverse events beyond one subject with minimal corneal epithelial punctate defects on the treatment day. These resolved over several hours.

CONCLUSIONS The use of this new tip was shown to be safe. Effectiveness at shrinking eyelid skin was at best mild to moderate.

*Department of Ophthalmology and Division of Dermatology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Jean Carruthers, MD, University of British Columbia, 943 West Broadway, Suite 820, Vancouver, BC V5Z 4E1, Canada, or e-mail:

© 2007 by the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, Inc.
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