New wrinkle reducing procedure benefits Asians

University of Hawaiʻi
Jim Manke, (808) 956-6099
External Affairs & University Relations
Kristen Cabral, (808) 956-5039
Public Information Officer
Posted: Jun 27, 2002

A new wrinkle reduction procedure may benefit Asian skin types by reducing the healing time and discoloration normally associated with chemical peeling and laser-based procedures.

Dr. John A. McCurdy Jr., a plastic surgeon and assistant clinical professor of surgery at the University of Hawai'i‘s John A. Burns School of Medicine, reported his findings at a meeting of the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery in New York last month. According to his report, radiofrequency resurfacing, otherwise known as coblation, is the new procedure that works well on all skin types but is the most reliable and safest for Asian skin.

"When treated with low-temperature radio wave energy, Asians achieve wrinkle reduction and improved complexion comparable to that achieved by Caucasians," McCurdy said. "This is significant since traditional resurfacing techniques result in a higher rate of long-term pigmentation problems for Asian skin types."

The low complication rate of Asians using coblation was largely due to its low operating temperature. Less than 200 degrees Fahrenheit is targeted on the tissue versus over 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit for some lasers. Discomfort and recovery time is thereby reduced since damage to surrounding tissue is minimized.

In the procedure, a controlled amount of low-temperature radio wave energy is administered by an instrument called Visage. Old facial collagen is reduced and wrinkle reduction is triggered as re-growth occurs during the healing process.

Coblation is a patented technology developed in Silicon Valley and cleared by the FDA in 1995. It is used to treat medical problems such as sleep apnea, brain tumors and herniated spine discs. Coblation received FDA clearance for wrinkle reduction in 2000.

McCurdy has practiced plastic surgery in Hawai'i since 1979. He is recognized internationally as an expert on Asian cosmetic surgery. Among his contributions, McCurdy wrote "Plastic Surgery in the Asian Face," and served as guest editor for a special issue on "Surgery in the Asian Patient" for the Facial Plastic Surgery Clinics of North America. He has also published over 80 scientific articles and medical chapters and presented lectures at national and international meetings.

McCurdy‘s report on the benefits of coblation will be published in the "Archives of Facial Plastic Surgery."