Nowadays, almost every beauty salon has radiofrequency equipment, and even home-use models are available. Let’s discuss the types of radiofrequency!
RF mainly has two types: monopolar and bipolar.
Monopolar RF The electric current released by monopolar RF flows from the generator through the device body to a single electrode (head) at the front end of the head, which is also the location of the highest resistance. The generation of resistance causes the production of heat, which heats up the tissue in the dermis. The current returns to the generator through the earth or a returning pad (connected to the user’s lower back or abdomen) to complete the circuit (as this is the current path with the lowest resistance). One of the most effective monopolar RF devices is Solta Medical’s Thermage® system, which will be discussed later.
Bipolar RF Bipolar RF refers to a device with two electrodes. The electric current released by bipolar RF flows through the tissue between the two electrodes at the generator head, and the beginning and end of the current occur between the two electrodes. Therefore, bipolar RF does not pass through other parts of the body, so there is no need for an earth or returning pad. One type of bipolar RF is the Accent system from ABC Lasers Ltd.
It is worth noting that whether it is monopolar or bipolar RF, heat is generated by resistance, not by the heat of the electrodes themselves (i.e., the electrodes themselves are not hot!).
Manufacturers are always creative. There are now devices claiming to be tri-polar RF (Tripollar™), which have both monopolar and bipolar heads and can perform both monopolar and bipolar operations simultaneously.
Each device has its unique function. As for which one to choose, you should consult with your doctor.