Reviewed by Dr Hassan Soueid.
Every day we hear stories about surgical techniques and technologies breaking new frontiers. Renuvion cosmetic technology or J-plasma is one such invention. In light of a growing need for minimally invasive procedures, J plasma/Renuvion fits the bill perfectly.
When it comes to J-plasma, many people aren’t exactly clear on the kind of “plasma” that’s being marketed. It isn’t blood plasma, but the plasma that we know as the fourth state of matter – ionized gas. This is used on organic skin tissue for cosmetic purposes. Here, let’s find out what it is exactly that J-plasma does, how it does it and whether or not you’re a good candidate for this treatment.
What Is J-Plasma Technology?
Renuvion/J-plasma technology uses the fundamentals of electrosurgery and has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for “cutting, coagulating, and ablation” of skin tissue. Even though some people market it as a “revolutionary treatment,” plasma has been used in biological sciences since the 1990s.
Essentially, J-plasma is a skin tightening procedure that uses cold plasma energy. The technology works by utilizing helium gas, heated with radiofrequency (RF) energy to create the plasma, which is then worked on the skin tissue.
In the skin tightening plasma treatments, it coagulates the skin tissue, resulting in its contraction. Although it is mainly used as an alternative to lifting procedures, it has also been used for getting rid of deep wrinkles on the face.
The treatment not only immediately results in tighter skin, but also stimulates the formation of new collagen in the body due to wounding of the tissue (neocollagensis). That’s why people see an improvement in the results of the treatment 6-9 months after getting it.
If you’re wondering what else can J-plasma treat, J-plasma is being investigated for its potential as a cancer treatment. In addition, some studies show that it can also kill bacterial cells (bactericidal).
And because of its wound healing potential, its use for treating acne scars is also being studied. Some say that it can also treat sun-damaged skin; however, there’s not enough scientific data on that.
Are You A Good Candidate for J-Plasma Skin Tightening?
Your skin laxity determines whether or not you are a candidate for traditional surgery over J-plasma.
If you have excessive loose, sagging skin, then Renuvion alone will not yield satisfactory cosmetic results. That’s because it does not involve the removal or cutting of large skin tissue.
So, if you have good skin laxity, you can get this procedure. It’s more suitable for you if you want to make minor tweaks to your face, neck or body to firm up the skin. Since the procedure has minimal downtime, you’ll be able to enjoy the results of the procedure soon after.
Usually, cold atmospheric plasma treatments are done in combination with liposuction surgeries, where the removal of fat can leave some loose skin behind. J-plasma skin tightening procedure helps improve the body contour of the patient in those instances.
How Does J-Plasma Work?
Many people wonder how J-plasma works to tighten skin. Essentially, the Renuvion device is like a probe that delivers the helium gas over an energized electrode of radiofrequency energy. It’s single-use and sterile.
The treatment takes place under local anaesthesia with or without IV sedation, so the patient is usually awake. The anaesthesia takes effect in a few minutes, after which the J-plasma specialist makes small incisions around the surgical area for the insertion of the probe under the skin (subdermal).
Inside, the tissue is heated to 85°C in less than a second (0.040-0.080). Since it’s a handheld device, it allows the specialist to have greater control over the delivery of the plasma without damaging the surrounding tissue. The probe is also able to deliver a focused stream.
Another upside of this device is the rapid cooling effect (in less than a second) due to the presence of helium gas. It safely delivers non-conductive, low current cold plasma to the target tissue.
Thus, it protects the skin from overheating. The studies cited on Renvion’s own website say that the temperature of the skin doesn’t rise by more than 4°C. So, there’s a low risk of burns, and the specialist doesn’t have to constantly monitor the temperature of the skin, which can be quite a hassle.
The whole treatment takes around 30 minutes; it can be longer depending on the size and number of surgical areas. Also, you may need to get the treatment more than once. As far as the longevity of results is concerned, the company claims that it can last for 2.5 years. Eventually, the skin will begin to sag again as the body ages.
Are There Any Risks of J Plasma Treatment?
One concern about the use of J-plasma technology is that it doesn’t require any certification or credentials. “J-plasma specialists” can offer this treatment. Poor knowledge of the anatomy of the skin can result in permanent damage. Therefore, make sure to do your research and find a board-certified plastic surgeon to perform this treatment.
As far as other risks of this treatment are concerned, the company says that it can cause burns, collapsed lung (pneumothorax), scars, nerve damage, pain, discomfort, infection, seroma (fluid build-up), hematoma (collection of blood), joint popping (crepitus) due to build-up of gas. In addition, there’s a risk of asymmetry and poor/unsatisfactory results.
Recovery & Aftercare
Since it’s not an invasive surgery, the recovery isn’t long or painful.
It’s possible that you experience pain/soreness, redness, and swelling in the surgical site after the treatment. Your doctor may prescribe painkillers to you.
If you’re getting liposuction with the procedure, you’ll have to wear a compression garment. Some doctors also recommend a lymphatic drainage massage after the procedure.
J-Plasma vs. Plastic Surgery: What’s the Difference?
Although you’ll find many people on the internet claiming J-plasma as the “non-surgical alternative” to facial lifting surgeries, tummy tuck and even liposuction, that’s not true. That’s because the two procedures work very differently, even though the goal is to achieve a better contour.
If you have loose skin on different areas of the body such as the neck, face or tummy, the surgeon may recommend the following procedures.
It is an invasive surgical procedure that involves the cutting out of excess skin to achieve a firm, toned abdomen.
A measure of whether or not you’ll be suitable for a tummy tuck is how much your skin “hangs.” If it stretches quite a lot on pulling but not enough to hang, then you may benefit from J-plasma. However, if it is visibly hanging down in folds, you will need a tummy tuck to remove the skin.
Facial Lifting Surgery
Similar to a tummy tuck, if the skin around your neck and/or face is excessively loose, so much so that it’s forming folds, you can get better results from a surgical procedure rather than J-plasma.
That’s because the J-plasma device cannot deliver as dramatic results as different lifting procedures, which involve excision of the skin to tighten it.
Which Treatment Should You Choose?
That depends on your needs and expectations from the treatment. Before getting the treatment, consult the doctor about what you can achieve from J-plasma. To get a better idea, you can take a look at the patient portfolio of the surgeon.
It’s important that you have realistic expectations from the procedure. Also, you need to bear in mind that J-plasma will not give you permanent results, so you’ll have to get another J-plasty which can cause concerns about the formation of bad scar tissue.
So, make sure to discuss these things with your surgeon beforehand, as it’ll save you time and money. If you’re better suited for surgical procedures like a tummy tuck or lifting procedures, you should consider getting those instead. In contrast to J-plasty, these give permanent results.
J-plasma/Renuvion is an innovative solution for tightening skin in different areas of the body. The procedure can be done standalone or in combination with other surgeries to improve the contour of the body.
It has its benefits in that it uses a focused stream of plasma to contract skin tissue and even promotes the production of collagen so that the results will improve a few months after the procedure.
Keep in mind J-plasma is not an alternative to a tummy tuck, facelift or liposuction surgery. It can tighten the skin to an extent but cannot remove it if it’s very loose and sagging. If you get a J-plasma in such an instance, you will not achieve satisfactory results. So, make sure to discuss the different treatment options with your surgeon.