Lovingly referred to as the flame thrower by some doctors, J-plasma is a powerful tool that plastic surgeons can use to tighten the skin. Simple yet fascinating, J-plasma procedures start with the placement of a small device just under the skin. A specific radio frequency (RF) is then applied to the device to create a precise beam of heat while helium gas simultaneously cools the area to prevent burns. Together, the gas and RF create a stream of energy known as J-plasma. It’s an amazing system, but one that must always be used responsibly.
What is J-Plasma Used For?
The FDA has approved J-plasma for cutting and cauterizing tissue. It’s used to do so in both traditional surgeries and laparoscopic procedures. Many plastic surgeons also use J-plasma to shrink the skin and make it tighter. This is an increasingly common use but technically an off-label one.
An off-label use of a medication or device occurs when a doctor uses an FDA-approved tool in a different way. Another example of this is when a doctor prescribes a diabetes medication to obese patients so those patients can benefit from the medication’s weight loss side effect.
How Does J-Plasma Work?
It’s a known fact that heat causes some substances and materials to shrink, which is why many of us dry our favorite blue jeans on low heat rather than high. It turns out that your skin is one of the things that can shrink when exposed to heat. It’s normally impossible, however, to apply enough heat to your skin to tighten it without causing burns and damage.
J-plasma solves this problem by combining the heat of RF with helium gas to create a cooling effect. This allows the RF to make the skin contract while the helium gas allows the heat to quickly dissipate before it reaches the surface of the skin and causes damage. The heat contracts collagen instantly, pulling the skin tighter for instant and, in some cases, dramatic results.
Does J-Plasma Really Tighten the Skin?
J-Plasma does, in fact, tighten the skin as promised. It can do so in multiple parts of the body, including the backs of the arms, belly, face, neck, flanks, knees, and thighs.
Are J-Plasma Results Permanent?
J-plasma results are real, but they’re not permanent. The procedure is irreversible, but the aging process will continue and may cause your skin to sag again in the future. Many patients enjoy the results of a J-plasma procedure for about 7 years and, given the minimally invasive nature of the procedure, are quite happy with the length of their results. Note that if you lose a significant amount of weight, your skin may start to sag and loosen again regardless of how recently you’ve undergone J-plasma treatment.
Is J-Plasma Better Than Lipo?
J-plasma is no better or worse than liposuction, as the two procedures achieve very different goals. Comparing them is a bit like comparing apples and oranges. Lipo removes fat from the body and does the job well. It is not, however, intended or designed to tighten the skin. The skin often tightens after lipo, but only if it is still elastic enough to do so. J-plasma tightens the skin but does not remove or disturb fat.
For these reasons, it is common for doctors to perform liposuction and J-plasma procedures together. This allows for maximum body sculpting, removing unwanted fat and then tightening the skin over the area.
What are the Risks Associated with J-Plasma?
J-plasma can be very effective in some patients, but it’s not for everyone and it must be used safely and carefully. The FDA has received multiple reports of second-and third-degree burns, infections, scarring, nerve damage, bleeding, and skin color changes after the use of J-plasma for skin tightening. Some people have also experienced a buildup of air or gas under their skin, in their blood vessels, and in their body cavities.
Because of the risks, Mia Aesthetics uses J-plasma sparingly and only on patients for whom we believe we can produce both dramatic and safe results.