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Plasma Sublimation has allowed aestheticians to treat signs of ageing and skin complaints, without actually cutting the skin, hence the soft surgery name. Plasma sublimation devices have many uses including: eyelid reconstruction (blepharoplasty), removing the lines around the mouth, improvement in the appearance of many types of scars, face and neck lifts, fat loss, thread vein removal, tattoo removal, and treating a number of skin imperfections. Since plasma sublimation has such a wide range of therapeutic uses, it is really important to find an experienced doctor or medical practitioner, and to attend a consultation before going ahead with any treatment. Costs vary from around £150 for small areas, to approximately £1,500 for complete eyelid treatment.
The Plexr soft surgery system uses the fourth state of matter, plasma, and is marketed for use as a non-surgical blepharoplasty, or soft eyelid surgery.
Over recent years there has been an increase in the demand for cosmetic procedures that are less invasive, have minimum recovery time and come with more affordable prices. Patients are after a non-surgical treatment method, that provides similar results as seen with surgery.
As a solution to this high demand, president of the Italian Society for Aesthetic Medicine, Prof. Giorgio Fippi, developed a unique soft surgery tool that utilises the fourth state of matter, plasma, to treat a number of cosmetic concerns in a less invasive way than traditional ‘knife-to-skin’ surgery. The innovative ‘soft surgery’ method of Plasma Sublimation was born.
Prof. Fippo's tool for plasma sublimation is called the Plexr™. It was the first device of its kind to launch on the market for plasma sublimation and has been adopted by clinics across Europe and the UK since around 2014. Other devices, from other manufacturers have now also joined the marketplace.
Your practitioner will be able to guide you through the procedure fully and determine if you are suitable for treatment. Once you have your individual diagnosis you will know fully what to expect.
How Does It Work?
Plasma sublimation is a revolutionary method of cosmetic procedure that requires no cutting of the skin, and often no injectable anaesthetics.
Plasma is generated when the atmospheric gas between the instrument tip and the skin is ionised. This causes a small electrical arc which causes the contraction, tightening and shortening of the skin fibres, which will result in a reduction of the skin surface, therefore improving the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines and scars etc. The visible results are similar to those seen with surgery, but without the need for a single cut or stitch.
Types of Plasma Sublimation Treatment
Plasma sublimation can be utilised in a number of different cosmetic procedures, and via a number of different brands and designs of devices. Yet, it is the Plexr machine and method that was the first to pioneer this modality and has the most in-practice use by practitioners, having been a popular method in Italy for many years before becoming more widespread.
You should be aware that there may be other machines, with differing power settings or treatment methods used in cosmetic clinics, and asking questions about what is being used is important to ensure that you are getting the finest service and treatment possible.
As the pioneering system, some of the following content will focus on the Plexr device.
The Plexr™ (full name Plasma Exeresis), has three different wireless handheld devices, each offering a different degree of treatment. The tips that are used for each device are disposable and should not be used for more than one treatment.
The Plexr device is European CE approved as a medical device, but if your practitioner uses a different device, make sure it is also approved and certified, before going ahead with treatment.
Your practitioner will give you a thorough consultation before you sign any consent forms, and you will be advised to not wear any make-up on the area that is to be treated.
What Can It Treat?
Plasma sublimation is a soft surgery method that has a very wide range of rejuvenating treatments, and can improve a number of skin complaints. This soft surgery method can be used for:
• Eyelid rejuvenation, including reducing the appearance of baggy lower and upper eyelids, as well as removing fine lines.
• Treating a variety of skin imperfections, including pigmentation marks, moles, sun spots, warts, skin tags and fibromas.
• Tattoo removal.
• Face, brow and neck lifts.
• Improving the appearance of smoker’s lines around the mouth.
• Tightening sagging skin.
• Resolving outbreaks of active adult acne, as well as acne scarring.
• Improvement in the appearance of scarring, including post-surgery scars, and stretch marks.
There has been a number of studies that have shown that plasma sublimation has been effective in several different procedures.
For example, a study by Scarano et al in 2012 on the smoker’s lines of 15 patients showed that the finer wrinkles were completely eradicated, and deeper wrinkles greatly improved with plasma sublimation. This was using the Plexr.
Following a consultation where you can discuss your expectations for treatment and whether plasma sublimation is the right treatment for you, the practitioner will take some photographs for later before and after comparison, and you will sign a consent form. Then, the treatment area will be cleaned. A topical anaesthetic cream will be applied, or if necessary or requested local anaesthetic injections may be used to aid discomfort; this will be left to take effect for up to 30 minutes.
The plasma tip is held 1-2mm away from the surface of the skin, and multiple shots are delivered to the treatment area close together. If the tip does touch the skin, most devices will cut out straight away, to stop any injury. However, you are likely to feel heat and discomfort in the treatment area, but treatment will only last between 10 - 60minutes depending on the size of the area being targeted.
Side Effects and Risks
In the hands of a trained professional, plasma sublimation is a very low risk procedure. It can even be used on delicate areas, such as the inner rim of the eye, following advanced training.
The side effects are minimal, and will not stop you from going about your daily activities. As mentioned previously there will be some redness and swelling, and the crusting of the skin may feel itchy and sore.
As opposed to surgery, most people can return to work the same day, as there is very little downtime.
Following treatment, there will be some heat in the skin, like a sunburnt feeling with redness, and little carbon crusts where the tip has been fired to the skin. These scabs will heal and fall off within 5-7 days, leaving fresh pink skin underneath. There may also be swelling depending on the area of treatment, but that should only last a couple of days.
You are likely to feel a burning sensation after treatment, but that will usually disappear in the space of a few hours. If it does persist an anti-inflammatory, such as ibuprofen is recommended. A cold compress should provide significant and immediate relief for the swelling, but an antihistamine will help if it is particularly uncomfortable.
Your clinic will offer you a special hypoallergenic cover-up to disguise the crusting, and it is important to keep the skin protected with a high factor sunscreen (SPF 30+) whilst it is healing. Do not pick or scratch at the carbon crusts as this could lead to scarring or even infection, so keep the area clean and dry. The skin will be particularly sensitive whilst it is healing, so avoid scrubs or alcohol based cleansers.
Your practitioner will provide you with information for a safe aftercare regime, but always ask any unanswered questions.
If you are in generally good health there are very few reasons why you shouldn’t undergo plasma sublimation treatment.
If you are on any medications, make sure you make your practitioner aware in case it effects your eligibility for the procedure.
In addition, women who are pregnant or breast feeding should avoid any aesthetic procedures, unless approved by their general practitioner (GP doctor).
Plasma sublimation is not advised in those with very dark skin tones as there is a higher risk of pigmentation marks after treatment, both light (hypopigmentation) and dark (hyperpigmentation), particularly if the carbon crust is scratched away too early.
Who Can Do It?
Plasma sublimation should only ever be carried out by a fully trained, registered and insured medical practitioner such as a doctor or nurse. In some cases, treatment can be supervised and delegated to a trained aesthetician
The price of plasma sublimation will inevitably vary between clinics and depending on the number of treatments required. The following prices are an estimate of what you can expect to pay for certain treatments.
Small lesion or area
From £150 for a single treatment.
Upper OR lower eyelid
From £1,200 for complete treatment.
Upper AND lower eyelid
From £1,600 for complete treatment.
Plasma sublimation is a complete innovation in the world of aesthetic medicine, as it claims to offer the same results as an invasive surgical procedure, without a single cut to the skin being required. It also offers better, more instant, and longer lasting results than with other non-surgical modalities such as cryogenics and radiofrequency. This is because the plasma method of skin tightening maintains the integrity of the skin much better.
Plus, since no general anaesthetic is required, plasma sublimation has a much quicker recovery time than surgical procedures, whilst also being quicker and cheaper.
The tools used for plasma sublimation are extremely precise, and can be used on delicate areas (including the inner eyelid) with very little risk of injury. The tool can also be used on any area of the skin, and treat a wide range of complaints from wrinkles, to scars, to skin imperfections. This new innovation in soft surgery is considered to be the next big thing in the aesthetic industry.