US20030139740A1 - System and method for treating skin - Google Patents

System and method for treating skin Download PDF

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Publication number
US20030139740A1
US20030139740A1 US10/051,285 US5128502A US2003139740A1 US 20030139740 A1 US20030139740 A1 US 20030139740A1 US 5128502 A US5128502 A US 5128502A US 2003139740 A1 US2003139740 A1 US 2003139740A1
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target
skin
temperature
surrounding
system
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US10/051,285
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Michael Kreindel
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Syneron Medical Ltd
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Syneron Medical Ltd
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Priority to US10/051,285 priority Critical patent/US20030139740A1/en
Assigned to SYNERON MEDICAL LTD. reassignment SYNERON MEDICAL LTD. ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: KREINDEL, MICHAEL
Publication of US20030139740A1 publication Critical patent/US20030139740A1/en
Application status is Abandoned legal-status Critical

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    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61BDIAGNOSIS; SURGERY; IDENTIFICATION
    • A61B18/00Surgical instruments, devices or methods for transferring non-mechanical forms of energy to or from the body
    • A61B18/04Surgical instruments, devices or methods for transferring non-mechanical forms of energy to or from the body by heating
    • A61B18/12Surgical instruments, devices or methods for transferring non-mechanical forms of energy to or from the body by heating by passing a current through the tissue to be heated, e.g. high-frequency current
    • A61B18/14Probes or electrodes therefor
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61BDIAGNOSIS; SURGERY; IDENTIFICATION
    • A61B18/00Surgical instruments, devices or methods for transferring non-mechanical forms of energy to or from the body
    • A61B2018/00005Cooling or heating of the probe or tissue immediately surrounding the probe
    • A61B2018/00011Cooling or heating of the probe or tissue immediately surrounding the probe with fluids
    • A61B2018/00023Cooling or heating of the probe or tissue immediately surrounding the probe with fluids closed, i.e. without wound contact by the fluid
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61BDIAGNOSIS; SURGERY; IDENTIFICATION
    • A61B18/00Surgical instruments, devices or methods for transferring non-mechanical forms of energy to or from the body
    • A61B2018/00315Surgical instruments, devices or methods for transferring non-mechanical forms of energy to or from the body for treatment of particular body parts
    • A61B2018/00452Skin

Abstract

System and method for treating a skin target. A temperature effector creates a temperature difference between the target and the skin tissue surrounding the target such that the target is at a higher temperature than the surrounding the. One or more RP electrodes are attached to the skin and RE energy is applied.

Description

    FIELD OF THE INVENTION
  • This invention relates to methods and systems for treating skin. [0001]
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • The term “target” is used herein to denote a skin defect such as a vascular lesion, pigmented lesion, acne, unwanted hair or wrinkle. Selective thermal treatment of skin is commonly used in aesthetic medicine to remove skin targets. In order to be destroyed, the target must be raised to a temperature of about 70° C. without raising the temperature of the surrounding epidermis or dermis to damaging levels. The most popular method of thermal skin treatment is selective photo-thermolysis in which light energy produced by a laser or flash lamp is selectively absorbed by a pigmented portion of the target. However, with this method it is often not possible to heat the entire target to a temperature necessary for destroying it without heating the surrounding skin to damaging levels. The main problem is that the optical contrast between the target and the surrounding skin tissue is not high enough to obtain a significant difference in temperature between the target and the surrounding skin tissue. [0002]
  • U.S. Pat. No. 5,755,753 disclose use of the radio-frequency (RF) range of electro-magnetic energy for skin tightening, where RF energy is applied to a pre-cooled skin surface. U.S. Pat. No. 5,846,252 discloses treating hairs to reduce their electrical resistance and then applying RF current. [0003]
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • The present invention is based upon the finding that selective heating of a skin target by RF energy is enhanced if prior to the application of the RF energy the skin is treated to make the temperature of the target (T[0004] t) higher than the temperature of the surrounding skin tissue (Ts). The initial temperature gradient (Tt−Ts>0) between tie target and surrounding tissue may be achieved either by preheating the target or pre-cooling the surrounding tissue.
  • The invention thus provides a system for treating a skin target comprising: [0005]
  • (a) one or more RF electrodes configured to be attached to the skin, so as to apply an RF current to the skin; [0006]
  • (b) a temperature effector configured to create a temperature gradient between the target and skin surrounding the target such that the target is at a higher temperature than the surrounding skin. [0007]
  • The invention still further provides a method for treating a skin target comprising: [0008]
  • a) creating a temperature gradient between the target and skin surrounding the target such that he target is at a higher temperature than the surrounding skin; and [0009]
  • b) applying RF energy to the skin. [0010]
  • The system and method of the invention may be used for such skin targets as a vascular lesion, pigmented lesion, hair follicle, wrinkle and acne. [0011]
  • While not wishing to be bound by a particular theory, it is believed that selective thermolysis of a target by RF energy is enhanced when T[0012] t−Ts>0 due to an increase in the electrical conductivity in the RF range of tissues when thee tissue temperature is increased [Frances A. Duck, Physical Properties of Tissue, a Comprehensive Reference Book, Academic Press, 1990, p.173]. Accordingly, the dependence of the conductivity a of a tissue on temperature T is given by:
  • σ=σ0(1+α(T−T 0))  (1)
  • where σ[0013] 0 is the conductivity at the reference temperature T0 and α is a constant known as the temperature coefficient.
  • Heat generation by RF current can be estimated by Joule's Law: [0014]
  • H=σE 2  (2)
  • and the change in temperature in the tissue is obtained using the heat conductivity equation: [0015] c ρ T t = H ( 3 )
    Figure US20030139740A1-20030724-M00001
  • where c is the heat capacity of the tissue, ρ is the mass density and E is the intensity of the electric field. [0016]
  • Inserting Equations 1 and 2 into (3), [0017] c ρ T t = σ o ( 1 + α ( T - T o ) E 2 ( 4 ) Setting A = ασ o E 2 c ρ ( 5 )
    Figure US20030139740A1-20030724-M00002
  • and integrating Equation 4, the result is [0018] T = T o + At - 1 α + ( T i - T o ) At ( 6 )
    Figure US20030139740A1-20030724-M00003
  • where T[0019] i is the initial temperature of the tissue before the application of RF energy, t is the duration of the application of RF energy, and T′ is the formal temperate of tie tissue at the end of the application of RF energy.
  • If the initial temperatures of the target and sounding skin tissue are T[0020] t and Ts respectively (TtTs>0), then Equation 6 becomes for the target: T t = T o + At - 1 α + ( T ij - T to ) A it ( 7 )
    Figure US20030139740A1-20030724-M00004
  • and for the surrounding skin, [0021] T s = T 0 + At - 1 α + ( T st - T o ) At ( 8 )
    Figure US20030139740A1-20030724-M00005
  • subtracting Equation (8) from Equation (7) yields [0022]
  • T′ t −T′ s=(T ti −T si)e At  (9)
  • where T[0023] ti−Tsi is the initial temperate gradient between the target and the surrounding skin, and T′t−T′s is the final temperature gradient. Equation (9) shows that as the RF current is applied, the temperature gradient increases exponentially. Therefore, by creating an initial relatively small temperature gradient Tti−Tsi>0, and applying RF energy, a larger temperature gradient is obtained. This allows heating of the target to a sufficiently high temperature to destroy the target without heating the surrounding skin tissues to damaging levels.
  • Assuming a typical RF fluence (F) in the skin of 20 J/cm[0024] 2, α=0.03 (C°)−1 and a heat capacitance cρ=3.6 J/cm3°K the factor eAt in Equation (9) is At = e ασ o E 2 c ρ = e α Ht c ρ = 0.83 = 2.3
    Figure US20030139740A1-20030724-M00006
  • Thus, the temperature gradient increases by a factor of about 2.3 during the application of the RF energy.[0025]
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • In order to understand the invention and to see how it may be carried out in practice, a preferred embodiment will now be described, by way of non-limiting example only, with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which: [0026]
  • FIG. 1 shows a system for heating a skin target and applying RF to an individual in accordance with one embodiment of the invention; [0027]
  • FIG. 2 shows a method for treating skin using the system of FIG. 1; [0028]
  • FIG. 3 shows an applicator with two electrodes, and a light source used in tie system of FIG. 1. [0029]
  • FIG. 4 shows a system for cooling skin surrounding a target and applying RF energy to an individual in accordance with another embodiment of the invention; [0030]
  • FIG. 5 shows an applicator with two electrodes, and a cooling system used in the system of FIG. 3; and [0031]
  • FIG. 6 shows a method for treating skin using the system of FIGS. 4 and 5.[0032]
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
  • Referring to FIGS. 1 and 2, a system for creating a temper gradient between a skin target and the surrounding skin, in accordance with the invention is shown. An applicator [0033] 703, to be described in detail below, contains a pair of RF electrodes 401 and 402 and a light source 403. The applicator 703 is adapted to be applied to the skin of an individual 705 in the region of a target. The applicator 703 is connected to a control unit 701 via a cable 702. The control unit 701 includes a power source 708. The power source 708 is connected to an RF generator 715 that is connected to the RF electrodes in the applicator 703 via wires in the cable 702. The power source 708 is also connected to a light source 403 in the applicator 703 via wires in the cable 702. The control unit 701 has an input device such as a keypad 710 that allows an operator to input selected values of parameters of the treatment, such as the frequency, pulse duration and intensity of the RF energy or the wavelength and intensity of the optical energy. The control unit 701 optionally contains a processor 709 for monitoring and controlling various functions of the device. For example, the processor 709 may monitor the electrical impedance between the electrodes in the applicator 703, and determine the temperature distribution in the vicinity of the target. The processor 709 may also determine the parameters of the treatment based upon the impedance measurements.
  • FIG. 2 shows the applicator [0034] 703 in detail. The applicator contains a pair of electrodes 401 and 402 that apply RF energy to the skin. A light source 403 produces a light spectrum that is delivered to the skin surface by light guide 404.
  • In accordance with the method of the invention, the system shown in FIG. 1 is used to first apply optical energy to a target having a diameter for example of 2 mm. The optical energy may have an intensity from about 5 to about 100 Joules/cm[0035] 2 and may be applied from about 1 to 200 msec.
  • The parameters of RF energy may have the following exemplary values: [0036]
  • Frequency of the RF energy: from about 300 kHz to about 100 MHz. [0037]
  • Output power of the RF energy from about 5 to about 200 W. [0038]
  • Duration of the irradiation: from about 1 to about 500 msec. [0039]
  • Pulse repetition rate: from about 0.1 to about 10 pulses per second. [0040]
  • FIG. 3 shows a flow chart for a method of treating skin using the system shown in FIGS. 1 and 2. In step [0041] 300, the applicator 703 is applied to the skin of an individual in the region of a target in the skin. In step 310 the light source 403 is activated so that the target is irradiated with optical energy from the light source 403 conducted through the optic fiber 404 to the target. In step 320 the irradiation with optical energy is terminated. RF energy is then applied to the skin (step 330). Finally, in step 340, the application of RF energy is terminated.
  • Referring now to FIGS. 4 and 5, a system for creating a temperature gradient between a skin target and the surrounding ski, in accordance with another embodiment of the invention is shown. An applicator [0042] 803, to be described in detail below, contains a pair of RF electrodes 401 and 402. The applicator 803 is adapted to be applied to the skin of an individual 805 in the region of a target. The control unit 801 includes a power source 808. The power source 808 is connected to an RF generator 815 that is connected to the RF electrodes in the applicator 803 via wires in the cable 802. The control unit 801 controls a refrigeration unit 812 that cools a fluid such as ethanol or water for cooling the applicator 803. The cooled fluid flows 10 from the refrigeration unit 812 to the applicator via a first tube in the cable 802, and flows from the applicator 803 back to the refrigeration unit via a second tube in the cable 802. The control unit 801 has an input dice such as a keypad 810 that allows an operator to input selected values of parameters of the treatment, such as the frequency, pulse duration and intensity of the RF energy or the temperature of the coating fluid. The control unit 801 optionally contains a processor 809 for monitoring and controlling various functions of the device. For example, the processor 809 may monitor the electrical impedance between the electrodes in the applicator 803, and determine the temperature distribution in the vicinity of the target. The processor 809 may also determine the parameters of the treatment based upon the impedance measurements.
  • FIG. 5 shows the applicator [0043] 803 in, detail. The applicator contain a pair of electrodes 401 and 402 that apply RF energy to the skin. The housing and electrodes are cooled by fluid cooled by the refrigeration unit 812 that flows in a tube 408 between inlet 405 and outlet 406. The inlet 405 and the outlet 406 are connected to the refrigeration unit 812 via the fist and second tubes in the cable 802.
  • FIG. 6 shows a flow chart for a method of treating skin using the system shown in FIGS. 4 and 5. In step [0044] 600, the applicator 703 is applied to the skin of an individual in the region of a target in the skin. In step 610 cooling system 812 is activated so that the skin surrounding the target is cooled to a temperature below that of the target, RF energy is then applied to the skin (step 620). Finally, in step 630, the application of RF energy is terminated.

Claims (11)

1. A system for treating a skin target comprising:
(a) one or more RF electrodes configured to be attached to the skin, so as to apply an RF current to the skin;
(b) a temperature effector configured to create a temperature difference between the target and skin surrounding the target such that the target is at a higher temperature than the surrounding tissue.
2. The system according to claim 1 wherein the temperature effector heats the target.
3. The system according to claim 2 wherein the temperature effector comprises a light source configured to apply optical energy to the target.
4. The system according to claim 1 wherein the temperature effector cools the surrounding tissue.
5. The system according to claim 4 wherein the temperature effector comprises an irrigation unit cooling a fluid and tubes for allowing the cooled fluid to flow near the surrounding skin.
6. A method for treating a skin target comprising:
(a) creating a temperature gradient between the target and skin surrounding the target such that the target is at a higher temperature than the surrounding skin; and
(b) applying RF energy to the skin.
7. The method according to claim 6 wherein the temperature gradient is created by heating the target.
8. The method according to claim 7 wherein the target is heated by applying optical energy to the target.
9. The method according to claim 5 wherein the temperature gradient is created by cooling the skin surrounding the target.
10. The met-hod according to claim 9 wherein the surrounding skin is cooled by contacting the skin with a pre-cooled fluid.
11. The method according to claim 6 wherein the target is selected from the group comprising a vascular lesion, pigmented lesion, hair follicle, wrinkle and acne.
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US7238183B2 (en) 2007-07-03

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