In a recent study1, Thailand-based researchers and dermatologists reported on the efficacy and safety of a TriPollar radiofrequency (RF) device for the treatment of striae in skin phototypes IV–V.

In this "pilot study," 17 females with striae received 6 weekly treatments with a TriPollar RF device, the researchers write. The participants were evaluated using standardized photographs and a UVA-light video camera at baseline, and at 1 and 6 weeks after the final treatment. Side effects of treatment were recorded at every session.

At 1 week after the final treatment, 38.2% and 11.8% of the subjects were assessed to have 25% to 50% and 51% to 75% improvement of their striae, respectively. Compared with the 1-week follow-up, at the 6-week follow-up a higher percentage of the subjects were rated to have improvement of their striae. There were no significant differences in the striae surface smoothness at the 1- (p = 0.907) and 6-week (p = 0.057) follow-ups, compared with that of baseline. Twelve percent (2/17), 23% (4/17), and 65% (11/17) of the study subjects rated their satisfaction of the overall improvement as slightly satisfied, satisfied, and very satisfied, respectively. No adverse effect was reported.

The study concludes, "TriPollar RF appears to be a promising alternative for the treatment of striae distensae."

However, the authors state upfront that, as yet, no study has reported whether RF treatment alone provides clinical benefit to the treatment of striae distensae.

The TriPollar radiofrequency (RF) device, a novel RF system, is designed to deliver focused RF current into the skin via three electrodes, thus generating heat through resistance in both the dermal and subcutaneous layers. One of the three electrodes acts as a positive pole while the other two act as negative poles.

A further insight into the TriPollar technology: The current flowing through the common, positive pole is twice that which flows through each of the negative poles. To avoid overheating this common pole and the tissue in contact with this pole, a sequence of electrical modulation is applied so that each electrode,
in turn, acts as the common pole.

1. Manuskiatti W et al. Treatment of striae distensae with a TriPollar radiofrequency device: A pilot study. Department of Dermatology, Faculty of Medicine Siriraj Hospital, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand. Journ Derm Treatment; April 2009. Accessed August 18, 2009.

[Source: same as above]