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Influence of layered skin structure on the distribution of radiofrequency currents in dermis and subcutaneous fat
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The layered structure of skin with multiple interfaces separating the skin layers having very different electrical characteristics significantly modifies the spatial distribution of radiofrequency (RF) current in the skin compared to that in a homogeneous medium. In this study we present the analytical solutions of Laplace’s equation describing the current densities for a two-layer skin model with homogeneous single layers for the monopolar and bipolar configurations of RF electrodes. Then we analyze analytically and numerically the optimal distances between the RF electrodes providing the maximal current concentration in a given depth or in a given depths’ interval under the skin surface. It is demonstrated that two main parameters which significantly define the optimization condition are the thickness of the dermis and the reflection coefficient of the current at the dermis/subcutis interface. According to this model, under physiological conditions, the surface under RF electrode collecting 50% of the current entering subcutis is 184 times larger than in homogeneous medium. Such redistribution of RF current will significantly reduce the local density of the current entering the fat tissue reducing the effect of its selective heating.
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