Radial pulse technology (RPT) has been used for many years in the treatment of soft tissue injuries such as tendinitis, fasciitis, and panniculitis. During the treatment of women’s soft tissue injuries of the upper leg, improvement in the appearance of cellulite was a pleasant side effect, and thus RPT began its broad use in the field of aesthetic medicine. In addition to cellulite, RPT has been used more recently to treat injuries, side effects, and complications after aesthetic procedures such as noninvasive lipolysis, surgical liposuction, capsular contractures, and abdominoplasty. For these conditions and their side effects, reports show quicker, easier recovery and even improved outcome.
Zimmer MedizinSysteme, a 50-year-old, German-based company, makes several different versions of RPT. Zimmer’s Soft Shot Technology in their RPT devices provides a remarkably comfortable patient experience. The Z Wave is best suited for use in aesthetics.
Z Wave disperses high-energy acoustic waves radially and up to 4-cm deep into fat and connective tissues. RPT helps relax and lengthen septae and lessen fat cell size by pushing liquified fat through the cell membrane toward lymphatic and vascular removal from the area. These sound waves are comfortable yet strong enough to trigger a healing response, resulting in angiogenesis and collagen synthesis. Ultrasound images of treated areas show smaller fat cells, less intracellular fluid, and thickened connective tissues for a smoother skin surface. RPT is noninvasive, painless, with no downtime or consumables, and can be operated by any back-office staff. A series of Z Wave treatments for cellulite typically entails ten 30-minute treatments over a 3- to 4-week period.
According to Anna Buinewicz, MD, of Doylestown, PA, cellulite is difficult to address because of its multifactorial nature and the resignation women often feel about the condition. “About 25% of our patients are seeking improvement of the appearance of cellulite,” said Dr Buinewicz. “Z Wave is effective because it attacks the problem of cellulite from a variety of angles. In addition to improving microcirculation and lymphatic drainage, which are key aspects of cellulite, shockwave therapy disrupts the underlying fibrous septal network, restoring elasticity of the fibrous bands and reducing the lumpy appearance.”1
Further, Dr Buinewicz added, “Patient satisfaction exceeds 75%. For cellulite, this is quite impressive, especially for a noninvasive therapy that is so difficult to otherwise effectively treat.”
Ross Kaplan, MD, of Camarillo, CA, stated, “It’s really the first cellulite reduction system that has delivered consistent results in our hands. More importantly, the patients are extremely satisfied and in addition to repeating treatments, they are telling their friends about it….the Z Wave literally paid for itself in its first months.”2
Marc Salzman, MD, of Louisville, KY, noted that the noninvasive Z Wave means the patient leaves with no effect on their day-to-day life due to no side effects or required recovery.
Fee-for-service procedures have become increasingly attractive in dermatology. While demand for these procedures, including injectable neurotoxins and fillers, is high, they require training and are most often performed by a physician. Alternatively, nearly 80% of women have cellulite in their lifetime, making cellulite reduction a great noninvasive option. Z Wave is comparably easy to learn, can be performed by support staff, and is extremely safe and painless. Adding this kind of treatment as a first venture into aesthetics may be the least disruptive change in a medical dermatology office.
In addition, the initial investment for a Z Wave is at a fraction of most systems purchased for aesthetics. At under $30,000, or a lease payment of about $600 per month, return on investment is often rapid. Furthermore, this technology does not require the purchase of any disposables, keeping ongoing costs lower than other treatments.
1. Buinewicz A. Treating capsular contracture and cellulite with Z Wave. Zimmer MedizinSystems White Paper Series - Volume 3. January 2020. Accessed May 20, 2020. https://www.buinewiczplasticsurgery.com/wp-content/uploads/Anna-Buinewicz-MD-Z-Wave-for-Capsular-Contracture-and-Cellulite-1-2020.pdf
2. What experts say. Zimmer Aesthetic Division. Accessed May 20, 2020. https://www.clarionmedical.com/ClarionMedical/media/ZWave-Resources/Testimonial-Brochure-WEB-Copy.pdf