Laser, radio frequency & ultrasound – Now in the current JÄC

The current issue of our journal focuses primarily on the topic of “Energy-based devices”
Thanks to the guest editor, Dr. Gerd Kautz, and to the authors Prof. Gerber, Dr. Gauglitz, Dr. Kilian and Dr. Zipprich for sharing their knowledge with us. In his book “Energy for the skin” (Springer-Verlag 2019), Dr. Kautz, with the support of numerous renowned authors, has already provided a very comprehensive, up-to-date overview of all aspects of the use of lasers and other energy-based devices. I am very grateful that we were allowed to use individual articles from this book.

Energy-based devices help to carry out procedures on the body by applying energy in various forms. The procedures described here primarily involve lasers but also other device applications, such as radio frequency, which can be used to treat the skin and subcutaneous tissue.

Since the first applications of CO2 lasers in aesthetics around 30 years ago, we have seen a rapid development of many different lasers. With very different wavelengths, it is now possible to use laser and IPL devices to carry out targeted corrections of pigmentation disorders, vascular changes and changes in skin texture, both aesthetically and perhaps to an even greater extent curatively. The other energy-based devices are devices that use ultrasound, radio frequency, pure heat or cold to achieve a wide variety of effects, primarily for tissue tightening or shaping.

While the treatment options are becoming more extensive and the choice of devices available seems to be increasingly confusing, we can also observe a trend that should give cause for concern. Non-medical practitioners are also getting hold of such devices and offering the supposedly simple treatments.

Against this background, I am grateful to the authors for their description of some very important applications, but above all the possible complications. This is an impressive demonstration of how demanding laser applications are, what sophisticated knowledge of the technical and physical principles of the treatments is required and how important it is that only well-trained users apply these methods and that the devices should not fall into the hands of non-medical professionals. When reading the articles in this journal, any responsible colleague will realize how much knowledge is required to perform the techniques effectively and safely and what respect the experienced users therefore deserve.

Against this background, it is also understandable that the amendment to the Radiation Protection Ordinance regulates the use of all devices that work with energy waves of different frequencies.

However, it is also important for me to point out a point that is not so much about purely medical issues, but about our healthcare policy:

Even though lasers are successfully used for many aesthetic purposes, their main area of application is probably in curative medicine. It is really annoying that the devices can only be used economically for privately insured patients. Even though this problem exists in many areas of our healthcare system, it is still important to point it out.

I hope you enjoy reading this journal and gain as many valuable new insights as possible.
Click here for the Journal for Aesthetic Surgery


Dr. Dr. Frank Muggenthaler
Editor of the JÄC and President of the GÄCD