Posted January 31, 2024 in Practice Development
Written by Aesthetics Biomedical® Inc.
As a healthcare professional or aesthetic practitioner, it is crucial to manage patient expectations and establish realistic goals when offering a Vivace® or Vivace Ultra™ Radiofrequency Microneedling treatment. This will not only help mitigate patient expectations but also set you apart from other practitioners by helping patients fully understand the importance of each part of the treatment process from start to finish.
Comprehensive Consultation: The foundation of managing patient expectations begins with a thorough consultation. Take the time to understand the patient’s goals, concerns, and medical history. Discuss their expectations openly and be prepared to provide expert guidance on whether radiofrequency microneedling is an appropriate choice for them. This is also the time to uncover any potential medical history factors that could alter future treatment plans, such as:
- Bee-sting allergy.
- Psychological reactions to needles or heat in the skin.
- Previous non-surgical or surgical treatments in the same area and their satisfaction level with those results.
- Daily life and social history.
- Ethnic background and awareness of their bloodline’s ethnicities.
Educate Your Patients: Ensure that your patients have a clear understanding of what radiofrequency microneedling can and cannot achieve. Explain the science behind the procedure, emphasizing that it stimulates collagen production and can improve certain facial aesthetic concerns. Highlight that it is not a one-time miracle treatment and will require a commitment to multiple sessions for optimal results. Most patients with moderate facial aesthetic concerns require a minimum of 4-6 treatments or more if the concerns are more visibly apparent. Setting a higher treatment number goal but stating that the patient can opt to start with a smaller number and then assess after the initial set can help the patient feel more comfortable continuing treatments if they haven’t reached their optimal goal after the initial treatment set is completed. If they are satisfied with their results after the initial treatments, you then have a higher rapport with the patient to encourage them to maintain their achieved results.
Realistic Outcome Discussion: Set realistic goals with your patients based on their individual skin type, age, and desired improvements. Explain that results may vary, and the degree of improvement depends on various factors. Provide before and after photos of previous patients to give them a visual reference. Also, explain the value of other skincare treatments to prepare the skin beforehand and that using medical-grade skincare products daily will optimize their results and help the patient see this as a personal investment where they share responsibility for the results.
Treatment Plan: Create a customized treatment plan that outlines the number of sessions required, the expected intervals between treatments, and the estimated downtime. Transparency about the potential discomfort and recovery period is essential for managing patient expectations. Patients who are pre or post-menopausal will take longer to heal, and the stimulation of fibroblasts and replication starts at a minimized level, so increasing the treatment spacing by 1-2 weeks (5 weeks in between for pre-menopausal patients and 6 weeks in between treatments for post-menopausal patients) between each treatment may help maximize results. Also, have a candid conversation and understand individual pain tolerance while presenting options such as patient-administered laughing gas, the addition of cryotherapy, or additional over-the-counter pain relief prior to treatment to give patients confidence that, as a healthcare provider, you can mitigate pain if they need it.
Discuss Potential Risks: Make sure your patients are aware of potential side effects and risks associated with radiofrequency microneedling, such as redness, swelling, and temporary discomfort. Discuss how these can be managed and reassure them that adverse events are rare when the procedure is performed by a skilled professional. If patients have a higher Fitzpatrick Skin Type, explain the importance of pre-treatment to decrease the risk of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) or hypopigmentation.
Highlight Maintenance: Emphasize the importance of maintenance treatments to sustain the results. Let your patients know that Vivace®/Vivace Ultra™ radiofrequency microneedling is not a permanent solution, and periodic touch-up sessions may be necessary. We can turn back the clock, but the clock is still ticking, and gravity will always work harder than we do, so continual management to stay at the forefront of their age group will be imperative. Sometimes, that means one treatment every few months to six months. At other times, it means a series every year.
Manage Unrealistic Expectations: In some cases, patients may have unrealistic expectations despite your best efforts to educate them. It’s crucial to be honest and upfront about what the procedure can achieve realistically. If necessary, advise alternative treatments or set more attainable goals. It is much easier to manage unrealistic expectations before starting a treatment series than it is at the moment you deliver your first Vivace®/Vivace Ultra™ treatment pulse. Mediocre as well as great before & after photos are important to set realistic expectations, and when patients ask for a percentage improvement (and they will), it’s better to state a percentage at least 20% less than where you believe you can deliver their results to gauge their expectations.
Aftercare and Support: Provide clear post-treatment instructions and encourage patients to reach out with any concerns or questions. Building a supportive patient-practitioner relationship is vital for their overall satisfaction and peace of mind.
Document Progress: Document the patient’s progress throughout their treatment journey, including photographs and notes on their skin’s response to the Vivace®/Vivace Ultra™ treatment. This not only helps manage expectations but also allows for adjustments to the treatment plan as needed. It takes 6 weeks for fibroblasts to start producing collagen, 3 months for 90% of that treatment result to be seen, and 6 months for 100% of results from that treatment. It is best to evaluate results at 3 months after their last treatment in a treatment series and then explain that they will continue to enjoy improvements for another 3 months after the follow-up.
Managing patient expectations and setting realistic goals with Vivace®/Vivace Ultra™ Radiofrequency Microneedling is essential for patient satisfaction and ethical practice. By prioritizing open communication, education, and personalized treatment plans, you can ensure that your patients have a positive experience and achieve the best possible results from this innovative cosmetic procedure. Remember that every patient is unique, and a tailored approach is key to success in aesthetic medicine.