October 2021 Issue
By Tracy Blusewicz, M.D., FACOG
Not often does a name fit a purpose as well as one does in this case. EmpowerRF is a new device offered by InMode that actually empowers women. Its development, as well as the clinical studies, have all taken place right here in Bluffton at Advanced Women’s Care. EmpowerRF is a new feminine wellness treatment option that helps restore women’s lost confidence, lost sensuality and intimacy, and works to resolve painful consequences of the aging process, all while addressing urinary leakage. Does help like this actually exist? The answer is yes; now it does!
EmpowerRF started as a thought, an idea between like minds. Could there be a device that helped women with the problems brought on by the challenges of life, childbirth, gravity and menopause? At a conference in Dallas, this spark was lit and a revolutionary, noninvasive surgical device was created.
In the beginning, we worked on prototypes, being encouraged by each early outcome. We excitedly pressed forward, knowing this device was special. At Advanced Women’s Care, we recruited women of various ages with multiple types of feminine wellness complaints to participate in sponsored studies with EmpowerRF. One study turned into two, which led to three, as the positive results built. Many late nights and weekends were devoted to the development of EmpowerRF. Our results paved the way for the release of the EmpowerRF platform this past August, and we are one of the first practices in the country to offer this technology.
EmpowerRF is a noninvasive, non hormonal, in-office treatment, utilizing radio frequency (a.k.a. RF). It is the technical advancement of the Votiva platform, of which we are one of the leading providers in the country. The treatments of EmpowerRF require no general anesthesia, only locally placed numbing gel. This technology has long been used on the face for tackling wrinkles and dry sagging skin, like the jowls and areas around the mouth and eyes. The idea was to apply this technology to the vagina and vulva, which is the skin around the outside of the vagina. We found it helped resolve painful intercourse due to dryness, laxity due to childbirth, and leaking with urinary incontinence. Then, our study results proved it does! Plus, we found that EmpowerRF also helps with overactive bladder symptoms, or urge incontinence, which previously had been a tough problem to relieve for women.
The EmpowerRF device has multiple modalities to customize the treatment for the individual. Whether you are a new mom who delivered a large baby and now struggles with leaking while working out, or the perimenopausal woman that sex does not feel quite the same to, or that 65-year-old trying to have intimacy without pain due to extreme dryness, there are no age limits for these treatments. EmpowerRF also offers relief for lichen sclerosis and chronic irritation, which can go undiagnosed, or untreated, for many painful years. EmpowerRF gives women, who can’t use hormones due to cancers, have a history of blood clots, or choose not to use hormone therapy, an option for treatment. Many have welcomed this hormone-free option and resumed a satisfying and pain free sex life they thought was lost with their cancer diagnosis.
EmpowerRF offers many options to choose from, including the FormaV (from the Votiva platform), the new MorpheusV, VTone, Aviva and Abdominal Tone.
FormaV is radio frequency which is applied inside and outside the vagina. It feels like a hot stone massage. Studies have shown that bipolar radio frequency resolved vaginal dryness and stress urinary incontinence better than any previous laser treatments.
MorpheusV expanded the treatment to include micro-needling of the vaginal canal with RF. This builds collagen support in the vaginal tissue to relieve stress urinary incontinence—no more leaking with laughing, jumping, dancing, or exercising. Our patients were even able to trampoline and jump rope without leaking.
The huge finding of our studies were Empower RF also helped the symptoms of overactive bladder or urge incontinence. Our patients were excited to be able to sleep through the night instead of getting up two to four times to urinate. One even joked that she did not know what to do with all her extra sleep.
The regimen usually consists of three treatments spaced one month apart. Due to continued aging, maintenance is needed with a single annual treatment. Treatments take about an hour, depending on your individual needs, and have little to no downtime. This is not invasive surgery; no meshes or slings are used. You can return to working out the next day, and your normal routine that same day. You will need to skip soaking in the bathtub or hot tub for a few days. The return to intimacy must also wait for 48-72 hours.
There is an option for a supersized Kegel experience. The VTone portion of EmpowerRF works on toning the pelvic floor also without numbing medicine or down time! It is like going to the gym for your pelvis, and it is FDA approved for stress urinary incontinence and vaginal laxity. (It does not tackle vaginal dryness.) You can add the abdominal tone to tighten abdominal muscles for extra support. Our study from last year revealed that by tightening the rectus abdominis muscles, you not only looked and felt better, there was also better control of urinary function.
The Aviva modality offers scarless labiaplasty. For women who are bothered by redundant labia, Aviva is a perfect way to avoid the operating room and scars. Ladies no longer have to worry about feeling uncomfortable in their skinny jeans, yoga pants, or bathing suits and don’t have to worry about the pain involved with excessive labia and intimacy. Aviva can also tighten the exterior appearance for an improved cosmetic affect.
I have been so excited to spread the word about EmpowerRF! It has been over a year in the making right here in my office. I have worked hard to make this option available for women everywhere and have become a Key Opinion Leader on this subject. I have and will continue to train doctors from all over the country and even other countries. EmpowerRF has been embraced by the many urologists and urogynecologists who have come through my office for training, and we are not stopping there!
Our study results are on their way to being published, and the momentum keeps building. Traveling and speaking across the country on EmpowerRF, plus my experience with our local patients, reminds me how important it is to spread the word so women can finally get relief!
EmpowerRF is truly a game changer in this field. Women don’t have to leak anymore, as a patient said to me, “any woman who has had a baby should get this.” Women can run without worrying about their next bathroom stop, can play golf or tennis without worrying about embarrassing leakage, and women don’t have to be in pain any longer from dryness, lichen sclerosis, chronic UTIs or vaginal infections. This treatment also works on optimizing vaginal pH, putting an end to these chronic infections.
As a menopausal mother of three, who after getting my own EmpowerRF treatment, I no longer have to deal with the hassles of leaking, laxity, or dryness. I experienced the benefits first hand! I finally have a noninvasive option to offer to patients, and I am so glad to have used it on myself! To loop back to the name and the feelings brought on by EmpowerRF, I can truly say I feel “empowered” to be the first provider in the US to launch this revolutionary feminine wellness treatment option.
If you would like to learn if EmpowerRF by Inmode is an option for you, don’t hesitate to ask Dr. Katherine Coley or myself at your next visit. You now have more options than ever; let’s explore them together.
Tracy Blusewicz, M.D., F.A.C.O.G. has a compassionate, genuine bedside manner that has earned her the trust of many women for their health care needs. She can be contacted at Advanced Women’s Care of the Lowcountry | The Medical Spa 843-341-9700; www.awclc.com