Minimally Invasive Contouring is a new surgical treatment for skin laxity developed by Dr. Greg Ruff, MD in collaboration with Physcient, Inc. Dr. Ruff is a renowned, board-certified plastic surgeon. He was a Professor of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at Duke University and co-founded Quill Technologies where he invented the barbed sutures used for “thread” lifts. Dr. Ruff is currently in private practice in Chapel Hill, NC and has recently joined Physcient as our Chief Medical Officer.

Dr. Ruff has used the Differential Dissector in his practice and in ongoing clinical trials. These clinical data suggest Minimally Invasive Contouring is safe and effective for select patients. We are now expanding use to other plastic surgeons in Raleigh-Durham, NC and Atlanta, GA.

In the weeks after Minimally Invasive Contouring, the skin undergoes a natural healing process. As part of healing, the dermis contracts and reorganizes, tightening the skin. Many patients have also reported firmer skin, suggesting deposition of new collagen.

Minimally Invasive Contouring is different from other treatments for skin laxity. There are many non-surgical treatments for skin laxity that attempt to stimulate contraction by heating the patient’s skin with ultrasound, electricity or lasers. Heating carries risk of thermal trauma, with reported adverse events including nerve damage, muscle damage, scarring and loss of facial volume. In contrast, Minimally Invasive Contouring does not use heat.


Physcient’s surgeons recognized that the Differential Dissector worked safely in direct contact with the dermis. This enabled the development of new procedures to reduce skin laxity through only a 1-cm incision.

The Differential Dissector safely undermines the dermis from the underlying tissues, stimulating natural contraction of the skin as it heals. Clinical data suggest the Differential Dissector induces little or no bleeding and no nerve damage. Recovery is typically rapid. Most patients have only minor bruising, which dissipates within two weeks. Patients have experienced no numbness of the skin and only light pain the evening after the procedure.

Benefits of Minimally Invasive Contouring:

  • Local anesthesia
  • Rapid recovery, typically no patient downtime
  • No post-surgical numbness of treated area
  • No expensive capital equipment
  • Can be used in conjunction with liposuction
Non-surgical Treatments Minimally Invasive Contouring Fully Invasive Surgery
Multiple Treatments One Treatment One Treatment
Heating risks thermal trauma No Heat No Heat
No sutures One small suture Scar from armpit to elbow
Local anesthetic Local anesthetic General anesthetic
Recovery takes days Recovery takes days Recovery takes months
Efficacy controversial Effective Effective
No scar when used properly No visible scar Long, visible scars
Can go sleeveless Can go sleeveless Must wear sleeves