A method and apparatus for reshaping cartilage using radiofrequency heating. The cartilage temperature is raised sufficiently for stress relaxation to occur in the cartilage, but low enough so that significant denaturation of the cartilage does not occur. The RF electrodes may be designed to also function as molds, preses, clamps, or mandrills to deform the cartilage tissue. Changes in various properties of the cartilage associated with stress relaxation in the cartilage may be measured in order to provide the control signal to provide effective reshaping without denaturation.
STATEMENT OF GOVERNMENT INTEREST
The United States Government has rights in this invention pursuant to contracts between the University of California, and the Department of Energy (95-3800459); the Office of Naval Research (N00014-94-0874); and the National Institutes of Health (1 K08 DC 00170-01, AR-43419, RR-01192, and HL-59472).