Coblation with Saline and Radio Frequency Induced Plasma: Rhinophyma Miracle

Written by on May 16, 2012 in in the news, Rhinophyma with 27 Comments

The Daily Mail continues to show itself as the premier newspaper for rosacea related news stories.

Typically rhinophyma surgery is risky and can lead to complicates with bleeding and scarring.

This last weekend the paper has a great article highlighting a new corrective surgical treatment for rhinophyma.

The new technique highlighted by The Daily Mail is called Coblation.

What is Coblation?

Coblation uses a wand that utilises a tip with a focused `beam of energy’.

The tip uses radio frequency energy to excite (i.e. vibrate) the salt molecules in a saline solution.

The amount of energy focused in the plasma tip is enough to excise and even dissolve skin. Thus the wand becomes a bit like a three dimensional scalpel, allowing the surgeon to reshape the nose tissue.

The temperature of the wand is relatively low compared to other techniques which helps with controlling the resulting bleeding as well as reducing any burn related scarring.

How salt-blasting surgery cured my disfiguring condition called ‘drinker’s red nose’


PUBLISHED: 21:07 GMT, 12 May 2012 | UPDATED: 22:23 GMT, 12 May 2012

A team of British surgeons reported major improvements in patients’ appearance, with the size of noses shrinking by a third or more, and disappearance of the red colouring.

One of the first patients to have the procedure, known as coblation, is John Clough, 64, who developed rhinophyma about 15 years ago. The semi-retired marketing consultant says having the treatment has changed his life.

John, who lives in Blackburn, Lancashire, with his partner Angela, 58, an accountant, eventually was referred to surgeon Michael Timms at The Royal Blackburn Hospital, who was about to begin trialling the coblation treatment.

‘They jokingly described it as being like sandblasting with salt, and warned me that I wouldn’t want to go out for a few weeks afterwards because it would  look bad,’ says John.

During the procedure the patient  is put under general anaesthetic. A hand-held coblation ‘wand’ emits a slow stream of saline solution – sterilised salt water – from the end that comes into contact with the nose.

At the same time, it emits waves of radiofrequency energy to excite the molecules in the solution which ‘sands’ down the tissue. It also uses a low  heat to cauterise (clot) any bleeding blood vessels.

John says: ‘I had a general anaesthetic and the whole thing took about  20 minutes. It was day surgery – I went home in the late afternoon, with a cream that had be applied everyday.

‘It looked pretty awful. Essentially, I’d had hundreds of layers of skin filed away leaving a raw wound, which scabbed over. But after the first day  I didn’t need painkillers and it looked far worse than it felt.

‘I’d say my nose has reduced by about one third in size, back to what it was when I was younger. It is much smoother, and has lost the red colouring. In fact, it is slightly paler than my other skin now. It’s an absolutely brilliant result.’

Address for Correspondence

The authors of the paper list the following contact details: Ms Alexandra Roper, Westlands, 119 New Hall Lane, Heaton, Bolton BL1 5HQ, UK E-mail:

Related Articles

Read more about: in the news, Rhinophyma

About the Author

About the Author: David Pascoe started the Rosacea Support Group in October 1998. .

Follow Rosacea Support

Subscribe via RSS Feed

27 Reader Comments

  1. Steve says:

    what a life change for this gentleman!! Is there anyone in the states doing the procedure? I have some like issues and would like to get them corrected before it gets too serious.

  2. It seems that coblation is a tool more common to ENT Surgeons, so perhaps it might be possible to find a doctor who has had experience in nasal reshaping by starting there.

    If anyone finds a surgeon do please let us all know.


  3. DukeCity says:

    Amazing! THX

  4. mario says:

    i have very very bad rosacea, i need help please,,,, 911 help, my nose looks so bad and ugly… please help me, thank you, this is my email,

  5. MsLux says:

    Alexandra Roper is the contact for this trial and published research. Her contact details are on the link below. Her clinical team at the Department of Otolaryngology, Royal Blackburn Infirmary, in the UK may be aware of colleagues working with coblation for dermatology ENT issues. It would be interesting to hear if this procedure could be used as a preventative and restorative intervention for early stage rhinophyma.

  6. RR says:

    Is there no further news on this topic?

  7. MsLux says:

    Contact details for surgeon, hospital and trial in post above yours.

  8. D K says:

    I have a bulbous nose and where in the UK can i get laser treatment for it? . I live in the west country.

  9. MsLux says:

    Contact the folks who have conducted the study and are performing this procedure. I have posted the details above.

  10. Paul H says:

    Hi all, I came across this article while looking for links between Rosacea and the nose. When I was about 16 I had a nose injury while playing basketball. I went to the doctors and they told me nothing was wrong. 6 years later I was having surgery to cut down the cartilage in my nose as it had kept growning after it had ripped of the bone at the top of my nose. After the operation it ‘was never the same .About two years after the operation my face started to burn and flush. It has been doing that for ten years now. Never has it progressed into any other stages of rosacea and when I first went to a dermatologist he told me I didn’t have rosacea. My nose has developed a large bump at the top and my skin turns very red when I touch it. There is also a fluid build up around this area that makes quite a noise when pressed. When I try and exercise my face goes unaturally red. I know I shouldn’t probably do it but sometimes when I feel my face was being sensative around the cheeks I would put salt up my nose with a swab and that would calm it down. A lot of clear fluid would come out aswell. I have all the same triggers as a rosacean but these days I can drink alcohol with out too many problems. Depends on the enviroment I guess. Sorry for the long stiry but I just thought I would share. My life has been wasted in the last ten years suffering with this, I sympathasize with anyone going through this condition. The lack of understanding from doctors is so dishearting. Paul

  11. Andy says:


    Did anyone manage to contact Alexandra Roper?

    If so what did she say?

    I am desperate to get coblation treatment for my rhinophyma.

    Many thanks

  12. Lou says:

    I had a similar treatment done at Zenith in Nottinham. I’m very early stage rhinophyma but one side of my nose was considerably bigger than the other and it has destroyed my self confidence. I was hoping if I caught it early enough it could be stopped in its tracks. I had real problems finding anyone who would treat me. Dr mani is no rhinophyma expert but lasers are his area of expertise. The outcome was some improvement initially, no scarring because I had recell treatment(spray on skin) My case is a bit unusual as female, no histrory of rosacea and no problem with spots/pustules. Just a horribly flushing red swollen nose that continues to grow with every flush/swelling. Recently visited Dr Crouch in Swindon (people travel from overseas to see him) with view to laser for treating the redness. But as this isnt permanent redness he could not help. He has advised I see Mr Max Mumison at Swansea Laser clinic Morriston hospital regearding laser for rhinophyma. I am a few thousand pounds down and the condition is getting worse. So Dr Timms if you are reading this please get in touch you might be my only hope after seeing the fantastic job you did on Mr Clough

  13. Dr Michael Timms says:

    I work in Saudi Arabia these days, but visit clinics in Dubai and Bahrain.
    If anyone seriously wants Coblation treatment and the means to get there, get in touch. email
    Dr Michael S Timms FRCS Eng, FRCS Edin.

  14. Dr Michael Timms says:

    I keep getting enquiries about Coblation for rhinophyma and can’t help much unless people have their own jet to get to the Middle East!
    American doctors keep telling me they are “ahead on everything” so people in US should contact Arthrocare, the manufacturers. Same for people in UK. Good luck.
    Michael Timms

    • Does Arthrocare manufacture the equipment for the procedure? Thanks so much for the reply! Will try to contact the local branch of Arthrocare and see if they can help.

  15. I have quite extensive experience in the treatment of Rhinophyma using the Carbon Dioxide laser. I tend to do this under local anaesthesia and it takes around 45mins. The clinic that does this is the Bedford Laser Clinic at Bedford Hospital and it was one of the first NHS laser centres in the country (over 20 yrs experience).
    I have had rhinophyma patients treated on the NHS but obtaining the funding can be very difficult, if funding requests are unsuccessful then we do offer a private service.

    If you would like any further information on the laser treatment of rhinophyma or rosacea, please feel free to contact me.

    Mr Frank Conroy MBChB MRCS FRCS(Plast)
    Consultant Plastic Surgeon

  16. Jimmy says:

    As someone who was in a doctor’s office on day one of their rhinophyma, I avoided a severe case with antibiotics. However my skin is a little ruddy and my nose permanently inflamed. I wonder if this treatment is suitable for mild rhinophyma and am most intrigued by the loss of redness. Is this due to cauterisation? Is it a permanent fix for rosacea of the nose?

  17. David says:

    I recently (May) had rhinophyma treatment (privately) using coblation by Mr. Antonio Belloso ( at the BMI Beardwood hospital in Blackburn.

    • Anthony Duffy says:

      Could you give an indication of the cost. Although I live in Scotland my partners daughter lives in Darwen just outside Blackburn so accommodation is not a problem.

      • David says:

        c£3500 and worth every penny.

        • David says:

          Can I add that the treatment was under general anaesthetic.
          I felt fine after the op. and went home the same day.

          it took 5-6 weeks to heal and the dressings needed to be changed 3 time a week. I got the local district nurse/clinic to do this.

          If you can afford the treatment please have it, I wish I had done so years ago,

          • Jim says:

            Did the redness disappear as well and has it stayed that way? I also stay in Scotland so were follow up consultations needed and how many as I would need to plan accommodation. Did Dr Belloso work with Dr Timms?

  18. David says:

    No redness after the healing. In fact the new skin is smoother than a baby’s bum without any large pores. The only thing to watch out for is scar tissue for which I use bio-oil every day. I went back for a consultation 8 weeks after the operation, just so that Mr Belloso could “sign off” the procedure.

    In my case there was no need for further intervention other than to change the dressing every 3-4 days until the exudation ceased ( which in reality I could have done myself ) and to check that there weren’t any problems – all quite straight forward really.
    Once it had been done, the only thing required was patience. It does take 5-6 weeks to heal (you can’t speed it up) and for me the result was fantastic and well worth it.

    In my case there is no ‘down side’ to this.
    Also, the reaction from the people I know and meet is 100% positive.

  19. Jim says:

    Thanks for taking time to reply with information . Will contact Mr Belloso for consultation. Glad your happy with result of op.

Leave your comment here




Discover more from Rosacea Support Group

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading

Subscribe to Rosacea News

Enter your email address to receive the latest news about rosacea in your inbox.