Thermage is a procedure that tightens the skin using a radiofrequency device to make the skin firmer and rejuvenated in appearance. The treatment handles a wide range of skin imperfections that are the result of aging or other environmental factors. Thermage can help smooth out wrinkles, address uneven skin tone, provide a greater defintion to the facial features and improve unsightly bulges on the face. Thermage is a non-surgical treatment that induces the production of collagen. Each time the device touches the skin, the patient feels a brief cooling effect that is followed by a heating sensation. The heat indicates the device is working deep within the skin to increase the production of collagen.
Thermage is normally performed in the office of a doctor, and it starts with a topical gel anesthetic being applied to the treated area. The procedure takes about an hour to perform, and the actual time depends on the size of the area being treated.
The doctor uses a temperature-controlled wand to deliver radiofrequency energy that heats collagen below the surface of the skin while it also cools the outermost layer of the skin. The device sends heat waves that penetrate the skin and cause collagen to contract. In turn, this produces a tightening effect to the skin. The heat is also able to stimulate the production of new collagen and improve the appearance of the skin.
Thermage also produces a cooling sensation with each energy pulse that protects the outer layer of skin and prevents damage to the tissue. The energy pulses last for multiple seconds and the number of pulses vary per patient. The patient will experience a deep heating sensation along with a cool burst of energy that minimizes any discomfort.
Thermage can be combined with other treatments such as liposuction. The Thermage procedure is performed after liposuction to further tighten the treated area. Thermage can also be combined with Fraxel laser treatments. Fraxel resurfaces the outer layers of the skin while Thermage works on the deeper layers of skin to lighten signs of aging and dark patches of skin.
It should be noted that Thermage is not considered a “superficial treatment” like options such as dermabrasion and chemical peels.. These other treatments will only impact the outer layer of the skin while Thermage is able to target the deeper layers of the skin. Through the heating of the deeper layers of the skin, collagen production is able to produce plump and smoother skin that looks younger.
Since it is not a surgical procedure, Thermage requires little to no recovery time after the treatment. Patients might experience mild swelling and redness that will resolve in 24-48 hours. There will not be any discomfort or pain after the procedure so patients can instantly resume regular activities.
The results of Thermage depend on the size of the area being treated, the condition of the skin before the procedure and the current degree of skin laxity. Some patients will see immediate results while others need to wait a few months to see their results.
Noticeable improvements will likely be seen within two to three months and the results can continue for up to six months because the body produces more collagen. The final results will last for two years or longer if the patient takes good care of the skin.
Patients might need more than one session to maintain the results. The interval between sessions can be anywhere from six to nine months to a year or two after the initial treatment.
When it comes to limitations of Thermage, it will not provide the same long-lasting results as a facelift. In addition, the age of a person limits the amount of results that will be gained from the treatment. An older person has less responsive collagen so the results will not be as extensive as a younger patient.
Some of the most common risks of Thermage include:
In general, Thermage is able to help patients gain younger-looking skin by tightening and improving the look of fine lines and wrinkles on the skin. If surgery is not desired by the patient, Thermage might be an ideal solution to rejuvenate the look of the skin.
Patients should perform proper research and make sure their doctor of choice is a board-certified cosmetic doctor who has the necessary experience and training in performing Thermage treatments. The doctor can discuss the type of results the patient desires to make sure Thermage is the right choice to achieve the desired results. The doctor can also set realistic expectations so the patient will not be disappointed by the final results.