The Thermage® Procedure
The Thermage® procedure can tighten and tone facial skin, renew facial contours, and produce healthier, more abundant collagen to improve skin structure. Thermage® uses a monopolar capacitive radiofrequency (CRF) device called ThermaCool® to stimulate the deeper layers of the skin (the dermis and the deeper subcutaneous layer) while cooling and soothing the outer layer (the epidermis). Read on to learn more about how Thermage® can give you a younger appearance without surgery.
How the Thermage® ThermaCool® System Works
As the collagen in the dermis and the subcutaneous layer begin to stretch and sag, the skin loses some of its firmness and naturally smooth texture. The Thermage® procedure targets these collagen-containing layers. The ThermaCool® system utilizes a specialized treatment tip called the ThermaTip™, which delivers the CRF energy to the skin in controlled amounts. The ThermaTip™ uniformly heats the treatment area, stimulating collagen growth by essentially tricking the body into thinking it has suffered an injury and therefore needs to regrow collagen to restore the skin’s structure.
What Is Thermage® Treatment Like?
In general, the higher the setting used during the Thermage® procedure, the more impressive the final results; however, there will also be an increased risk of discomfort. If you are undergoing a more rigorous Thermage® treatment, your doctor may have you take pain medication before beginning. The preparation for each treatment will vary depending on the individual Thermage® candidate.
Patients report a brief, deep heating sensation with every touch of the ThermaTip™ device. The outer layer of skin (the dermis) is cooled with a spray so that the visible layers of skin are not damaged. Each touch of the ThermaTip™ covers approximately one-half to three-quarters of a square inch, and each pulse lasts between two and seven seconds.
How Long Does Treatment Last?
In general, the actual treatment lasts less than an hour, though preparation and possible administration of anesthesia will add to this time. On the part of the patient, Thermage® procedures require no preparation beyond cleaning the face and removing all makeup.
Thermage® treatment is non-invasive, which means that recovery is relatively quick and simple. This is the biggest advantage of Thermage® as compared to surgical facelift procedures. Thermage® results tend to manifest over the course of a few months following treatment, although the skin will immediately feel tighter and firmer than it did before the treatment.
What to Expect Following Thermage® Treatment
Immediately following the Thermage® procedure, results will be subtle, but they should be visible. The skin should be tighter and firmer, with better elasticity and a more youthful overall appearance.
Side effects from Thermage® are rare and generally minor, but in some cases patients may experience mild redness, bumps, and blisters in the recently treated areas. These symptoms usually disappear on their own in a few days, though they may last for a week or more. In extremely rare cases (less than 0.08 percent of those treated), a longer-lasting complication described as a “surface irregularity” has also been reported.
Additional Thermage® Treatment Sessions
One of the most attractive aspects of Thermage® treatment is that results can be achieved in only one treatment session. This is a particular advantage over treatments such as laser skin tightening. Most laser treatments require as many as 10 or more treatment sessions in order to be fully successful. Thermage® is more convenient for patients, for whom scheduling multiple appointments can be problematic. Additionally, because less work is involved, Thermage® treatment is generally much more cost effective than laser treatments.
Thermage® results vary according to the condition of the patient’s skin and especially the collagen fiber network. Thermage® generally improves the appearance of each patient’s skin to some extent, but patients with healthier skin tend to experience more dramatic results.
Some Thermage® results should be visible almost immediately after treatment, but one thing that makes Thermage® truly unique is the fact that the patient’s appearance will actually improve over the months following treatment. This is because Thermage® stimulates the skin to grow new collagen of its own in addition to stimulating the existing fibers. Thermage® uses the body’s natural processes to improve a patient’s appearance rather than relying on surgical techniques or artificial materials.
Search Skin Care Specialists in Your Area
For further information about the Thermage® procedure, contact a cosmetic dermatologist in your area. Only by discussing your goals and medical history with a qualified practitioner can you accurately determine whether Thermage® treatment is right for you.