Thermage: A Miracle of Radio Waves
It is estimated that more than 100,000 people rush to cosmetic surgeons to undergo the common procedure of having their face lifted. In the United States, this is one of the most popular cosmetic procedures for both females and males. The reason facelifts are so popular is because the technique wipes years away from the appearance of the face. The results amount to a thoroughly younger look in the skin. But, this is not always the way individuals wish to go especially those who are afraid of having surgery.
Facelifts require incisions that are made in the skin around the scalp, forehead and around the ears. Not only does this approach offer the threat of infection and pain, but it also takes time from the things you love to do or have to accomplish. Although the procedure lasts about 2-4 hours, the aftermath takes much longer to bear. Sometimes people recuperate for about a month or so, taking time off from work and social activities to recover from their surgical facelift.
So, what are people to do when they wish to have a more youthful facial appearance but do not want to have surgery? A current cosmetic approach toward achieving facial improvements is here and it is called Thermage.
How Thermage Treatments Work: What to Expect
As the skin ages, the collagen that gives the face its structure and youthful elasticity starts to deteriorate. This is why unsightly wrinkles and fine lines start to form in the skin. Thermage works to reenergize the skin and promote the gradual increase in newly developed collagen. Through this procedure, wrinkles are temporarily decreased and the face begins to adhere to its former, youthful structure.
When undergoing a Thermage treatment, you will become rather acquainted with a tool called ThermaCool, which is used to tighten the skin, as well as give your face that extra lift. ThermaCool device uses what is called the ThermaTip, which produces the Radiofrequency [RF] energy needed to penetrate the skin. Dr. White and Toni Ryan, nurse practicioner control how much RF energy enters the skin by weighing your personal comfort with how to provide the best results. The treatment will be conducted in our state of the art office setting.
As the ThermaTip makes contact with the skin, a high level of heat penetrates the deeper layers of collagen. Although a hefty amount of heat is used to encourage collagen growth, there is also a cooling effect that covers the outer layers. This effect also offers protection. As time passes [3-6 months], the skin will continue to tighten and after awhile, a more healthy, smoother-looking appearance is achieved.
Good news for health and safety-conscious consumers – the ThermaCool device is approved by the FDA for the effective non-invasive treatment for wrinkles and beyond.
The Difference Between Thermage and Surgical Facelifts
Thermage is NOT a Facelift. Thermage is a temporary, quick, easy and convenient technique that does not cut into the skin. There is also no downtime involved with the Thermage procedure. This means no lost wages from taking time off from work. Although the results of Thermage bring about healthier, younger skin, they do not last as long as a surgical facelift. But, this is a small price to pay for not cutting into your skin. Typical facelifts can last anywhere from 5 to 10 years, whereas Thermage has a shelf life of about two years. Thermage treatments still last longer than costly injectable fillers that use fat or collagen. These approaches only enhance the skin and face for only 4 to 6 months. We have found the best long term results when using Thermage in combination with Botox, Facial Fillers and Fractionated Laser Skin resurfacing. As with surgical facelift, the risk of infection or scarring is present and, depending on the skill of your surgeon, you may have paid a bundle for something that doesn’t even meet your expectations. With Thermage, some of the potential side effects include bumps, redness, swelling and blisters; all of which will usually disappear in a couple of days.
What About the Pain?
There is less pain with Thermage when compared to a facelift. However, as the old saying goes; NO Pain NO Gain. In order for the skin to respond, heat must be applied in the correct amount to result in the desired response. Thermage applies heat to the skin in a specific approach, by using cryrogen spay to cool the top layers of the skin and RF energy to heat the lower layers of the skin to the point of change. Although you may feel a fleeting sensation of heat, the discomfort is brief. Dr. White uses many techniques to decrease your pain. We are able to given mild sedatives before and during the procedure, complete nerve blocks similar to ‘novicaine’ shots used at the Dentist. Feedback from the patient is necessary to complete safe Thermage procedures. Dr. White and Toni Ryan, FNP are in constant communication with the patient to determine the specific energy level needed to complete YOUR individual Thermage treatment. If you have sensitive skin, you may want to apply a topical anesthetic to the treatment surface after the procedure.
Thermage is not a 100% procedure. In our experience 20% of patients get fantastic results; what I call the “WOW” factor. About 60% of patients get great results and another 20% of patients get little or no results from Thermage. After having a Thermage treatment, most patients will immediately feel slightly tighter and smoother skin at the treatment site. Over time, the tightening process will continue and you will experience additional gradual changes over the course of 3 to 6 months. It is important to see before and after photographs to see and appreciate the amount of change. We see our face on a daily basis and soon forget just how old and tire we appeared before Thermage. Depending on how fast your skin responds, increased results may occur sooner. The results are different in each and every patient. How long the treatment will last also varies per patient. You will find that the aging process is different for every person. For the maintenance of Thermage results, additional visits are needed. If not, the face will gradually slip back into the way it looked before treatment.
What is the Thermage procedure?
The Thermage procedure is the only non-invasive method to tighten skin. It is the name of the procedure that uses a radiofrequency system that tightens aging and sun-damaged skin by delivering deep heat to the skin without harming the epidermis (skin surface). It is approved by the FDA. There is no surgical incision. Safe, sustained and uniform heat is delivered to the deep layers of the skin where lax or flaccid layers of collagen can be tightened. This tightening and lifting can be performed anywhere on the face, neck, abdomen, chest, and knees.
The Thermage ThermaCool TM system was selected to receive the 2003 “Best of What’s New” Award in the Personal Health category by Popular Science Magazine. Each year, the magazine’s editors examine thousands of new products and discoveries and honor the 100 most important achievements in science and technology in 12 categories.
The primary criterion for “Best of What’s New” Award winners, according to Popular Science Magazine, is that “each innovation must represent a significant step forward and make a positive difference in our lives.” With this accolade, Thermage is recognized as a breakthrough technology for treating aging and sun-damaged skin.
According to research, collagen fibrils are strands bundled like a twine of rope. After the Thermage treatment, the strands get shorter in length, wider in diameter and lose their distinct borders. In the pilot study, researchers detected changes in the shape of collagen fibrils that went as deep as 5 mm or one quarter of an inch following Thermage treatment. Additionally, tissue analysis was performed that shows the genes were stimulated and gearing up to produce new collagen.
When will I see results?
In most patients, immediate tissue tightening is seen during and after the procedure and further tissue tightening will continue to be seen over the next 6-7 months.
How many treatments will I need?
A single treatment is all that is needed for most patients. Most people will see a moderate to dramatic improvement. Some people will only see a mild improvement and may desire another treatment. We ask that patients wait at least five months after their first treatment to decide whether they would like another treatment, as continued improvement can be see for at least five months after treatment. We will take before-after photographs for your chart.
How long will the effects of the Thermage Procedure last?
Ongoing studies currently show the effect lasting from 4-5 years.
How safe is Thermage?
The Thermage procedure is very safe. It can be used on all types of skin. This treatment has been used on thousands of patients in the United States, Canada, and Mexico.
Can any side-effects occur?
Side effects are rare. One can have a day or two of redness or swelling, or sensitivity of the skin. There have been rare reports of superficial blistering which clears in a few days without permanent change to the skin.
Can I have Thermage if I’ve had other cosmetic procedures?
Who is not a candidate for Thermage?
Thermage should not be used in pregnant women, people below age 18, people with AIDS, hepatitis, bleeding disorders, lupus or any collagen vascular disease. Anyone who is allergic to morphine or codeine should tell the staff. If you have a history of cold sores you should tell the staff. People who are excessively overweight or who smoke cigarettes may not get a significant facial improvement from Thermage.
Is there any special preparation or follow-up regimen?
If we give you an oral analgesic, we ask that you DO NOT DRIVE A CAR FOR THE REMAINDER OF THE DAY. You should make arrangements for a ride home after the procedure. You will want to take it easy that day, but you can return to all your normal activities the following day. Some patients notice temporary redness or swelling for a few hours after the treatment, but one can resume a normal skin care regimen.
How much does it cost?
The Fees for Thermage are based on the area size of skin being treated:
Please call our office for a Thermage consultation with Dr. White.