Thermage® / Thermacool™ Skin Tightening
The Thermage® procedure is the only non-invasive treatment that delivers tighter skin, renewed facial contours and healthier collagen. (Collagen is the building block that provides structure to your skin.) The Thermage® procedure is available only in the offices of qualified physicians who specialize in cosmetic procedures. Dr. Buckley is your best information resource for determining how this treatment will most benefit you. The more commonly asked questions about this popular procedure are listed below.
What is the Thermage® Thermacool™ Non-Surgical Face Lift?
Radiofrequency (RF) technology called Thermacool™. It has been clinically proven to tighten and gently lift skin to smooth out wrinkles and renew facial contours. The incision-free procedure is fast and easy, and requires no downtime from normal activities. Unlike lasers, the procedure can be performed on patients of all skin types. The Thermacool™ device has been cleared by the FDA for the non-invasive treatment of facial wrinkles and lines (rhytids).
How does it work?
The Thermacool™ system uses a sophisticated treatment tip called Thermatip™, which delivers a controlled amount of RF energy. With each touch to the skin, the Thermatip™ device uniformly heats a large volume of collagen in the deeper layers of the skin and its underlying tissue while simultaneously protecting the outer layer of the skin with cooling. This deep uniform heating action causes deep structures in your skin to immediately tighten. Over time, new and remodeled collagen is produced to further tighten skin, resulting in healthier, smoother skin and a more youthful appearance.
What happens during the procedure?
Initially your face will be cleansed to remove any residual oils. Dr. Buckley will draw various markings on your skin to indicate which areas might need additional tightening. Much like making alterations to an article of clothing, the Thermage® treatment is customized to provide the most benefit for each individual patient. A special pad will be placed on your back. This pad completes the “circuit” for the RF energy. You will lie on a comfortable table and a paper transfer will be used to place a “grid” on the areas of your face to be treated. This grid ensures complete and uniform treatment and assists in the customizing of the treatment. Some areas will require more “passes” of the thermatip™ than others to achieve the desired results.
During the treatment you will be asked to provide feedback on the level of heating you feel from the RF pulses. This feedback allows the best selection of RF energy levels to be used and makes certain you remain comfortable throughout the procedure. Once the treatment is completed, the grid is removed.
What does the Thermage® procedure feel like?
With each touch of the thermatip™ device, you will experience a brief, deep heating sensation as the RF energy is delivered to your skin and underlying tissue. This deep heating sensation is your indication that your collagen is reaching effective temperatures for tightening. Dr. Buckley controls the amount of energy delivered to balance procedural comfort with maximum results. The thermatip™ device is cooled before, during, and after heating to protect your skin and make the treatment more comfortable.
How long does it take?
The Thermage® procedure can take anywhere from one to two hours depending on the size of the treatment area. Additional time may be required for skin preparation prior to the procedure.
What will my skin feel like after the procedure?
Immediately following a Thermage® procedure, your skin should feel tighter, smoother and more youthful. Overtime, you will notice additional tightening.
How many treatments will I need?
Unlike many laser procedures requiring four or more sessions, a single Thermage® treatment has produced results in the majority of patients. Dr. Buckley will determine the course of treatment that is right for you.
When will I see results?
Recently published studies conducted by Thermage® show that measurable tightening improvements appear gradually over 2 to 6 months after a single treatment session. However, many patients have reported seeing an earlier response.
How long will the effects of the Thermage® procedure last?
The Thermage® procedure causes immediate tightening of the collagen structure, with additional tightening over time. Unpublished reports by experienced cosmetic physicians indicate that results may last 24 months or longer based on the patient’s natural aging process.
Is the Thermage® procedure safe?
Thermage® has an excellent safety record. With over 70,000 estimated worldwide patient treatments to date the reported incidence of side effects is less than 1%. The most frequently reported incidents are classified as swelling, redness, bumps and blisters on or around the treated area. These side effects have usually disappeared in a few days or weeks. A rare (<0.2%) but longer lasting side effect described as a skin depression has also been reported. Consult with your physician regarding this and any other questions you may have on the safety record of the Thermage® procedure.
How long before I can return to my normal activities?
Most people return to their regular activities immediately following the Thermage® procedure. Some people experience mild redness (like a sunburn), but it usually disappears quickly. No special care is needed after treatment unless otherwise instructed by Dr. Buckley.
Can Thermage® be used on other areas of the body?
Thermage® is gaining increased public awareness in the treatments’s ability to tighten loose body skin – especially loose skin on the tummy area. Used post-pregnancy or pre-liposuction, Thermage has proven to tighten that area that no amount of exercise will touch. an effective treatment for tightening loose areas on the body.
Benefits and Advantages?
Most importantly, there is no recovery or patient downtime. Patients may return back to work directly after the procedure. Secondly, selecting Thermage® for skin tightening means no cutting, surgical drains, sutures or bruising. Thirdly, Thermage® is a less costly, non-invasive method. Lastly, there is no special follow-up regime.
The Ideal Thermage® Candidate
An ideal candidate for this skin tightening technique is a person with minimal loose tissue who is a borderline facelift candidate. Such patients could avoid a facelift if they were treated early on with the Thermage® Thermacool™ device with repeat treatments every three to five years. Thermage® can be used alone or in conjunction with other procedures. For instance, sun-damaged skin could be tightened, and then treated with a chemical peel, Fotofacial procedure or de-pigmentation programs to provide even pigmentation. The device can also selectively target areas still loose after a facelift.
The only way to properly assess your suitability for the Thermage® treatment is through a consultation with Dr. Buckley. Skin thickness, degree of laxity (looseness), amount of skin sagging, and overall skin condition and tone are factors used in determining the potential benefits of treatment.