When a patient wants to treat signs of aging on their face and neck such as sagging skin, the appearance of wrinkles, or excess fat, a common treatment offered to them is a facelift, otherwise known as a rhytidectomy. While a facelift can have dramatic results, it’s still a surgical procedure, and surgeries come with many risks and drawbacks such as anesthesia complications, infection, bleeding, scarring, prolonged swelling, pain, and skin irregularities. After a facelift, patients can expect several weeks of downtime, and when all is said and done, they may still be unsatisfied with the results. For someone that may not need or want such an involved procedure, there is another option: Thermage® skin tightening.
The Science Behind Thermage
Thermage is an FDA-approved, noninvasive skin rejuvenation treatment intended to treat fine lines and wrinkles and improve the appearance of cellulite. While it’s often marketed as a “Thermage facelift”, that’s not actually how it works. Whereas a facelift repositions muscles and removes excess skin, a thermage treatment utilizes heat to stimulate natural collagen production in the body.
Collagen is the most abundant structural protein in your body, found in connective tissue, skin, tendons, bones, and cartilage. Much like the name implies, collagen provides structural support to tissues and plays important roles in cellular processes such as tissue repair, immune response, cellular communication, and cellular migration.
If it’s not obvious already, collagen is key to skin health, but how does heating it up help? Collagen consists of triple helix strands held together with strong hydrogen bonds. These bonds break down over time, causing skin to sag as it ages. The application of thermal energy to collagen separates the water molecules from the fibrous collagen strands, resulting in an immediate contraction of the fibers and a visible tightening of the skin.
How Thermage Devices Work
Thermage devices use a type of non-ionizing radiation called radiofrequency (RF) energy. This type of energy is widely used in the dermatological field to heat biological tissue in a variety of applications including skin lifting, body contouring, cellulite reduction, and skin tightening (the application we are focusing on in this article). Note that Thermage devices differ from cosmetic laser devices in that they use an electric current rather than a light source.
Devices utilizing RF energy first became available in the early 2000s, and companies have been improving on the technology ever since. Solta Medical, a pioneer in this space, has developed three iterations of their Thermage system for non-invasive skin tightening treatments. Their earliest device was introduced in 2002 and was the first of its kind; it was subsequently followed by Thermage CPT and FLX. All three generations utilize RF energy in the same way, though the CPT and FLX models offer better pain management and cooling mechanisms (i.e. vibrations and bursts of cold air) which lend to a more enjoyable experience overall.
For patients and providers alike, the Thermage system offers several benefits.
No Surgery or Injections
As a non-invasive procedure, it works on top of the skin. The handpiece safely heats the dermis of the skin without damaging the outermost layer. Since it’s not a surgical procedure, patients won’t need to worry about any of the negative consequences and risks associated with surgery. While some patients may experience some minor discomfort, it usually does not reach the point in which anesthesia or topical numbing agents need to be applied. If someone is worried about lingering pain from a Thermage procedure, it’s acceptable to take painkillers beforehand.
Results After One Treatment
When heat is applied to the skin, the collagen fibers immediately start contracting, resulting in skin tightening. This means that after the very first Thermage treatment, a patient will see noticeable tightening and lifting of skin tissue in the treatment area.
Typically, patients experience little to no downtime after a Thermage procedure. This differs from a traditional facelift that calls for several weeks of post-procedure downtime, or even from similar RF treatments such as ThermiRF®, which calls for the insertion of a probe underneath the skin. After a Thermage treatment, patients are able to immediately return to daily life.
Long Lasting Improvements
While subtle results can be seen immediately following treatment, as fresh collagen develops over the following months, the skin will continue to tighten and become firmer. To ensure any progress in skin rejuvenation remains, patients should be encouraged to undergo a Thermage treatment every six to twelve months. It’s important to remember that every patient’s skin is different; some may require more treatments and some may require less.
Treats Multiple Areas
Thermage treatments are especially recommended for treating areas around the eyes, eyelids, and jawline. In fact, it’s the only RF skin tightening device designed for treating the upper and lower eyelids. Beyond the face, this versatile treatment can also be used on the stomach, arms, backs of the hands, thighs, knees, and butt. No matter which areas a patient expresses a desire to treat, Thermage is well equipped to address them.
Thermage is suitable for all skin types and tones, a feat that can’t always be guaranteed in the aesthetic industry. This procedure is most ideal for patients with mildly sagging skin and other signs of aging such as fine lines and wrinkles. Additionally, the device can be used to treat the appearance of cellulite by boosting circulation and stimulating collagen synthesis.
Bring RF Technology to Your Practice With a Thermage Device
A Thermage device is the perfect solution for providers looking to offer their patients more non-invasive and effective options for skin tightening. While you always have the choice of purchasing a brand new machine from Solta Medical, a more cost-effective option for your clinic or medspa may be investing in a used device.
Laser Resellers offers a wide range of used cosmetic devices you can trust, including the Thermage CPT. We provide maintenance to each of our devices, ensuring they are in top-notch condition before they are sold, and every device you see on our website is guaranteed to be in stock. So, if you’re thinking of investing in a skin tightening solution sure to give you a positive return on your investment, request a quote today!