Author: Dr Branden Seow
In the quest for youthful and radiant skin, people have explored various cosmetic procedures and treatments. One such popular technology is Thermage. Often referred to as the “non-surgical facelift,” Thermage is a non-invasive skin tightening procedure that can help reduce the signs of aging by improving the perceived sagginess of the skin. In this article, we will explore more about what it does.
Thermage is a non-surgical cosmetic procedure designed to tighten and rejuvenate the skin. It utilizes a radiofrequency (RF) energy to stimulate collagen production in the deeper layers of the skin. Collagen provides structure and elasticity to the skin, and due to the natural decline with age, sagging happens as a result. Thermage works by delivering controlled RF energy into the skin’s deeper layers to stimulate collagen remodeling, resulting in firmer, smoother, and more youthful-looking skin.
During a Thermage session, a specially designed handpiece is used to deliver RF energy to the skin. The RF energy is carefully controlled and monitored to ensure the skin reaches and maintains the optimal temperature for collagen contraction and remodeling. This controlled heating process triggers the body’s natural healing response, leading to increased collagen production.
History of RF usage in treatment
RF technology has been used in various medical applications for decades, including treatments for conditions like chronic pain and cardiac arrhythmias. The exploration of use of RF technology in skin tightening and rejuvenation eventually led to the development of Thermage.
Thermage was invented by an American doctor in the late 1990s. Thermage received its first FDA clearance in 2002 for the non-invasive treatment of wrinkles and fine lines on the face.
Over the years, Thermage’s technology and treatment protocols continued to develop and be better.
As the technology became more refined and the results more consistent, Thermage gained popularity among both patients and doctors. Its non-surgical nature and minimal downtime made it an attractive choice for those seeking cosmetic enhancements, especially to treat saggy skin. Thermage’s applications subsequently expanded beyond facial rejuvenation. It became a versatile treatment for various body areas prone to sagging skin, including the neck, abdomen and upper eyelids.
Thermage had undergone several generation evolutions. While the fundamental principle of Thermage remains consistent with all generations — using radiofrequency (RF) technology to stimulate collagen production and tighten the skin — each generation has brought improvements and refinements to the treatment protocol.
- Original Thermage (First Generation):
Developed in the late 1990s. Patients often reported severe discomfort during treatment.
It is a basic RF technology without any advanced cooling or comfort features. The original Thermage devices were groundbreaking at the time but had limitations regarding patient comfort.
- Thermage NXT (Second Generation):
Introduced in the mid-2000s. It has improved patient comfort features like enhanced cooling systems.
- Thermage CPT (Third Generation):
Introduced later in the 2000s. It introduced the Comfort Pulse Technology (CPT) that offered a more comfortable treatment experience. It has better control and consistency in energy delivery, resulting in more predictable and effective outcomes.
- Thermage FLX (Fourth Generation):
Introduced in the late 2010s. It has added vibrational elements to enhance patient comfort during the procedure.
These enhancements over the years have made Thermage treatments more tolerable and effective, reducing the need for multiple sessions. At The Clifford Clinic, we house the latest generation, Thermage FLX.
Benefits of Thermage
Thermage is a non-surgical procedure. This means that there are no incisions, sutures, or downtime, unlike surgical facelift or threadlift. This makes it an ideal option for people who are seeking skin tightening without the risks and recovery associated with surgery.Thermage also provides more natural-looking appearances that gradually improve over time, avoiding the unnatural or “pulled” appearance that can sometimes result from surgical facelifts or minimally invasive thread lifts.
After the procedure, some redness and mild swelling may occur, but these side effects usually go away within a few hours to a few days. Patients can return to their normal activities immediately after treatment. As collagen production continues, the skin gradually tightens and becomes smoother, with optimal results usually appearing within three to six months.
Thermage is a revolutionary non-surgical skin tightening procedure that harnesses the power of radiofrequency energy to stimulate collagen production and rejuvenate the skin. Thermage has over the years become a popular choice for individuals looking to reverse the signs of aging without undergoing surgery.
Ultrasound in reversing skin sagginess
Another popular treatment that does skin tightening as well is the High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU) technology. Both RF and HIFU are non-invasive cosmetic procedures designed to address skin laxity and promote skin tightening.
While they may share some similarities, they differ in terms of technology, application, and how they achieve their results. Here’s a comparison of Thermage and HIFU:
Thermage uses radiofrequency (RF) technology to deliver controlled heat energy into the deeper layers of the skin. This heat stimulates collagen production, leading to skin tightening and rejuvenation. HIFU, on the other hand, uses high-intensity focused ultrasound. It delivers highly focused ultrasound energy deep into the skin, targeting specific depths where collagen production occurs. HIFU heats and coagulates tissue points at precise depths, creating micro-injuries that trigger collagen remodeling.
Thermage is versatile and can be used on various parts of the body, including the face, abdomen and upper eyelid. HIFU is primarily used for facial treatments. It is often used to target specific areas of the face, such as the brow, jawline, and neck.
Comfort and Sensation:
Most patients describe a warming or tingling sensation during the procedure during Thermage. It is generally quite well-tolerated. HIFU can be more uncomfortable during the procedure, with some patients reporting a sensation of intense heat or mild discomfort. However, at The Clifford Clinic, our brand of ultrasound based technology, Sygmalift, will be able to deliver energy with no pain.
Today, both Thermage and HIFU are established and widely recognized non-surgical cosmetic procedures for skin tightening and rejuvenation. They have helped countless individuals to achieve a more youthful appearance without the need for invasive surgery.