Women who have moderately loose skin following pregnancy and need only a bit of abdominal tightening – and anyone with sagging skin anywhere on their body – may wish to investigate Thermage, a skin-tightening and contouring alternative to tummy tucks and other cosmetic surgery procedures.
Thermage is a safe and innovative, FDA-approved new cosmetic procedure that provides a non-surgical method for contouring and tightening loose skin and wrinkles, using radiofrequency (FR) energy. Originally used in the treatment of facial and neck skin laxity, Thermage can be used anywhere on the body, and has been successfully used for lax abdominal skin, to provide lift to arms and thighs, and even the buttocks.
What Thermage Does
Thermage procedures are designed to deliver improved skin tone, texture and tightness for an overall smoother appearance on all skin colors, on all areas of the body, all in a single procedure with no anesthesia, no surgery or scarring, and virtually no downtime.
What Thermage Treats
As you age, the collagen in your skin breaks down which can result in wrinkles, crepiness, sagging and bulging skin on various areas of your body. According to its creators, Thermage is designed to safely and effectively treat:
- Wrinkled, crepey or sagging skin on the tummy, knees, arms, legs, hands or buttocks
- Sagging skin or unwanted bulges after pregnancy or weight loss
- Love handles
- Loose jowls or lack of definition in jaw line and sagging skin under the chin
- Thin, loose, crepey skin on hands
- Wrinkles and fine lines around the mouth, forehead or eyes
- Crepey texture of eyelids or excess skin on upper eyelid
- Appearance of cellulite (temporary)
Collagen & Youthful Skin
Collagen is the principal structural protein holding the skin together. The quantity and quality of your skin’s collagen has a major role in your appearance. Overall, the amount of collagen in the skin tends to decline with age, and when collagen is damaged by UV rays, free radicals, smoking or other factors, its structure becomes distorted, leading to poor skin texture, wrinkles and other imperfections.
Your skin is made up of three distinct layers:
- Epidermis – the visible outer surface
- Dermis – the collagen rich layer beneath the surface
- Subcutaneous tissue – the “fat layer” beneath the dermis that also has a web of collagen fibers
How Thermage Works
Thermage uses radiofrequency (FR) energy to tighten and contour skin. Thermage technology reaches through the epidermis, dermis and deep subcutaneous layers of the skin with deep, uniform heating to stimulate and tighten existing collagen and promote new collagen growth. Fortified collagen results in skin that looks and feels noticeably smoother, tighter and firmer.
The Thermage Procedure
Over half a million Thermage treatments have been performed in more than 2300 practices in 80 countries.
“It works by heating the skin which causes your body to tighten its own collagen bundles,” says Dr. Neil Sadick of New York, “secondarily it causes your body to react by producing new collagen, that will appear over 6 to 12 months following the procedure.”
Dr. Neil explains that the effects of the single Thermage treatment last forever, “Aging goes on, but only one single Thermage treatment can tighten the skin on your face, eyes, torso, extremities – any part of the body can now be tightened with this new generation technology.”
The Thermage procedure takes anywhere from and 30 to 90 minutes, depending on the area being treated.
- Patient is given oral medication to cut back on discomfort.
- The area to be treated is marked off with a grid.
- A coupling fluid is applied.
- A radiofrequency (FR) hand-piece is used to go over each of the squares of the grid to make sure that the energy is applied uniformly.
Dr. Neil says that after the procedure there is no discomfort whatsoever; the technician just wipes away the grid and patients go back to work, go to the gym, or whatever their normal daily activities are.
Following the single procedure, patients can expect smoother skin and improved tone and texture, starting immediately and continuing in the first 6 to 12 months following treatment.
Dr. Neil says that Thermage does extremely well in tightening women’s skin after pregnancy around their entire belly.
How Much Does Thermage Cost?
One-time treatment average cost: $2741
Possible Side Effects
According to its manufacturers, Thermage has an excellent safety record and side effects are generally mild and may include redness, swelling, blisters, bumps and rare instances of surface irregularities.
The procedure is also known by the names ThermaCool, Radiothermaplasty, and ThermaLift.