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Thermage uses radiofrequency technology to stimulate the body's supply of collagen, thus smoothing out wrinkles and facial lines.

By Zeel Editorial Staff, Last updated: August 15, 2012

Treatment Basics

Regulatory approval: Approved by the FDA in June 2004. Over the past several years, Thermage and its former parent company, Reliant, merged to form Solta Medical, Inc.

Other names: Radiothermoplasty

Manufacturer: Solta Medical, Inc.

Thermage reduces signs of aging, like loose skin, cellulite and wrinkles, by stimulating the body's supply of collagen - the protein that makes up 80% of the skin.

Thermage not only improves the condition of existing collagen but further stimulates the body fresh collagen, thus revitalizing and tightening the skin.

Thermage uses a kind of radiofrequency (RF) energy that passes through the skin to heat and tighten underlying tissues and increase collagen production, which in turns smooths the surface of the skin.

Radiofrequency (RF) energy is just another name for radio waves. Not only can radio carry sound, it can also transmit energy and heat. Microwaves, for example, use radio waves to heat food. Radiofrequency energy can also be used to deliver targeted heat into deep layers of body tissue without affecting the surface of the skin.

What It's Good For

Thermage can be applied almost anywhere on the body, including the face, eyelids, lips, abdomen, arms, hands, thighs, and buttocks. Thermage treats sagging skin, loose jowls, turkey neck, wrinkles, and fine lines. It can also add definition to the lips and jaw line. Near the eyes, Thermage can be used to address undereye bags and hooded eyelids.

Recommended Uses
Name Description Cost
Cellulite Unlike other cellulite-fighting treatments, Thermage can potentially diminish dimpling in a single session. Results may continue to improve over six months as new collagen grows. Thermage...more Pricing of cellulite treatment with Thermage depends on how extensive the cellulite...more
Crow's feet While Botox and Dysport affect the underlying muscles that cause crow’s feet, treatments like Thermage can smooth and recondition the surface of the skin. Thermage is a radiofrequency (RF)...more Treatment of crow’s feet with Thermage costs approximately $1,500 to $3,500. It may be...more
Neck wrinkles Thermage uses radiofrequency waves to stimulate collagen in the skin. The energy is delivered under the skin to promote collagen growth over a six-month period, and the results can last up...more Treatment of the neck alone will cost between $1,000 and $3,000. This may be part of a...more
Undereye wrinkles If undereye wrinkles are static (that is, always present and not caused by muscle motion) , Thermage may be helpful. Thermage is a radiofrequency (RF) treatment – it uses RF energy to heat...more Use of Thermage to treat undereye wrinkles and crepe-like texture is generally include as...more
Wrinkles Thermage is a non-invasive procedure that smoothes and reconditions the surface of the skin using radiofrequency energy to heat the underlying tissues and stimulate collagen production. ...more Treatments cost between $1,000 and $1,500.

Who it works for: The ideal candidate is one who has noticed early signs of aging like loose skin, creases, and wrinkles, but wants to try a non-invasive treatment (i.e., no scalpel).

Recommended age range: While there is no maximum age, Thermage is less likely to work when treating signs of advanced aging. After 60 or thereabouts, plastic surgery is likely to be more effective.

When will I see results?: Results improve over time. Thermage stimulates the body to produce new collagen for up to six months. Compared to the other major radiofrequency skin tightening treatment available in the U.S., Pelleve, Thermage is more expensive and requires fewer treatments to take effect.

How long it lasts: The effects of Thermage can last for up to two years, but longevity depends on the condition of an individual's skin. Older patients typically see less dramatic and shorter-lived results.

Key benefits of Thermage: Thermage can leave the skin looking and feeling tighter. The treatment can temporarily reduce cellulite. Results may be noticeable after one treatment.

Licensed uses: Approved by the FDA in June 2004, Thermage can be used anywhere on the body where wrinkles or cellulite appear. This includes the face, eyes, lips, abdomen, arms, hands, thighs, and buttocks.

Did you know?: 500,000 treatments have been performed in more than 80 countries. Solta Medical owns 50 patents for advanced technology relating to Thermage.

Who's Done It?

Since its release in 2002, Thermage has been featured in women's lifestyle magazines regularly. In the past year alone this has included W magazine (May 2010), Marie Claire (January 2010), Vogue (June 2009), O (May 2009), and Health (March 2009). Oprah Winfrey has also endorsed Thermage several times on her USA talk show.

In 2006, model Linda Evangelista sanctioned the use of cosmetic procedures, including Thermage, to retain a youthful physical appearance. For Evangelista, Thermage is merely another form of physical enhancement, "like hair color or makeup or any other tricks you can do to make yourself feel better."

Unlike Evangelista, actress Ellen Barkin seemed less approving of Thermage during an interview with Oprah's magazine, O, in July 2007, where she admitted to having been treated three times a year for three years. Barkin characterized the feeling of getting Thermage a, "burning-hot elastic bands snapping against my face." When asked what she thought the treatment did for her, Barkin responded, "Really, I don't know."

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