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Thermage: A Non-Surgical Facelift?

Cosmetic Surgery: Promises and Pitfalls™

PROMISES

Thermage employs radio frequency treatments of the face to "stimulate collagen production, thereby firming and tightening the skin”. No surgery, no down time—and is marketed as a NON-SURGICAL FACELIFT.
Before 4 Weeks
after Treatment
PITFALLS

  • These treatments are simple to perform and are usually done by a technician, not the physician.
  • Treatments are expensive $2500-3000 for a full face treatment. They are marketed as being inexpensive when compared to a facelift, but potential results are not comparable to surgery. Patient should know prior to undergoing any procedure exactly how much improvement to expect.
  • Treatments are painful, as reported by patients undergoing the procedure.
  • Results are inconsistent. No specific amount of change (if any) can be predicted in any given individual. This lack of any realistic predictability of results should be understood by the patient.
  • Results are minimal. Even the before and after photos shown on websites, representing the best results, show minor changes. The following quote is from the website clickondetroit.com: “The changes are subtle and the before and after pictures don’t look a whole lot different to you and me. But with a photographer charting the progress at monthly intervals and researchers measuring the improvements in millimeters, change is clear.”
  • Patients are advised results may take 6 months and then an additional treatment may be recommended. But then what?
  • Complications are difficult to find in any printed material but 5 burns were reported on the manufacturer's website.
  • No data available on length of effects or long term safety of the procedure.
No scientific studies available. We have made an attempt to search the medical literature without success.

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