Thermage® is a relatively new treatment that was developed in the US, and which has been available for about 3 years. Thermage® is available at Columbia Plastic Surgery, PC, one of the few practices in South Carolina to offer this technology. Thermage® tightens skin without surgery by passing radiofrequency waves through the skin. The Thermage procedure is the only non-invasive, no-downtime treatment that delivers tighter skin, renewed facial contours and healthier collagen.

Skin is made up of two layers, the visible outer layer called the epidermis, and the deeper layer called the dermis. The main component of the dermis is a protein called collagen. As we age, the body produces less collagen resulting in wrinkles and laxity. The Thermage® procedure causes collagen in the dermal layers of the skin to tighten, thereby reducing skin laxity and wrinkles and renewing facial contours.

The Thermage procedure for skin tightening uses radiofrequency waves to create a precisely controlled zone of heating in the dermis and the underlying tissue. At the same time the epidermis is protected with continual cooling. Heating the collagen causes it to contract and thicken. This process, called denaturation, provides the initial results of tighter, smoother looking skin in some patients.

In addition, the body also initiates a second response to heating within the dermis and underlying tissue. This response is part of the body's natural wound-healing response. New collagen is created that provides long-term tightening of the skin. The combination of these two processes provides immediate skin tightening and long-term tightening effects. A Thermage® treatment is believed to last about 2 years and can be repeated. The best candidates for Thermage® are those patients with low to moderate relaxation of the skin, thin to medium skin thickness and younger skin with good elasticity. Thermage® can be used on patients with all degrees of skin pigmentation.

While there are a number of procedures available that affect collagen, only the Thermage® procedure offers a completely non-invasive, no-downtime method to tighten loose skin.