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Thermage treatment is the latest non-surgical tool to reverse the signs of aging and sun damage. The non-invasive procedure works by using heat from a radio frequency device to tighten or lift the skin. Initially, the thermage treatment was FDA approved to treat the eye and forehead areas, though in June 2004 thermage treatment received FDA clearance for the full face. Although the thermage treatment does not replace a facelift, the procedure has facelift benefits without the cost, pain, anesthesia, incisions or downtime.
Plastic surgeons believe thermage treatment is most ideal for people in mid-to-late 30s, or older people with just mild photoaging or wrinkled skin. Patients wishing to see immediate, drastic results may not choose thermage treatment since it has subtle before and after differences. The way the thermage treatment works is by sending radio waves down to heat the deeper layers in order to cause new collage to form. At first, there will be little noticeable change but weeks to months later the improvements will begin to show.
The thermage treatment pulls out wrinkles and raises eyebrows. Since thermage is still considered a new addition to cosmetic procedures, researchers are still determining how long the results last, though estimates have ranged from six months to two years. Doctors use a device that sends out a cooling spray to protect the outer layer of the skin at the same time the radio frequency energy generates the heat in the lower layer of skin. Described as mildly uncomfortable, thermage treatment takes just about an hour and most patients are able to immediately return to their daily schedules.
As of August 2004, over 1,000 thermage treatment systems were installed worldwide, with the number expected to increase with the addition of FDA clearance to treat entire faces. With busy schedules and an inability to take time off, more and more Americans are seeking ways to cosmetically enhance their features with less invasive procedures. Thirty percent of the U.S. population is represented by baby boomers, with more and more choosing to reverse the signs of aging through aesthetic procedures like the thermage treatment.
Especially for people uncomfortable with having obvious cosmetic work performed, thermage treatment can gradually and more subtly improve wrinkles and rhytids. Even though thermage treatment is considered safe, side effects are still a risk, as they are with any type of procedure. Understanding there are both benefits and risks to every cosmetic procedure will help ensure safety precautions are taken and only qualified and knowledgeable doctors are chosen.