Energy from the Therma Cool Radiofrequency generator is delivered to a probe tip, which is equipped with a cooling spray, computer chip and sophisticated sensors which measure pressure current flow and skin temperature. Feedback from the probe tip to a Pentium-based computer in the RF generator regulates the amount of energy applied to the tissue. When the unit is fired, the tip is cooled, followed a moment later with current flow to the deep layers of the skin by capacitive coupling. Cooling continues for an additional second or two. The patient feels a sensation of cold, then heat, then cold again.
The combination of capacitive coupling and agressive cooling protects the epidermis ( the upper layerof the skin ) during the delivery of energy to the deeper dermis and subcutaneous layers. Collagen heating produces microscopic wounding, with immediate collagen contraction, and subsequent repair and remodeling of this deep collagen produces skin tightening over the next several months.
Indications for RF Skin Tightening
Any patient with loose or lax skin can have the procedure performed, but experience to date indicates that the best candidates are those with mild laxity or looseness of the skin. Thinner-skinned patients are thought to respond better
The procedure is FDA approved for treatment of periocular and brow areas and the most popular areas for treatment are the cheeks, melolabial folds, jowls, and neck.
Another area where Thermage is giving amazing results is in abdominal area . The skin laxity that sets in after the pregnancy can be improved with Thermage ( “ Body by Thermage “ )
Thermage skin tightening in other areas, such as wrinkle, acne and cellulite reduction and lifting the breasts and buttocks yields very good results.
Pros and Cons: RF skin tightening is the first, and currently only "proven" way to permanently tighten skin without surgical intervention, and without the associated expense and down time. The ThermaCool procedure, or ThermaLift , has an excellent saftey record to date, and patients of all skin types can be treated.
With the introduction of the "Fast Tips", which complete the cool-heat-cool cylce in about 2 seconds, versus 4-5 seconds with the original tips, pain during treatment was greatly reduced. These fast tips deliver slightly less energy than the original tips, but in a much shorter time, about a half second. Clinical studies have shown that this delivery results in better localization of the heating in the mid/lower layers of skin, with less heating in the upper layers, and that multiple, low-energy passes with fast tips results in enhanced collagen changes and improved, more consistent results, with much less discomfort during treatment.