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Radiothermoplasty, ThermaCool, and ThermaLift

Thermage As cosmetic surgery techniques and procedures continue to develop, areas of the body once believed to be difficult to treat can now be enhanced during a lunch break or an early afternoon escape from the office. For example, the revolutionary procedure known as Thermage, (also known as Radiothermoplasty, ThermaCool, and ThermaLift) provides patients with tighter, more youthful looking skin, all without face lift surgery. The Thermage application has been approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of wrinkles, furrows, creases, and so on, around the eyes.

With the increasing popularity of various cosmetic surgery procedures, including Thermage, it is important that the prospective patient researches and understands different issues like what the procedure can and cannot treat, inherent risks, costs, and other factors. Keep in mind, cosmetic surgery is just that – a surgical procedure whose results cannot simply be erased. While the information contained in this website will provide a good introduction to Thermage, when considering this or any other cosmetic procedure, we recommend that you consult a qualified provider with significant experience. Some important elements you should understand regarding this procedure include the following:

Who would best Represent an Ideal Candidate for Thermage?

There are various reasons why people would choose to undergo Thermage treatments. The more common include:
  • Gaining a more youthful, tighter appearance
  • Renewing facial contours
  • Avoid undergoing face lift surgery
  • Enhancing appearance
  • Gaining a boost in self-esteem
  • Feeling more confident


Where do I begin?

Those considering Thermage should first find a qualified cosmetic surgeon to perform the procedure. By consulting directly with a qualified cosmetic surgeon, you can further explore the potential effects Thermage may offer in enhancing your personal appearance. has created an easy and effective way for patients to find a cosmetic surgeon online. For more information please

How are Thermage Treatments Performed?

Thermage is performed using an advanced, highly sophisticated radio frequency device known as a ThermaCool TC. The patient’s skin is tightened following a brief touch of the ThermaCool TC’s treatment tip and circumvents the need for surgical incisions and recovery time. More specifically, Thermage works by heating the deeper skin layers of the patient. In so doing, new and remodeled internal collagen is produced within these skin layers, which tightens immediately in response to the heating. When receiving Thermage, the patient’s top layers of skin are protected with a cooling spray. Over time, and with subsequent Thermage procedures, the internal skin collagen grows back firmer and tighter. It is this response that results in tighter, more youthful looking skin.

For many patients, a single Thermage treatment may accomplish the desired results. In working with a qualified cosmetic surgeon, the number of Thermage treatments required to accomplish the optimum result may vary significantly from patient to patient. Factors such as age, skin type, health habits (i.e., smoking), etc., contribute to the number and degree of Thermage treatments necessary to accomplish "best case" results. Furthermore, depending on the size of the area to be treated, most Thermage procedures require between a few minutes to an hour to perform. While most patients can expect to see gradual results appearing within the first two to six months following the initial Thermage treatment, some patient’s may notice tightening and smoothening of the skin much sooner.

How Much Pain is Associated with Thermage?

Patients that undergo treatment typically feel a deep, heating sensation as the ThermaTip device touches the skin. Skin tightening is also expected. An anesthetic cream may be applied to increase comfort.

What should I expect after undergoing a Thermage treatment?

As indicated earlier, one of the key attractions associated with the practice of Thermage is that it does not involve surgical incisions and recovery time. As such, most Thermage patients return to their daily activities immediately following their treatment. While some patients may experience minor redness in the treated area – similar to mild sunburn – this redness typically dissipates quickly. Normal skin care procedures, such as wearing sunscreen, etc., are recommended in maintaining the treated skin area.

The results of the Thermage procedure will be seen gradually over a three to six month period, sometimes sooner. Results will vary. The enhancements achieved with Thermage may last several years also depending upon the individual patient’s aging process.

What Are the Risks and Limitations of Thermage?

The Thermage application has been deemed to be very safe. However, as is the case with any cosmetic surgery treatment, there is an associated degree of risk. Some patients experience mild redness of the skin, but this is temporary. While skin damage may result from treatments, the practice of Thermage has been carefully studied in hundreds of patients. In those cases where negative effects have resulted, very few of these cases report long lasting adverse effects.

What Are The Typical Costs Associated With Thermage?

The cost for undergoing Thermage is around $2000. Fees within various regions may vary depending on whether the doctor’s practice is in an urban, suburban or rural area. This fee only covers the physician’s costs, and does not include other miscellaneous costs. A comprehensive cost figure may be obtained while consulting with the physician. Make sure this figure includes any and all associated costs.

Unfortunately, most medical insurance providers do not cover cosmetic surgery procedures. However, most surgeons do offer multiple financing options.

Ten Questions Patients Undergoing Thermage Should Ask Their Surgeon

To better educate the patient about Thermage, as well as assisting in formulating realistic expectations, it is recommended that the patient look at before and after photographs, speak with previous patients, (you are always welcome to ask your doctor for referrals to previous patients and where to contact them) and get answers to the following questions:
  1. Are the desired results I described realistic?
  2. Where will the Thermage treatment be performed and how long will it take?
  3. In my case, what technique and which are most appropriate?
  4. How much does Thermage cost and what other elements factor into that cost (i.e., hospital fee, anesthesia, etc)?
  5. What is the practitioner’s level of experience in performing Thermage treatments?
  6. What percentage of patients experience complications with the Thermage treatments?
  7. What is the practitioner’s policy in regards to correcting or repeating the procedure if the Thermage treatment does not meet agreed upon goals?
  8. What should I expect, post-operatively, in terms of soreness, scaring, activity level and so on?
  9. Have you ever had your malpractice insurance coverage denied, revoked or suspended?
  10. How soon can I begin treatment?
Don’t limit yourself to these questions. If there is something you do not understand about Thermage, do not hesitate in asking the doctor any questions you might have.

In addition, it is important that Thermage patients relay to their surgeon information regarding any allergies and serious medical conditions they may have. Furthermore, patients should inform the surgeon of any medications they are taking.

This site provides information about plastic/cosmetic surgery and is designed to help users make decisions regarding their own treatment options. But medical information is not the same as medical advice--the application of medical treatment to a person's specific circumstances. Although we go to great lengths to make sure our information is accurate and useful, we recommend you consult a qualified medical practitioner if you want professional assurance that our information, and your interpretation of it, is appropriate to your particular situation.

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