Is Thermage Safe?

Is Thermage safe? Is it a non-ionizing treatment, and if not, then isn't that harmful radiation? Also, is it safe to undergo Thermage every 6 months if you want? How does the skin react to this tightening and relaxing method long term?

Doctor Answers 9

Thermage is a very safe procedure with an experienced professional

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Thermage like any other procedure depends on the skill of the professional involved.  Thermage is an entirely safe and effective procedure. Patients love it because they have no pre-treatment and when they leave the office no one can tell that they had any procedure performed.  Some patients would like to have it done yearly to build collagen. Again ztThermage is an entirely safe procedure. Long term your skin will produce more collagen and be tighter and look younger.

Is Thermage safe?

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We have used Thermage in our Offices for over 6 years.

The technology of Thermage has been imptoved over time. The newest improvement, Comfort Pulse Technology,makes the procedure a lot less painful than it used to be, and allows for faster treatments due to bigger heads.

Radiofrequency is not harmful in any way to your general health.

Repeating the Thermage treastments is totally safe and effective.

Eugene Mandrea, MD
Chicago Dermatologist
4.6 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

Thermage is safer with new technology

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when performed by experienced providers, thermage is very safe. It utilizes radiofrequency energy and heats the dermal collagen fibers. Pigmentation, burns and fat atrophy are very rare complications.

Ronald Shelton, MD
Manhattan Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

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Thermage is safe

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I have personally performed Thermage for more than 7 years now and have found it to be incredibly safe. As long as it is performed by an experienced operator, risks with this device should be quite low.

Thermage utilizes radiofrequency waves that penetrate deeply (much deeper than the average laser) to stimulate and reorganize collagen within the skin to smooth and contour textural irregularities and tighten lax skin. It is usually a one-time procedure but can be safely repeated at regular intervals for continued enhancement. I have many patients who return on a yearly basis for re-treatment. Thermage is also an ideal treatment to have done post-surgically (after facelift or necklift or tummy tuck for example) to further improve upon results and help maintain the surgical results for as long as possible. I treat many patients who have had a facelift in the past and do not want to undergo another invasive procedure. These patients usually elect to have the Thermage treatment when they start to see the effects of the surgical lift diminish -- usually 5-10 years after treatment.

Thermage is an excellent choice for anyone looking for skin tightening without significant downtime or risk of serious adverse effects.

Jason R. Lupton, MD
San Diego Dermatologic Surgeon

Thermage is safe in the right, trained hands

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Thermage is great to smooth, tighten and deep contour skin for an overall younger looking appearance without surgery or injections for the right person with little skin laxity.

Pros of Thermage: It is a single treatment, improvement is immediately visible and continues to improve for six months. No downtime; after the treatment, you can get back to normal routine. Thermage is color blind. Unlike lasers, Thermage procedures work on all skin types and colors. After Thermage, you don't have to avoid the sun.

Cons of Thermage: May or may not see results right away, especially if you need more than usual tightening. Results are not always predictable. It is not a very pleasant procedure, as you may feel discomfort in the form of deep heat sensation.

Thermage is Safe

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Thermage is definitely a safe procedure, this is one of the true benefits of having it done. The main concern about the procedure not being safe goes back many years now to the early days of this machine. There were a few cases where patients experienced some areas of fat loss or atrophy that left some dimples in the face. These happened because the energy being used was too high resulting in over heating of the fat.

The machine has undergone multiple generations of improvements with many new safety features added along with a newer protocol that uses lower energies during a treatment.

The safety record following these updates has been excellent. Thermage provides an excellent option for patients who don't need or are not yet ready for a facelift to create some moderate skin tightening with no downtime.

Edgar Franklin Fincher, MD, PhD
Beverly Hills Dermatologic Surgeon

Thermage is safe yes, but difficult to reproduce

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There is no evidence that I am aware of that Thermage is harmful. It can certainly be performed every 6-9 months, but beware that the results are quite variable. The reason is that the radiofrequency heat that Thermage employs is targeting the dermis of the skin, so the thicker your skin, the more of a tightening effect you will see. Therefore, areas of relatively thicker skin (for example the neck) tend to react better than areas of very thin skin (for example eyelids).

Also, younger patients with healthier, thick skin, with little sun damage, also tend to see more results. One nice way of utilizing Thermage is to maintain the results of a surgical procedure, for example, after a facelift. But I encourage all patients seeking Thermage that the results may not be what they are hoping for.

Dr. S

Shahram Salemy, MD, FACS
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 155 reviews


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Thermage® is a safe, non-invasive, radiofrequency (RF) cosmetic procedure
that’s clinically proven to help smooth, tighten and contour skin for an
overall younger looking appearance. The treatment delivers natural looking
results with little to no downtime —on all skin colors, on and off the face,
all in a single procedure. Fast and easy, you can even come in during your
lunch break and return to work after!

Thermage® uses radiofrequency technology to heat the deep, collagen rich layers
of your skin. The heat helps tighten existing collagen and stimulate the
formation of new collagen, which reduces sagging, renews contours, and improves
the smoothness and texture of the skin’s surface. Comfort Pulse Technology,
including a vibrating handpiece delivers enhanced patient comfort.

On the face, Thermage® can treat sagging skin, loose jowls, lack of definition
in the jaw line, sagging neck skin (“turkey neck”), wrinkles and fine lines,
and lack of definition in the lips. Around the eyes, Thermage® can treat under
eye bags, hooding, rough texture on the eyelids, wrinkles and fine lines, and
other contributors to tired looking eyes. Elsewhere on the body, Thermage® can
treat wrinkled, sagging or bulging skin as well as the appearance of cellulite!

While you will see an improvement immediately, Thermage® usually takes up to
6 months to see the maximum result and this improvement is said to last
approximately 18 months. Often patients repeat Thermage® more often to
get additional tightening. It's important, of course, to make sure you
see a board certified plastic surgeon or dermatologist because results
can be variable depending on who is performing the procedure.

Michelle Copeland, MD, DMD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Yes, Thermage is safe

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The medical use of radiofrequency to tighten tissue was invented in the 1940's, so there is plenty of data in the medical literature which prooves that it is safe.The Thermage technology is based on the use of radio waves that are focused to a specific depth in the skin or just beneath the skin. 

Christine Glavey, MD (retired)
Alpharetta Dermatologic Surgeon

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.