Is There Anyway to Anticipate Potential Fat Loss or Side Effects from Thermage?

I had a Thermage treatment last month I haven't noticed a change. However, I am now concerned about potential facial fat loss. When I had the procedure, I wasn't told that it was a risk. I had the treatment on the latest machine at levels 2-3 on the entire face. It was performed by a physician trainer who is employed by the Thermage machine manufacturer. I suffered no burns, no anesthetic was used, and I experienced moderate pain. How will I know if I am in the clear?

Doctor Answers 3

Does Thermage cause Fat Loss?

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I concur with the other physician comments, the current protocol for Thermage of no anesthesia, with treatment to minimal pain tolerance does not result in fat loss.  The results frequently take 3 to 4 months to be visible, and ultimately patient satisfaction is in the 85-90 percent range.

Miami Dermatologic Surgeon

Fat Loss from Thermage? Not Likely

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When Thermage first came on the market, some people experienced small "divots" in the skin (usually around the thin temple area) that represented fat loss because there was excessive heat in a certain area. The current Thermage protocol uses constant patient feedback and if the patient feels an area being worked on is too hot, the technician will immediately lower the energy settings.

You may perceive that you have "fat loss" if you demonstrate some tightening, but it's not common.

Thermage has a wide variation in effectiveness. Based on how the skin's collagen reproduces at various ages, people who are older tend to see less of an effect - this basically because as you age, your skin's ability to produce new collagen slows down. Call it "lazy skin" if you will, but any collagen stimulation, whether by heat or injectables, have a reduced effectiveness level with age.

We've chosen Ultherapy Lift in our practice instead of Thermage as we feel it has more potential for tightening at a deeper level with more pronounced improvements.

No nonsurgical technology can do what surgery can, so put your expectations at an appropriate level.

Rebecca Fitzgerald, MD
Los Angeles Dermatologic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 22 reviews

Thermage Safety and Results

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Having performed Thermage for ten years, I have never had a patient with fat loss. The patients who had the side effect of fat loss were treated many years ago before anyone knew that if you turned the power up too much there might be this problem.

Actually, the problem with Thermage is that the results of skin tightening are inconsistent. Some people have tightening but some do not.

Instead of Thermage, we now perform a series of radiofrequency skin tightening treatments using the Accent laser. The reason is that there is less discomfort and we get better results.

T. Wayne Day, MD
Nashville Dermatologic Surgeon

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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.