If Thermage Didn't Work for You, Why Will E-Matrix? Both Are Radio Wave.

It's the 5th day after my 1st E-matrix treatment. Sunspots, pores and skin laxity have NOT IMPROVED AT ALL. No one can tell I've have anything done, including my aesthetician. My doctor insists I need two more treatments at $500 each. He says I won't see the full effects for six months but is getting his info from E-Matrix. 1. I'm worried about long term effects of blasting my face with radio waves. 2. It's a lot of money for no results. 3. There's a lot of hype & BS in this business.

Doctor Answers 6

Thermage an e-Matrix

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Both of these treatments have their place but they are very different.  e-Matrix uses radio-frequency to affect the surface of the skin- especially fine lines and wrinkles- while Thermage uses radiofrequency differently to affect the deep layers of the skin without affecting the surface at all.  The target for Thermage is not the skin surface at all but rather the Collagen and Elastin fibers deep in your skin.

Radiofrequency is the most exciting technology out there and it has many applications if used correctly.  You will likely soon be hearing about radiofrequency and it's uses in treating breast cancer!!!  What's important is the way the radiofrequency energy is generated, and the settings that affect the depth of penetration.

None of the desired effects of radiofrequency are instantaneous.  Radiofrequency is merely used as a way to heat up tissues in a very accurate predetermined way.  The heat, on some level, causes very controlled tissue damage and your body's natural healing mechanism is responsible for the great effects.  Neither Thermage nor e-Matrix (Also called Matrix-RF) will give you the desired result instantaneously.  I'm a Plastic Surgeon and that's one of the wonderful things about surgery- the results are instantaneous!  But this isn't surgery- these are devices designed to give an appreciable result without surgery.  They certainly don't have the same cost, recovery or scars as surgery...but they also don't have the dramatic results of surgery.  If you are a patient who is looking for an instantaneous dramatic result then these devices will disappoint you.  However- if you're someone looking for a moderate change without huge costs, huge risks or a huge recovery, then these treatments are ideal!

Scott Newman MD FACS

EMatrix and Thermage are for different problems

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eMatrix and Thermage differ completely in what they are designed to accomplish.

eMatrix is a skin resurfacing procedure and Thermage is meant to tighten. How well Thermage actually works for most people is debatable. eMatrix is much less problematic for people with skin that has higher pigment levels and is the first fractional resurfacing procedure to address that issue.

eMatrix has varying levels of treatment aggressiveness. Unless you are willing to have some downtime and multiple treatments, you likely won't get the effects you hope for. Because you are treating fractionally, the entire surface is not affected, so several treatments provide a more complete coverage.

The fractional basis is offered so that there is less downtime and less discomfort and infection risk. The trade-off is that you need more than one session to get good coverage.

Full surface laser resurfacing provides a "one shot" improvement that you can't expect with fractional technologies like eMatrix or Fraxel or the Palomar Lux system - among others.

With several sessions of eMatrix you should see some tightening, but that is more of a "side effect" instead of a treatment goal.

The newer ultrasound lifting called Ultherapy holds more potential for tightening since you're targeting very deep support structures in the skin. But there is no resurfacing involved with Ultherapy - though the new collagen production should make treated skin smoother.


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I agree with you. The technology is promising but it is not quite where it needs to be to be able to offer significant results.

Thermage vs Ematrix for treatment of face.

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I have used Thermage for over 6 years and Ematrix for 3 years on my patients

For moderate wrinkles or acne scars or both,  Thermage will  work after one or two treatments.

For mild wrinkles or moderate acne scars, EMatrix will also work, most of the time quite well after the 3rd treatment.

For severe wrinkles, a face lift  or injections of large amounts of fillers are better than Thermage or EMatrix.

A face llft will not improve acne scars

Unimpressive effects of transcutaneous skin treatments

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Your #3 point hits the nail right on the head!!!  There is far more hype than result from all of these machines.  Be very careful how you spend your money out there!!

Thermage and Ematrix for Skin rejuvenation

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Both Thermage and ematrix are excellent for the right candidate, but they are not a facelift. It is important to have a proper evaluation and make sure that you are clear as to what you can expect from the treatments. Although both thermage and ematrix both use RF, they are very different.. I prefer thermage for tissue tightening and ematrix (which uses sublative radio frequency) for improvement of acne scars and surface wrinkles. I do not expect as much tissue tightening from the ematrix as from thermage. 

I expect to see results from 1-2 thermage treatments and from 3-4 ematrix treatments. In the right candidate the results are quite impressive and lasting an are even better when used with soft tissue fillers such as Restylane, Juvederm, Radiesse or Sculptra.

Doris Day, MD
New York 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.