Is It True That Thermage Can Cause Damage to Skin's Elastin Fibers?

I read that while Thermage can create new collagen, it actually damages Elastin so I'm wondering if this is actually true and if so, wouldn't that be a danger and negate any positive effects from collagen production? Thanks. Grace (47 y.o., fair-skinned, moderate sun damage but have used retin-A on&off for years. Unfortunate part of my retin-A experience: at age 20 I was using it for acne and got a deep tan'cause MD didn't know to tell me about sun sensitivity-now spots are visible yrs later)

Doctor Answers 3

Thermage effects on collagen and elastin

Elastin is a form of collagen, the building block protein that the skin and much of the rest of the body is made of. Thermage and other similar devices are based on the fact that if collagen (and therefore elastin) is heated in very brief pulses to a certain temperature, damage is created in a way that stimulates a healing response, which in turn builds new collage and tightens the skin. So technically the elastin fibers are damaged, as are the collagen fibers, because that is what triggers the desired response. The limiting factor for these types of treatments is that there has to be collagen and elastin in reasonable amounts to begin with, and with age the skin thins from loss of collagen. So if you are considering it as a substitute for a facelift, you will be disappointed, which is why the low ratings. The ideal patients are in their late thirties to early 50's.

Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 52 reviews

Thermage: the power of marketing

When you have a large company that can promote a service, it is hard for any single individual to negate the claims made by that company. Thermage is a radiofrequency device that can generate heat which can cause selective damage to structures including the fat and proteins of the subcutaneous structures. In some instances that  damage such as denatured protein is desireable and can result in contraction of the skin and fat cell damage while in other instances it can disrupt elastin fibers or produce fibrosis. The problem is in definiitvely and quantifiably predicting a consistent result.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 81 reviews

What about Thermage?

The excellent question you have asked about the biology of Thermage will not be possible to adequately answer because I don't think the answer is truly known.  But what does it matter ? m  Look at the 40% satisfaction rate on RS from Thermage and ask yourself why would you pay big money and go through the pain for a 60% chance of being unhappy according to real patients.

Richard P. Rand, MD, FACS
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 67 reviews

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.