Is there any risk of having facial fat melted off when you undergo thermage, or is the technology safe?

Or does it depend on the physician, meaning if the physician would make a mistake their is a chance of facial fat melting? Are there other chances of having disfiguring results? I still read reviews where ppl claim that their faces turned bumpy due to fat atrophy.

Doctor Answers 5

Thermage and injury to facial fat

Your question is an excellent one.  In the early days of Thermage (it has been on the market since 2002), higher energies were used and a small number of patients did develop facial fat atrophy.  Over the years, advances in Thermage technology and treatment guidelines have essentially eliminated the risk of this complication.  At sufficiently high energies or if performed by an inexperienced operator, fat atrophy and other complications can occur with Thermage and other RF treatments.


Nashville Oculoplastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 41 reviews

Thermage and fat loss

Ultherapy is not associated with fat loss like thermage, especially its predecessor devices. It seems to be less selective in its energy delivery than focused ultrasound (Ultherapy). The newer Thermage CPT technology has apparently overcome this side effect. 

Thermage and face

Your question is excellent and related to old technology. The previous Thermage - not the current Thermage with the CPT technology had such reports. The new Thermage is safe and effective and builds up new collagen and does not have any pain or these previously reported reactions. It is very important to consult a board certified dermatologist with experience with Thermage for the best cosmetic results. 

RF and Fat Melting

I do not have personal experience but have been at a plastic surgical meeting where panel members noted that fat transfer to the face or hands can "melt" with RF devices such as Thermage.

Radiofrequency and Facial Fat

Radiofrequency tightening does not cause any damage the underlying fat.  I suggest going only to an expert for this type of treatment.  Best, Dr. Emer.

Jason Emer, MD
Los Angeles Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 165 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.