Thermage CPT: research it before doing it on your face

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Hello Everyone, The story of how I managed to...

Hello Everyone,

The story of how I managed to ruin my face forever begins like this:

I was starting a new job and thought I was beginning to look a little tired and showing my age fore the first time. I wanted a procedure that did not involve a face lift, cutting or lasers. I wanted something less invasive that would give me a subtle pick me up. Unfortunately, I listened to the esthetician at the med spa when she advised me to have Thermage, a radiofrequency device which is supposed to deliver "controlled heat damage" to the collagen in your skin to promote self healing from within. This probably DOES happen for some patients which is why you may read some good reviews and bad reviews, however, if you have thin, sensitive skin that easily becomes irritated by chemicals, winter weather, etc., this is not be the procedure for you. I definitely would not do it on your face, and if you do, please only have a DOCTOR or VERY experienced nurse do the procedure. I unknowingly had an inexperienced esthetician do it (which I only found out after the procedure that she was new) and now at the age of 48, my skin looks 75 and I am drooling out of one side of my mouth. I have huge unwanted fat volume loss and my facial contours have changed forever. I have ice pick scars and trench-like divots of fat loss all over my face. I have 1000's of white milia (bumps) and orange peel texture. I have hugely enlarged pores. Square and diamond shaped scars, huge bags under my eyes ..... I really cannot bare to take any pictures or look at myself in the mirror. I have aged 20 years since February (10 months ago) because of Thermage. I would give anything to turn back time and get my skin back the way it was before Thermage.

I am scheduled to see a neurologist for the facial paralysis and drooling and I will need several thousands of dollars in fat transfers and skin resurfacing treatments such as micro-needling, derma pen and PRP (platelet rich plasma) to save the skin on my face. My (deceased) Grandfather was a dermatologist and allergist, so my entire life I avoided the sun and wore sunscreen, I never smoked, never had acne, never had any prior damage of any sort to my face. My skin was beautiful because of a lifetime of clean living and sunscreen and in a one hour session, I damaged it forever, It is irreversible. Its bumpy, rough and red every day. I have leathery looking wrinkles. I have so much fat loss that my friends at a recent Christmas party asked me what happened to my face and if I had been sick or something. I now have triple bags and wrinkles under my eyes, on my forehead and chin and all along my jawline. The Thermage technician repeatedly passed the device over the same areas of my jaw, forehead and sides of mouth 15-20 times until I asked her why she was repeating those areas so often. She said "oh, that's where I am anchoring your skin to your face to pick it up", I wanted to get up and leave the room mid- procedure, I was really going to do it and I heard a little voice inside of me saying to just trust people and stop trying to control every situation. The ironic part of this is I am a medical device trainer, so I should have listened to my gut instincts when I felt like this girl did not know the device very well.

Long story short, I just want to save anyone else from getting this procedure done on their face. It it's WAY too risky because you have zero idea of how your skin will react to being melted or over treated by radiofrequency energy.

Take a look at the photos and judge for yourself. I tried to find the clearest "before" pics I could, the cell phone camera is all I have and it doesnt show the texture very well. I will try to see if I can upload more after finding a better camera.The PS's office where I had Thermage would not give me my chart and "before"photos when I requested it. Hmmm, sign of a guilty party don't you think? Very unethical practice to damage a patient's face and not even help to fix it. Sorry in advance for the sideways pics. No way to edit in the app and they are upright on my computer.

More photos taken 9 and 10 months after Thermage

I found some better photos taken with a different camera. They show the texture damage, the divots and other scars in better detail. Sorry in advance for so many photos, but I feel they really show what can happen and why to avoid radiofrequency treatments on the face.

The damage continues 11 month photos

Hi All, Oh boy, it just wont stop. Please someone tell me how to fix this? I gave up on a fix bc I paid $200 on average per consult x 5 consults and all plastic surgeons I saw "cannot see the damage" under their crappy fluorescent lights. I have a child to raise and a full time job, I dont have time & money for this, but desperately want a solution so I can go to one doc and take care of it. Thanks in advance!

1 year before Thermage

1 year after Thermage

One year post Thermage, the "gift" that keeps on taking

Lovely isn't it? So glad I paid someone to make me look 20 years older.

Perfect rectangle burned into my chin

Isnt radiofrequeny awesome? You too can pay miney to have rectangles burned into your dace, lol:-)

12 months after Thermage CPT- red skin, huge pores


Black and white really brings out the damage. The redness distracts from the mottled texture in previous photos.

Forgot this one

Right cheek


Not impressed yet. Hopefully I have not wasted more money. This entire experience has drained my in every way. I decided I will only update when I discover something of significance about my repair experience. Stay tuned:)

2 years before. Notice overall shape of face.

1 yr 3 mos after Thermage. Face shape changed completely.

Okay, I said I wouldn't post unless I had some important treatment breakthrough... Well, I'm breaking that promise. My face is breaking down further and I am just updating those changes. Please all, I don't want this to happen to you.

Mouth damage 1.5 yrs after

Hello All, Ive pretty much decided I will live with the damage without treatment for now. I wear pore smoothing corrector, then foundation which helps mask some textural damage. The contracted skin, muscle and fascia have pulled my mouth down on left side. People stare at it a bit and it changes how I speak. I'm going to post this photo on the doctor Q&A board to see what suggestions the have. This has been an ongoing problem since my one application of Thermage 1.5 yrs ago. I can't fix it now due to needing to get on with my life, but it has changed me forever.

2 yrs before Thermage

I miss my healthy looking face.

Crooked mouth

Great news!

I finally found a doctor who actually sees the damage and even found damage I didnt see. He was teaching medical students that were folloing him and pointed out several areas of damage. He said he can help restore my face siignificantly, but not completey. He also confirmed my facial nerve damage is permanant. Im so thrilled because if they cant see it, they cant treat it. Its going to cost a ton because I will need 6 vials of Restelyn to just get started, but I was expecting that. I will need to do this every year also, so im probablt going to do fillers to get started and eventually get fat transfer. It really helped that I brought a great "before" photo from just days before my damage. Should get started next week, wish me luck.

2 years before Thermage

So, many people said they just dont see much of a difference or dont see why im so upset bc the damage is not bad. Found better before and afters. Got a better camera. This is the textyre before.


Even with volume improvement, nothing can fix the texture. This is now. Photo taken with a better camera, better lighting and no makeup.

My skin on 2/26/17

Ive learned to live with it. The morphing never stops. Please be warned to only do RF with an experienced doc. No estheticians unless you have seen their work on someone you know.
Prefer not to say right now

Doctor is more interested in his surgery patients than his med spa patients.

1 out of 5 stars Overall rating
1 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
1 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
1 out of 5 stars After care follow-up
2 out of 5 stars Time spent with me
1 out of 5 stars Phone or email responsiveness
1 out of 5 stars Staff professionalism & courtesy
2 out of 5 stars Payment process
2 out of 5 stars Wait times
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