What is ThermiTight?
ThermiTight is a procedure that uses radio-frequency energy to tighten the skin more aggressively than external therapy can do and less aggressively than plastic surgery. ThermiTight fills the gap for patients who don’t need or want a surgical lifting procedure, but want visible skin-tightening results.
This technique works to stimulate and renew collagen from the inside out. By applying energy from underneath the skin, it directly targets the collagen layer and heats it to the exact temperature needed to trigger optimal collagen renewal.
During a ThermiTight procedure, the doctor makes a small incision in a strategic location and inserts a small surgical probe underneath the skin. This probe emits radio-frequency energy monitored externally by the ThermiTight device and internally by a thermostat-like mechanism on the probe. The probe brings the collagen layer to 60-65 degrees Celsius, the critical temperature to tighten collagen and to stimulate further remodeling.
To regulate temperature, internal heat sensors in the probe control the heat to increase or decrease based on the temperature of the collagen layer. This ensures the collagen fibers are heated enough to effect change, but guards against overheating the surrounding tissues and overlying skin.
Additionally, military-grade thermal cameras monitor the skin’s surface temperature. The skin will become hot on the outside as it heats internally. The risk of surface overheating is diminished by keeping the external skin temperature at or below 42 to 44 degrees Celsius. These highly controlled safety mechanisms ensure we stay within the parameters for healthy injury to the collagen without risking adverse side effects.
During the procedure, tightening develops on the inside of the skin within the collagen layer. The effects then continue to improve for six months, the time it takes for full renewal and regeneration of collagen to reach its maximum level.
At its best, ThermiTight can produce neck lift type results. Most of the time, there’s moderate tightening that’s less significant than surgical lifts, but recognizable and satisfying.
What Areas Can ThermiTight Treat?
ThermiTight serves as a helpful approach to tightening skin in multiple body locations. It can treat most areas of the body can that benefit from tightening, including the:
- Lower face
- Upper chest/ breasts
Specifically, it can be used to tighten the neck and lower face; to lift, tighten, or shrink breast tissue; or to tighten loose skin in the abdomen, legs, thighs, buttocks, and knees.
Are There Alternative Treatments to ThermiTight?
For patients with loose skin in the lower face, jawline, or neck areas, there are other energy based devices on the market that claim to produce skin tightening. Those treatments can carry a risk of scarring and are painful to go through. Performed under injectable local anesthesia, ThermiTight treatment is painless and produces a result that over 90% of patients are pleased with and who would do the treatment again.
Skin laxity of the neck and jawline is often combined with excessive fat deposits in the same areas. ThermiTight is often combined with liposuction of these fat deposits during the same surgical procedure and under the same local anesthetic. Treatment of the fat deposits alone can accentuate the appearance of skin laxity by decreasing the deeper volume that was stretching the overlying loose skin. This allows the previously stretched skin to hang loose and look worse than before. Tightening performed along with fat reduction can minimize this undesirable effect.
ThermiTight for the neck, jawline, and face can leave patients looking like they had a face-lift. Patients are extremely satisfied with the results, both in our office and in other practices.
What Should You Expect During A ThermiTight Treatment?
Before a ThermiTight procedure, the physician injects local anesthesia under the skin surface to the treatment sites. Injections are done through a tiny blunt tipped cannula inserted through several small access sites that were previously created. The physician then begins the procedure, which typically last 2-3 hours. During this time, carefully monitored and controlled heat is delivered. Maintaining optimal temperature over time is vital to the success of this procedure.
This is not a “no down-time” procedure, especially around the face and neck. When the face and neck are treated, expect significant swelling in the days following the procedure. In other areas of the body, expect mild to moderate swelling and tenderness, but you can continue with most activities.
We recommend patients wear compression garments continually for three days following their procedure followed by night time only compression for three more days. These garments help diminish swelling. Mild to moderate swelling can last several weeks.
Patients should expect to see bruising in the treated areas which will resolve over 10-14 days.
Numbness may also occur in the treated areas which may last for 4-6 weeks. Because the heating stuns the sensory nerve endings, these nerves may become temporarily dysfunctional. If nerves that control muscle function are overheated, then temporary muscle weakness can develop resulting in asymmetry of the lower lip and a crooked smile. This side effect should resolve over 2-4 weeks, but may last longer.
ThermiTight is designed as a one-time procedure — it does not require a series of treatments to be effective. If you’d like to see further tightening, we can reevaluate the potential effectiveness of additional treatment after six months. Since additional collagen remodelling and tightening occurs over time, it would be ill-advised to conduct another treatment before collagen healing is complete.
Treatment results last 1-2 years. Repeat treatments can produce additional tightening if desired.
Who can administer ThermiTight?
This is a physician-performed procedure. Because it involves administration of anesthesia and the creation of access sites through the skin, it should only be conducted by a physician trained in ThermiTight treatments.
Who are the best candidates?
ThermiTight is a great choice of treatment for patients who are not in need of more aggressive surgical treatment but would like to see visible tightening results on their face, neck, jawline, or other areas of loose skin.
What are the side effects?
In addition to numbness, patients could also experience motor nerve dysfunction for up to 6 weeks or longer after we treat the face or neck. There’s a specific nerve in the anatomical makeup of the jawline that controls muscle activity of the chin and the lower lip, and that nerve is at risk during any surgical procedure in that zone.
When damaged, patients may experience transient dysfunction, making the side of the face look uneven. Even with pre-operative tracing of the nerve using a nerve stimulator to map out the patient’s exact nerve pathway, there is still a risk that the nerve may become dysfunctional for a short time.
If the nerve is damaged during ThermiTight, it will recover and return to its normal function, typically within 6 weeks or less. Muscle dysfunction can occasionally take longer to resolve. We can counter these temporary side effects with Botox injections on the opposite side of the face until full nerve function returns.
What results should I expect?
For the face, neck, and jaw, results are almost immediately visible. On some patients, results are close to that of a neck lift or face lift. Results can, however, be variable.
For the rest of the body, expect results to be less drastic than facial and neck results. The thickness and weight of the skin off the face and neck is heavier, which may make it more resistant to change. When treating collagen in thinner skin, we can tighten it easier. For thicker skin, there has to be more heating to produce visible change.
Overall, this procedure is helpful in remodeling laxity of the skin. While not an aggressive invasive and incisional treatment option, it brings a reasonably good response no matter where it is used.
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