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What is ThermaCool?

ThermaCool is a procedure used to tighten loose skin as an alternative to surgery or Botox injections.  It tightens the skin by delivering heat to the lower layers of the skin.  This intense heat creates a “thermal wound,” which is healed naturally by the body.

The healing process causes an increased production of collagen and tightening of loose skin.  ThermaCool treatments can be used on the arms, breasts, abdominals, and legs.

How does ThermaCool work?

ThermaCool was created to provide an alternative to surgery for tightening skin.  The treatments work in an area beneath the outer layer of skin, called the dermis.  Radio waves are used to deliver intense heat to the dermis to create a “thermal wound.”  As the lower layer of skin heals, fine lines and wrinkles begin to smooth, and loose skin begins to tighten.  ThermaCool has also been known to improve acne, broken blood vessels and rosacea.

How are ThermaCool treatments performed?

An hour before the treatment, a numbing topical treatment is applied to the area being treated. The numbing treatment prevents discomfort during the procedure, but the patient will still feel a heat sensation.  If the topical treatment is not applied evenly, the patient may experience some discomfort.  The ThermaCool treatment applies radio frequency that generates energy and strong heat to the deepest layers of the skin. 

One treatment usually lasts less than 30 minutes.  The duration of the treatment depends on the size of the area being treated.  Anesthesia is usually not required, but slight sedatives are sometimes recommended.  Painkillers may be given depending on the patient’s sensitivity to facial pain.  Following the ThermaCool treatment, the area is cooled, heated, and cooled again to ensure patient comfort. 

Who is a candidate for ThermaCool?

Patients who desire quicker recovery times than are possible with surgical face lift procedures may find ThermaCool treatments advantageous.  ThermaCool is also beneficial for patients who are developing sagging skin in areas of the face, but may not be suitable candidates for a traditional face life. 

Individuals who have had a prior face lift and desire a further tightening of the skin may be good candidates for ThermaCool.  Before undergoing a ThermaCool procedure, individuals should consult with a cosmetic dermatologist to determine their candidacy.

Who is not a candidate for ThermaCool?

Individuals who are looking for more dramatic results may not be candidates for ThermaCool.  More dramatic results may be achieved through a surgical facelift.  Before undergoing a ThermaCool procedure, individuals should consult with a cosmetic dermatologist who can go over their treatment options and determine candidacy.

Are ThermaCool treatments painful?

The patient’s experience during the procedure depends on whether the topical anesthetic lotion is applied evenly and the patient's unique level of pain tolerance.  Taking a pain killer or mild sedative is suggested for each treatment, however discussing discomfort with the practicing physician is necessary to gain a firm understanding of what to expect and how to prepare for each treatment. 

How long is the healing process?

ThermaCool doesn’t harm the top layers of skin, so most patients can return to their daily routines the following day.  Swelling and bruising may occur, and the treated area may become slightly lumpy.  Lumpiness is a sign that the body has begun to heal, and will cease within a few days. 

Is ThermaCool safe?

ThermaCool is considered safe.  The treatment has been studied in hundreds of patients in the USA and Canada.  Reports have shown minimal adverse effects.  Some small damage to the skin may occur, but it is very rare.  Anesthesia is usually not used during a ThermaCool treatment, but sedatives may be used. 

There are no incisions made during the treatment.  It is not considered a risky procedure, and most patients may resume their daily activities the following day.  The most common complications include routine swelling and bruising following the procedure.

What results may be expected from ThermaCool?

The results after ThermaCool treatments vary with each patient.  Results may appear within a few weeks, or a few months.  It may take longer for some patients depending on how quickly the collagen rebuilds itself.  Results will also vary depending on the skin’s condition prior to the ThermaCool treatment.  Some individuals may need more treatments to obtain desired results. 

How much does a ThermaCool treatment cost?

Due to the cost of the equipment, materials, sedation and medical fees a ThermaCool treatment usually costs $1,000-$5,000 per treatment.  Treatment costs obviously will vary however depending on a number of factors and some skin care clinics and lending companies offer financing options.  Discussing the cost of treatment with a physician during consultation may offer more specific information for the patient.

Disclaimer: This information is intended only as an introduction to this procedure. This information should not be used to determine whether you will have the procedure performed nor does it guarantee results of your elective surgery. Further details regarding surgical standards and procedures should be discussed with your physician.

By Staff
Updated: December 14, 2008

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