The Skinny on ThermiTight Radiofrequency Skin Tightening
- ThermiTight is a minimally invasive, skin-tightening treatment with little downtime.
- It uses heat to melt fat and tighten saggy skin anywhere on the body.
- This fairly new device is shaping up to be an effective non-surgical rejuvenation treatment.
ThermiTight uses a device called ThermiRF to generate heat under the skin using a small, needle-like probe. According to the makers of the product, their FDA-cleared device harnesses temperature-controlled radiofrequency technology to achieve aesthetic outcomes, such as skin tightening.
Is ThermiTight Effective?
At different temperatures, ThermiTight technology is believed to have a range of skin beautification benefits that include increasing collagen production, shrinking connective tissue, pulling the skin tighter, and reducing the size of stubborn fat pockets. During the procedure, a ThermiTight clinician adjusts and monitors the heat applied to the skin and underlying tissue.
In an article in the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology, Dr. Douglas J. Key at Key Laser Center for Cosmetic Regenerative Medicine in Portland, OR confirmed the safety and efficacy of ThermiTight for the treatment of skin laxity or sagging.
In a small study of the effects of ThermiTight, Dr. Key found the reduction of skin laxity was statistically significant in 35 patients who received treatment (under the chin and jowls). No adverse events were reported.
Do the Effects Last?
Because the technology is fairly new, it isn’t yet known how long ThermiTight results last. In many cases, patients continue to see improvements up to 12 months after their initial treatment.
The general belief is that this procedure can be effective for two or more years. As the aging process never stops, further treatments may be necessary to maintain results.
Where on My Body Can I Get Treated?
ThermiTight is a non-surgical solution that produces results in a single application and requires minimal downtime. While most commonly applied to the face and neck, it can be used anywhere on the body, including the chest, arms, legs and abdomen.
ThermiTight Vs Other Skin Tightening Procedures
Of course, there are many other non-invasive treatments available for skin tightening and rejuvenation. Here’s how ThermiTight stack up against the competition, according to the cosmetic doctors we spoke with.
Ultherapy is a non-invasive, FDA approved ultrasound treatment that is meant to lift skin and improve the appearance of wrinkles on the neck, chin, eyebrow and décolletage. Washington, D.C. physician Dr. Drew Varano agrees that the two procedures are similar in theory, but the application and technology lead to different outcomes.
“In general, Ultherapy may not provide as much tightening needed for someone in their mid-50s to 70s, which ThermiTight can provide,” he says. “Thermitight also provides heating to 100% of the treated tissue, and the temperature can be increased higher than 60 degrees Celsius – 70 degrees Celsius if desired. This will cause fat lipolysis, which is beneficial if used in the neck and submental area.”
According to Dr. Varano, while Ultherapy is less invasive, ThermiTight is likely to have more dramatic and long-term tightening effects – partially due to its capability to melt fat.
Microneedling with PRP
Microneedling is the practice of penetrating the skin with very small needles to stimulate the production of collagen. It’s considered an effective, non-invasive procedure to improve skin texture. The introduction of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) kicks up this treatment’s benefits to a whole new level.
PRP is a serum made from a patient’s own blood, which has been extracted and placed in a centrifuge to isolate and collect the plasma. In a microneedling with PRP session, the patient undergoes microneedling for the standard length of time before being injected with PRP.
“Thanks to modern science, we now know that platelets contain various factors that stimulate the production of collagen, elastic fibers and new blood vessels,” says Dr. Dominique Mandeville of the Lafond-Mandeville medical clinic in Montreal, Canada.
“Microneedling causes direct trauma to the skin. As a result, the body rushes to repair the wounds, sending platelets and cells to the rescue. As platelets play a significant role in terms of growth factors, it seems particularly appealing to inject the plasma back into the skin through the punctured holes to really speed up the healing of the tissues,” she explains.
Although microneedling helps with skin texture, it doesn’t actually tighten and mold that skin. “Microneedling, preferably with Growth Factor Serum or PRP, is great for increasing collagen, treating fine lines and reversing the natural collagen loss we suffer as we age,” says Seattle physician Dr. Katherine Dee. “But the procedure – even a series of 3 – is not powerful enough to actually tighten skin and improve laxity in the lower face,” Dr. Mandeville concludes.
However effective microneedling with PRP is, it doesn’t achieve the same results as the slightly more invasive ThermiTight procedure. According to Bay Area facial plastic surgeon Dr. Evan Ransom, “If you are in need of tightening, the best non-surgical option, in my opinion, is ThermiTight.”
Silhouette InstaLift, from the makers of ThermiRF and ThermiTight, is a suture dotted with cones. When the suture is placed under the skin of the face, these cones act as anchors that hold tissue in place. Over time, the suture dissolves and the face is naturally shaped by collagen that has formed around the cones.
Silhouette InstaLift is only approved for use in the mid face, where it physically lifts sagging tissue. Because the sutures do dissolve and tissue continues to age, the maximum duration of results with Silhouette InstaLift is usually only a few years. By comparison, ThermiTight can be used anywhere on the body and, though the technology is still too new to be certain, indicators point to its effectiveness lasting for at least two or more years.
Silhouette InstaLift is one of the facial rejuvenation treatments most often compared to ThermiTight, but it’s important to remember that the effects are different for each of these treatments.
“If the consideration is choosing between threads [InstaLift] and ThermiTight, the choice in my opinion should almost always be ThermiTight. This works best on people with relatively elastic necks, a modest amount of fat which can be shrunk, and some mild skin laxity,” says Orlando plastic surgeon Dr. Richard O. Gregory. “Threads are usually a disappointment because of the relatively short-lived result.”
What Are the Side Effects?
Dr. Jean Keamy, of the Keamy Cosmetic Centre in Westborough, MA, notes that both the downtime and risk associated with ThermiTight are minimal. “ThermiTight does cause some initial swelling and bruising in the area. There is little downtime. Patients can go to work the next day,” says Dr. Keamy.
“We do recommend wearing a compression garment for 48 hours. Some patients have mild pain for 24 hours. Ice and Tylenol help immensely. Some people complain of numbness or tingling in the area for three months. Injury of a nerve, bleeding, infection, and burn are rare side effects,” she adds.
What Will Thermitight Cost Me?
From coast to coast, the cost of ThermiTight remains fairly consistent. In the United States, a patient can expect to pay an average of $3,500 per treatment.
Dr. Keamy estimates that the cost of a treatment ranges from $2,500 to $3,500, depending on the area treated. Medical esthetician Holly Cutler of Bingham Farms, MI says pricing can range anywhere from $2,500 to $5,000 USD, depending on where it is applied, while board-certified dermatologist Dr. Kathleen L. Behr in Fresno, CA notes that pricing is around $3,500 USD per area of treatment.
A Method Many Medical Professionals Prefer
Surgical solutions are still considered the gold standard for long-lasting and impactful results when it comes to skin tightening. But when the discussion turns to non-invasive skin-tightening methods, ThermiTight seems to be the front-runner.
Dr. Keamy says ThermiTight is her skin-tightening method of choice for her patients, as does Cutler.
“For more intensive lifting for those who are considering a facelift and want other options, ThermiTight is hands down the best alternative and quickly becoming the most popular treatment option,” Cutler says.
Likewise, health and wellness expert Caleb Backe of Farmingdale, NJ-based Maple Holistics already sees ThermiTight rising in popularity as more of the public and medical community are exposed to the new technology.
“The system is currently used as a more cost-effective and less painful substitute to plastic surgery, which usually involves a number of lengthy treatments, high costs and more pain. ThermiTight is becoming a more popular substitute as the results of the system become clearer over time,” he concludes.
While ThermiTight technology is new, patients and medical professionals alike are excited by the possibilities offered by this minimally-invasive procedure. The long-lasting, skin-tightening procedure comes at a reasonable cost and provides an attractive alternative to those seeking facial and body rejuvenation without going under the knife.
Ask a Cosmetic Doctor on Zwivel
Got a question about a cosmetic treatment? With over 2,000 doctor answers and counting, the Zwivel forum is the best place to get expert professional opinions.
Hundreds of questions have already been answered: