As with any medical procedure, there are always risks. The question is what are they, and are they reasonable given the procedure and potential benefits? So, the short and dirty answer is: yes, there are risks, but they could well be worth the benefits you can derive from Thermage. But, let’s look at those risks.
Some people claim that there is no down time associated with the Thermage procedure, but that is not the case. Generally, one to three days of fatigue and soreness it typical, but you will usually feel no pain during the actual treatment.
As a precaution, patients are usually given a sedative anyway. Also, you may experience some significant redness at the site of the Thermage procedure. Depending on the area of the body exposed, and the duration of the Thermage treatment, some swelling, tingling, discoloration or even blisters may appear on the skin, and some light scarring. You may also experience a slight burning sensation for a few days.
It is usually advised that you stay out of the sun for at least a couple of days after having Thermage treatment. These adverse side effects of Thermage normally disperse anywhere from a few hours to several days after the treatment, but in some instances they have lasted as long as a few weeks – in a few rare cases. There have been a few very rare reports of bruising, but this is also extremely uncommon. One other effect that repeated Thermage treatments have caused is an irregularity to the treatment area; the skin takes on bumps, dimples and/or indentations. However, this has been observed in less than one-tenth of one percent of patients; so it is clearly not a significant problem. It appears that the break up the collagen under the treatment area can cause this difficulty, but only if the Thermage is applied to one site repeatedly in a very narrow scope. Specialists’ report that simply moving the Thermage device around and pointing it at the skin from a different angle eliminates this issue altogether. Also, unlike a laser procedure, there is no risk of significant burning to the skin.
As the Thermage procedure was only developed in 2008, there are not any long term studies concerning the possible health affects of Thermage. Some early reports indicate that the skin’s texture may weaken and that there is some loss of subcutaneous fat. Now, some people consider the loss of fat to be a good thing, but some fat is needed in order to assure good health. If you should engage in too many Thermage treatments over several years, there are concerns that dryness of the skin, discoloration and scarring (that sometime follow the procedure) may persist. It is really advisable that you review your medical history and all of the potential side effects with your skin care specialist and doctor before having Thermage treatment.