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Full body RF Thermage? cleared to tighten tissue body-wide

Article-Full body RF Thermage? cleared to tighten tissue body-wide

National report — Radiofrequency (RF) tissue tightening with Thermage® gained a large following in the periorbital and mid/lower face regions for which it originally gained Food and Drug Administration (FDA) clearance.

Now, with FDA clearance for its use on any part of the body, physicians are exploring the new indication.

New tip, new territory

Likewise, the manufacturer has stepped up with a new Body by Thermage™ brand, and, coming this winter, Tummy by Thermage™, to address stomach skin laxity.

The product includes a new 3 cm tip that, practitioners say, helps with such body procedures.

"We've been really happy with the 3 cm tip on the face and we're going to start doing the stomach soon," Jean Carruthers, M.D., a British Columbia-based cosmetic surgeon, tells Cosmetic Surgery Times.

Dr. Carruthers says treating patients' stomachs and upper inner thighs with the previous 1-1/2 cm tip was highly uncomfortable, but that the new tip, along with analgesic, should work well in those areas. Even with the new tip, however, medication is likely needed for the associated pain.

"You need to do a number of passes in order to provide the desired change," she explains. "But each pass hurts, so patients (need) some medication to get them through this."

Other promising areas include the sagging skin under the arms, drooping kneecap skin, sagging buttocks, reduction of calf muscles in the legs — even rhinophyma.

"(Its) use with rhinophyma makes sense because the old way to treat that was dermabrasion or the CO2 laser, and Thermage® offers much less down-time than those," Dr. Carruthers says.

The plus of requiring very little downtime also makes it a highly attractive alternative to laser for many indications, Dr. Carruthers adds.

Physicians are also finding the technology useful in sequence with other procedures — following liposuction, for instance, which can leave skin lax after fat removal, says Ronald Moy, M.D., a clinical professor at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles.

"(It) helps after liposuction because it tightens and lifts the skin slightly," Dr. Moy says.

He notes that, since RF heats deeply into the dermis, practitioners should consider treating before or after liposuction, when the skin is not anesthetized. Then patients can give feedback, and problems of too-high energies settings can be avoided.

Disclosure: Dr. Carruthers has received funding from Thermage® for a clinical study, but reports no disclosures relevant to this article.

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