Non-Surgical Skin Tightening
Dr. Brooke R. Seckel
Nonsurgical skin tightening is the use of various types of laser, radiofrequency or RF, infrared or IR, or ultrasound machines to tighten loose or sagging skin of the face, belly, stomach, neck, chin or thighs.
Skin tightening machines tighten skin by producing heat in the deeper layers of the skin which causes inflammation in the skin collagen and elastin. The inflammation causes the formation of new collagen and elastin. The new collagen and elastin are shorter and stronger, and pull the skin tighter to firm or tone the skin. These devices cool the surface of the skin so that the laser, radiofrequency, infrared or ultrasound energy passes through the skin surface without thermal injury.
Yes. However, Realself.com patient reviews recorded only a 37% “worth it” vote. It does not work as well as a surgical lift. Patients often have to be shown a photograph to see the difference. Nonsurgical skin tightening is most useful to tighten minor loose skin folds that recur after a facelift or tummy tuck.
The benefits are:
Yes, the major reason patients stop treatment is pain. However, we use a topical numbing cream which helps control discomfort.
It is safe if done by an experienced physician or approved nurse or medical aesthetician.
A series of 4 costs $2500-$4000.
Skin tightening machines are only as good as the operator. In my experience the best result that non-surgical or non-invasive skin tightening can achieve is 20% compared to that achieved by a surgical lift. There is no best machine.
Laser resurfacing was the first non-surgical skin tightening technique used. Ablative Laser resurfacing and more recently combined laser resurfacing all can produce skin tightening.
Thermage®, now called ThermaCool NXT was the first. Other RF devices include Exilis® Elite, Accent XL®, Elos®, Matrix RF®. Viora Reaction® and Venus Freeze®.
Titan®, LuxIR Deep®, and Sciton SkinTyte® are IR devices, Infrared skin tightening is less painful than RF.
Ulthera® is the newest ultrasound skin tightening device. Accent UltraV® combines ultrasound and RF.
The area to be treated will be covered with a cooling gel. The treatment tip will be pressed against the skin and a pulse of heat will be applied. This technique is repeated multiple times across the area to be tightened. Frequently a second pass is done. Small areas can be treated in 20-30 minutes, larger areas take an hour.
The skin will be temporarily pink after treatment.
No recovery is required.
The main risk is a skin burn. Proper technique with FDA cleared devices should avoid a burn. Some radiofrequency devices have caused depressions or deformity in the skin because the RF dissolved fat beneath the skin. Potential complications of the ultrasound devices include nodules or lumps beneath the skin, temporary numbness and nerve injury.
Final results take 6 months after last treatment.
State law determines who may perform skin tightening treatments. In many states only doctors can use skin tightening devices. In some states, including Massachusetts, a trained, certified nurse, P A or medical aesthetician under physician supervision can do skin tightening treatments.
Boston Plastic Surgery Specialists is pleased to offer a range of body contouring procedures to help patients look and feel their best. Dr. Seckel is a leading provider of non-surgical skin tightening in Boston, MA, as well as laser resurfacing. To learn more about these minimally invasive treatments, please contact our office today.