UAB Dermatologists Now Offer Non-Invasive Skin Tightening

The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Department of Dermatology is offering a new non-surgical, needle-free skin-tightening procedure that doctors say smoothes wrinkles, firms up baggy or loose skin and improves body contours.

November 18, 2009

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Department of Dermatology is offering a new non-surgical, needle-free skin-tightening procedure that doctors say smoothes wrinkles, firms up baggy or loose skin and improves body contours.

The outpatient cosmetic procedure is performed with Thermage®, a device that contours skin all over the body - face, eyelids, neck, abdomen, arms, legs and more - using focused radio waves.

"Thermage emits radio waves that travel very deeply into the skin and the subcutaneous tissue to promote collagen remodeling and help tighten skin," says Marian Northington, M.D., a UAB assistant professor of dermatology and expert in cosmetic skin procedures.

"Thermage works well on patients who want a younger appearance and improved skin tone without relying on surgery, injections or chemical applications," Northington says. "It is safe for all skin types, light skin and dark skin, and it works well for all body areas.

"You get some immediate tightening that occurs after treatment, and then the skin continues to improve subtly over time by getting tighter and firmer for up to four to six months."

Thermage treatments can usually be performed in one or two sessions lasting from 20 minutes to more than an hour, depending on the treatment area. Anesthesia is not required. A dermatologist can advise if multiple treatments are needed based on patient preference, treatment area and other factors.

During a Thermage treatment, a slight warmth on the skin signals that radiofrequency energy is being absorbed. This warmth indicates that collagen is being stimulated and tightened, Northington says. Afterward, the treated skin may be slightly red for a day or two; the patient's work schedule, daily routines and sun exposure can remain unchanged.

The Thermage treatment system is approved for the non-invasive treatment of wrinkles and eyelids and to improve the appearance of cellulite. Thermage is made by Solta Medical Inc. of Hayward, Calif.

About the UAB Department of Dermatology

The UAB Department of Dermatology is recognized nationally as a leader in high-quality, compassionate, leading-edge patient care. The department's primary goal is to care for patients with dermatologic disease, train physician specialists and conduct breakthrough basic, translational and clinical research relating to dermatology. UAB is an internationally renowned research university and academic health center whose professional schools and specialty patient care programs are consistently ranked as among the nation's top 50; find more information at www.uab.edu and www.uabmedicine.org.