Minimally invasive procedure touted as 'magic wand' for tightening skin

Loose skin treatment: Does it work?
Updated: Feb. 9, 2017 at 10:33 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - As we age, we tend to pick apart our bodies. But at the age of 46, Lisa Raines may be more critical than most.

"Because I don't like my neck, so everything that I've tried, skincare, lasers, chemical peels, microdermabrasion, needling, doesn't lift it like this," Raines said.

On most days, she's an esthetician. On this day, she's a patient whose only focus is on tightening her neck, specifically the skin under her chin.

"Well it's thinner skin so as gravity pulls here, if you do this, the neck goes up. As this falls, the skin tends to fall too," she said.

Not a candidate for a face lift, she opted for a minimally invasive procedure called Thermi Tight.

"There's no downtime, it's minimally invasive and it works for tightening tissue," said Metairie plastic surgeon Dr. Kamran Khoobehi. "It's not to remove the fat or melt the fat, just to tighten the tissue."

Dr. Khoobehi said loose skin is a natural part of aging, but it's different for everybody.

"In some patients, it's more accelerated, based on lifestyle from losing or gaining weight, smoking, sun exposure, so some patients are a little bit more accelerated compared to others," he said.

Here's how the Thermi Tight procedure works: Doctors make a tiny incision near the targeted area, then go under the skin with a wand-like device that emits radio frequency energy. The idea is to heat the tissue enough to damage it, so it can repair itself and cause cells in the skin to make more collagen and elastin, making the skin tighter.

"You want to warm up the tissue to cause some damage without burning it. You want tissue damage, but you don't want to burn it or have irreparable damage want to heat it up," Dr. Khoobehi said.

With Thermi Tight, an infrared camera monitors the skin temperature during treatment to keep the patient safe. There is risk of swelling and bruising, but the whole procedure takes 20 to 30 minutes and the results can be dramatic.

In before and after photos, patients see big changes in their necks, their abdomens, and even their drooping arms. Thermi can be done from head to toe.    With a different type of wand used non-invasively, Thermi Smooth can rejuvenate sagging eyelids. Patients say it feels like a warm stone massage.

With different sized applicators for different areas of the body, Thermi Smooth can reduce love handles, firm up thighs, knees and abdomens.

"This fits in as an option for patients who are not candidates for surgery," Dr. Khoobehi said.

It's skin tightening without surgery, a remodeling of sorts for those who refuse to give in to the aging process.

"I'm gonna fight it. I always say it's war," Raines said. "I will fight it."

Thermi Tight can be done in one treatment. Thermi Smooth takes a few treatments. Depending on the area treated, it can cost from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars, and while results are impressive, they take a few months to be seen.

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