About Thermi systems Part 1: ThermiTight for neck tightening

I noticed that you mentioned Thermitight. I had it done two years ago for looseness around my jaw and neck and my neck is now much worse and my chin is still numb. They told me that the numbness would clear up but it did not. The location is a major provider in my area and I see nothing negative about them or about the procedure. Did I just get unlucky?

Thank you for writing and reminding me that I need to talk about this with all of you! This system (the “Thermi” systems”) are made by the same company but have quite different effects and are very different procedures. Let’s go one by one. This blog we will talk about ThermiTight. I’ll do the ThermiSmooth and the ThermiVa in my next two posts.

ThermiTight for neck tightening:  

This is COMPLETELY different than the other two “Thermis”, except that it still uses radiofrequency.   After injectible (not topical) numbing, this procedure uses radiofrequency delivered with a probe that is inserted UNDER the skin (not on top like the others). The probe is temperature controlled at the tip and then a temperature reading camera is positioned to read the temperature on top of the skin. I would love other comments on experience with this procedure.

The idea is that tightening might be more effective if delivered from under the skin rather than on top of the skin. It’s a good idea except that the problems have been burns (sometimes full thickness with scar creation), lack of results sometimes, and nerve injury like the one you are describing and worse. These side effects are not to be taken lightly.

Possible Side Effects:

  • Burns –  more self explanatory. The dual temperature monitoring both above and below the skin should prevent these right? Except that the temperature probes don’t always work perfectly and, if the person doing the procedure isn’t paying careful attention to the speed of the tip of the probe, areas can overheat and create a burn. There’s definately room for human error here.
  • Nerve Injuries –  these are also concerning. There are two types. The company’s  position on these is that they go away, but clearly not all of them do.  One type is the numbness which you are describing which is an injury to the nerves in the skin itself (cutaneous nerves) which is definately annoying.    The second type is more serious and occurs when a branch of the marginal mandibular nerve is injured (this nerve runs along the jawline deep). If this occurs, it creates an uneven smile because the lower lip pops up unnaturally on the injured side. These are also supposed to clear after 3-4 months, but there are now annecdotal reports of them not always resolving, at least in that time frame.
  • Lack of results. Of course, the website and promotional materials post all sorts of great results. It’s clear that a certain percentage of patients get little to no results but we don’t know why (technique, limits of the technology) or what that percentage is yet.

Bottom Line: Avoid this procedure until more information is known.

Interestingly, the doctor in L.A. who has done a lot of the research and promotion of this device, is also a part owner of the company. That always gives me pause.

Hope this helps,   Dr. I

Dr. Brandith Irwin, MD

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