Thermi Systems Part 3: ThermiSmooth for face, neck and body – does it work?
This is the third installment of my blogs reviewing the ThermiSystems. The first post was on the ThermiTight (read it here) which is the part of this system used on the neck. It has a probe/head that goes underneath the skin (instead of on top). The second post was on the ThermiVA (check it out here) which is the part of this system designed to tighten the vaginal area both internally and externally. I’ve spent the past year researching Thermi systems carefully and comparing them to other existing systems that all use different forms of radiofrequency. The alternatives include Thermage, Ultherapy, Peleve, Exilis, and some others. As part of that research I’ve personally gotten treatments with all of these besides Pelece to experience how they felt and compared. I have personally tried all the 3 different Thermi Systems procedures.
ThermiSmooth vs. Competitors
The ThermiSmooth is similar to Thermage, Ultherapy, Peleve, Exilis, and other radiofrequency systems. The skin is tightened by a tip/head that is applied to the OUTSIDE of regular skin (not mucosa like the vagina). Heat is then generated by sound waves. This tightens existing collagen and stimulate the cells (fibroblasts) that make collagen to make more of it. In my opinion, all of these systems (competitors and ThermiSmooth) get about the same results: okay to good in the right patients.
Are you a good candidate for ThermiSmooth?
Best candidates for ThermiSmooth: The patients that do best with this technology tend to be aged 25-55 with skin of medium thickness. Patients with very thin skin, very thick oily skin, and some over age 65 tend to not get as good results. Our skin gets thinner as we get older. None of these systems give dramatic results and they are not similar to a facelift. Only by combining Botox/Dysport, plus fillers, plus radiofrequency and sometimes laser, can we get a facelift-like result in certain patients.
Conclusion on ThermiSmooth
Here’s my opinion on how ThermiSmooth stacks up to the competition:
Face: Thermage still gets the best results on the face with the greatest comfort. ThermiSmooth/Exilis is next best. Ultherapy has similar results but more painful. Didn’t test Pelleve – patients report it’s painful, though.
Neck: Exilis or ThermiSmooth. I suggest avoiding the ThermiTight, which can have serious side effects. Read my full review of it here.
Arms, Chest, Abdomen: Same as neck.
Legs: None of these procedures mentioned here give great results for legs, but you can get some improvement with a series of 4 done about 2 weeks apart.
Conclusion on ThermiVA
Generally ThermiVa gets good results. The goal of the ThermiVA (which I review more in depth here) is to tighten the vaginal opening for greater sexual pleasure, to improve mild to moderate stress incontinence, and to tighten the skin of the labia to “improve the appearance.” On that last one, I would argue, do we really need one more thing that we feel any pressure to improve the appearance of?! I think not, but others might disagree.
Conclusion on ThermiTight
ThermiTight (more details on this here) is very different than the ThermiSmooth, in that the probe is used under the skin. It is being marketed for all sorts of things including breast lifts. There is potential for nerve damage with this. I would recommend waiting for more data and doctor experience.
Hope this helps, Dr. I