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Face Lift Without Surgery - Thermage

Dear Dr. Dave and Dr. Dee,

I overheard someone at work mention a facelift treatment that did not involve cutting or injections (like BOTOX). Apparently, this treatment can be performed during their lunch hour? Do you know what this might be?



Dear Curious,

There is a safe non-invasive anti-wrinkle treatment that goes by several names such as "non-surgical face lift," radiofrequency, radio waves, or Thermage.

Radiofrequency or Thermage is non-surgical and works by delivering pulses of energy to the lower layers of skin, tightening and contracting the skin. The results can be immediate for some people, but may be gradual for others, perhaps not noticeable for several months. A second treatment may be needed if no results are evident after six months. Thermage treatment is quick, taking less than an hour with possible redness or swelling that may last a few hours.

According to InfoPlasticSurgery at, results can last 5-10 years. Because Thermage is so new (since 2000), only time will tell how long the results will really last. InfoPlasticSurgery gives the cost for a full face treatment around $2000 - $5000; partial face treatment (forehead, cheeks, or neck) about $1000 - $3000. InfoPlasticSurgery does not consider Thermage to be a replacement for a face lift.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology (, Dr. David J. Goldberg and his research team helped the device get FDA approval. Dr. Goldberg points out that these new technologies are not meant to replace aggressive surgical procedures, but can be an ideal alternative for the younger person who is beginning to see the signs of aging. Thermage can also be used in combination with other non-invasive treatments such as Botox (, 2009).

Below is a comparison of Thermage and face lift on treatment, recovery, and cost (, 2008).

THERMAGE: non-invasive treatment takes less than one hour with possible redness or swelling for a few hours or days. Results last 5-10 years, costs $2000-$5000.

FACE LIFT: major surgical procedure takes several hours, with days or weeks to recover. Results last about 5 years, and costs $7,000 to $9,000. Lose up to 2-5 lbs per Week!