Skin Tightening & Wrinkle Reduction with Pellevé vs. Thermage

The Pellevé Wrinkle Reduction System is the next-generation mono-polar radio frequency (RF) technology. Pellevé was given FDA clearance in May 2009 and is said to be the next generation Thermage. Pellevé and Thermage have many similar traits, both use mono-polar RF. The main differences are the delivery of the RF energy.

Essentially, Thermage and Pellevé work in the same way by delivering gradual energy to the skin, causing heat to build up where the skin and fat layer come together. The increasing heat modifies the collagen bundles deep inside the skin. This part of the process is called denaturation, which means the loss of structure of a protein (collagen is a chain of proteins) due to, amongst other things, the application of heat. The denaturation takes place at about 40°C to 42°C (104°F to 107.5°F). A decade ago, the accepted protocol for a maximum result was reaching 65°C (149°F), causing many negative side effects such as fat loss and epidermal burns. The denaturation of collagen fibers causes them to contract and, because they believe they are undergoing a trauma or thermal injury, they start stimulating the growth of new collagen. This results in firmer, tighter skin, with wrinkles minimized.

The differences between these devices is what makes Pellevé a more popular treatment. Thermage uses a stamping method in a grid-like pattern across the treatment area. Pellevé uses a constant motion, with a wand-like hand piece, ironing out the wrinkles. Thermage is usually a one-time treatment costing about $2,000 a session, and having to be completed all at one sitting. Pellevé uses a series of treatments to customize and “build” on each session. The foremost difference is the discomfort. Thermage uses cryogen to cool the skin before delivery of an incredibly painful sensation, often described as feeling like burning, hot elastic bands snapped across your face. Pellevé is usually compared to a hot stone massage, gradually heating the tissue in a comfortable manner.

Although both treatments have minimal to no downtime, they take a few months, (3 to 4 months on average) to see final results. Just as your hair will not grow 2 inches in one week, neither will your collagen, so you need to be realistic and patient about the expectations of the treatment. However, there is certainly some immediate gratification in that the skin feels very much firmer and looks plumper. The effects will last about 18 months. Patients are encouraged to get 1 to 2 touch-up treatments a year. The reason for Pellevé’s effectiveness is not the same as stimulating collagen to fill in superficial scars or wrinkles, but a deeper alteration in tissue volume, “remodeling” the soft tissue. Pellevé works best in conjunction with dermal fillers to add volume to the area, toxins to minimize the creasing of the skin, and resurfacing to re-texturize the epidermal tissue.

The cost of Pellevé starts at $150 a treatment depending on areas treated and the number of treatments recommended for a maximum result. Call today to schedule your complimentary consultation, to have your customized treatment protocol.

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