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Non-invasive skin tightening treatments have become increasingly popular due to their efficacy and minimal recovery time. Among these treatments, Exilis and Thermage stand out for their widespread use in cosmetic medical clinics, their safety profile and patient satisfaction.

Monopolar RF

Exilis & Thermage Technology and Mechanism

Both Exilis and Thermage are monopolar radiofrequency (RF) treatments. This technology works by delivering energy through a single electrode, creating a closed-loop circuit that penetrates deeply into the dermal layers. The RF energy generates uniform heating of the tissues, leading to immediate collagen contraction and stimulation of new collagen production. This controlled thermal effect triggers the body’s natural healing response, enhancing the skin’s elasticity and firmness. The precise targeting of the RF energy allows for effective remodelling of the collagen matrix without damaging the surface layers of the skin, resulting in smoother and tighter skin. Both treatments are versatile and known for their high safety standards (TGA and FDA-approved).

Rejuvenating the Upper Face

In the upper face, particularly around the brow and peri-orbital area, monopolar RF technology offers highly effective, safe and gentle rejuvenation. The energy penetrates deep into the dermis, heating collagen fibres to induce ‘thermal injury’ in turn promoting long-term collagen synthesis. This process lifts the brow and enhances the eye area’s appearance, reducing crow’s feet and fine lines. By focusing energy below the skin’s surface, it achieves noticeable improvements without noticeable signs of having undergone treatment.

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Exilis treatment


Thermage treatment

RF Alone vs. Combination

Thermage works on the monopolar RF mechanism alone, whereas Exilis combines this with ultrasound, providing a broader range of applications and potentially more comprehensive treatment options. Not to be confused with the Exilis body contouring treatment; the smaller facial hand piece used for rejuvenation does not disrupt facial fat. The ultrasound component enhances the depth of penetration and the uniformity of the heat distribution, making the treatment effective for both superficial and deeper layers of the skin.

Other Differences and Practical Considerations

In terms of patient experience, Exilis is often reported to be more comfortable due to its gradual heating process, whereas Thermage can cause brief discomfort during RF pulses. Exilis typically requires multiple sessions (about 4-6), each lasting 30-60 minutes, while Thermage usually delivers noticeable results after a single session, which can last from 45 minutes to 2 hours. Thermage results are often visible immediately and can last up to a year or more, whereas Exilis results appear gradually over several sessions but also offer long-lasting benefits. In terms of cost-effectiveness, Exilis tends to be the more affordable treatment option.

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Exilis skin tightening before and after

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Thermage skin tightening before and after

Clinical Outcomes and Patient Satisfaction

Clinical studies and patient feedback indicate high efficacy for both treatments, with significant improvements in skin tightness and texture. Patient satisfaction rates are high, with many noting visible improvements and smoother skin. Both treatments provide impressive before-and-after results, demonstrating marked reductions in sagging and wrinkles.

Choosing the Right Treatment

The choice between Exilis and Thermage depends on individual needs, skin type, and specific areas of concern, to be discussed with your cosmetic practitioner. While Thermage might be more expensive per session, it may provide slightly more noticeable results up front. Exilis, with its lower per-session cost and lower pain profile, might be preferable for those happy to see progressive improvement over time, who prefer a gentler treatment experience.

Both Exilis and Thermage provide effective non-invasive skin tightening and wrinkle reduction solutions. As they operate on the same core technology the two treatments are highly similar, and most patients could expect to see satisfactory results with either choice.

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Monopolar and bipolar RF – depth of action

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