I recently introduced Ultherapy to my practice. This was a difficult decision…the technology is both relatively new and very expensive. However, it fills a much needed gap for patients who are not ready for a facelift, but who need more options for rejuvenation than Botox or filler alone can provide.
What is Ultherapy®? Ultherapy® is a non-surgical, non-invasive procedure that uses ultrasound and the body’s own healing process to lift, tone, and tighten loose skin. It has been approved by the FDA for use on the brow, neck, and under the chin. Ultrasound stimulates the deep structural layers of the skin without disturbing its surface. Energy is delivered at a specific depth and with a fixed temperature, which stimulates the body to contract and lift the skin.
The procedure is performed in the office, and typically lasts from 60-90 minutes. No incisions are made on the skin; the stimulation works from the inside out. During the treatment, an ultrasound gel is applied and a smooth handpiece is placed upon your skin. The sensation is mildly uncomfortable, but resolves as soon as the treatment is finished. Patients are able to return to normal activities immediately. The skin may be flushed immediately after the treatment, but any redness generally disappears within a few hours. Some patients do experience slight swelling for a few days, or tingling/tenderness to the touch for a few weeks following the procedure.
Ultherapy® does require some patience, as results will not be seen for three months during which time new collagen builds and tightens the skin. Five-year data on longevity is not yet available, but the results appear to last 2-3 years. While ultrasound cannot duplicate the results of surgery, it is an excellent alternative for those who are not yet ready for an invasive procedure.
I introduce new products and technology into my practice very selectively, and only after personally and thoroughly reviewing all of the clinical data and safety information. I have found Ultherapy® to be a very useful tool for patients who do not have enough laxity to justify a facelift, and for those who have had a facelift in the past but who now need only a small additional lift of the jowls or neck. It is an excellent alternative to the traditional browlift, which leaves many patients with an appearance of being permanently “surprised”. Given the tremendous potential of this device, the FDA is currently evaluating its use on other areas of the body including the abdomen. I’m looking forward to the additional FDA approvals!