Ultherapy: Ultrasound Skin Tightening

by Edie Pastis


In the fall of 2006, Ulthera Inc. received FDA clearance for performing non-surgical brow lifts using ultrasound technology. Since then, the Ulthera™ System, or Ultherapy, has become a desirable option for non-surgical brow lifts, as well as non-surgical facelifts, skin tightening and all-over facial rejuvenation!

The first treatment of its kind to be FDA approved, Ultherapy is reportedly low-risk, non-invasive, and can help skin care patients achieve firmer, stronger and younger-looking skin after a single treatment session.

Read on to find out if Ultherapy™ is the right choice for you!

How Does Ultherapy Work?

While ultrasound technology has been successfully incorporated with cosmetic procedures before (Vaser Lipo), it’s inclusion in a non-surgical facelift application like Ultherapy is unique and unprecedented.

The key mechanism behind Ultherapy is its patented DeepSEE™ technology, an impressive combination of ultrasound imaging and "ultrasonic thermal energy therapy". With DeepSEE technology, Ultherapy can work in two distinctive ways:

  1. Ultrasound imaging allows practitioners to first "see" or visualize the precise tissue layers that they’ll be treating below the skin surface.
  2. Ultrasonic thermal energy is focused on these specific skin tissues, creating "thermal coagulation points" in the tissue. This triggers a natural healing response within the body that results in new collagen production and increased skin structure support.

What Does Ultherapy Treat?

Ultherapy uses ultrasound energy to fortify skin’s deeper, supportive tissue layers and to correct skin laxity on the face and neck. According to Ultherapy procedure info, the treatment’s main benefits include "lifting, tightening and firming" of skin tissue. The key facial areas treated with Ultherapy include the forehead, mid-face, mouth and jaw area, and the neck.

Ultherapy patients should experience smoother, stronger, more vital-looking skin in the months following treatment. Clinical study results show that many Ultherapy patients exhibit:

  • Lifted and smoother brow appearance
  • Reduced eyelid sagging
  • Firmer, tighter skin overall on the face and neck

About the Ultherapy Treatment

Ultherapy Process. The Ultherapy provider will place a smooth Ulthera system applicator on the patient’s skin. This applicator can project an image of the targeted skin area onto a screen to enable greater accuracy and effectiveness during treatment. The Ultherapy applicator then delivers low levels of ultrasonic thermal energy directly to designated skin areas—creating microscopic points of coagulation to stimulate skin tissues where it’s needed most.

Ultherapy Details. A full-face Ultherapy treatment, or a lower face and neck Ultherapy treatment, will take about 30 minutes to an hour on average. While patients’ comfort levels will differ, Ultherapy shouldn’t be painful for most patients. Some sensation or slight discomfort is normal, and indicative that tissue stimulation is occurring. No anesthesia is required for Ultherapy.

Patients should be able to resume their normal daily routines immediately following Ultherapy treatments. Skin may be slightly red, tender or swollen after an Ultherapy session, but this is temporary. In some cases, slight bruising can develop after treatment and remain for 1-2 weeks depending on the patient’s individual skin sensitivity. No known major side effects of Ultherapy exist at this time.

Ultherapy Results. Ultherapy treatment results will vary from person to person, but most patients should expect noticeable results to develop within 2-3 months. The areas where Ultherapy results are most evident are typically around the brows and eyes, although improvements in the firmness and contouring of the neck and lower facial areas should also be evident.

While one Ultherapy treatment may be sufficient for some skin tightening and skin rejuvenation patients, others may require more than one treatment session to see the Ultherapy results they desire. In most cases, an annual touch-up Ultherapy session is recommended to maintain skin firmness as the patient ages.

Am I a Candidate for Ultherapy Treatments?

Ultherapy candidates are typically middle-aged patients who are experiencing some minor facial sagging or skin laxity and don’t want to pursue surgical facelift procedures yet.

Because of the procedure’s non-invasive nature, Ultherapy treatments are reportedly safe for most patients. However, Ultherapy may be unnecessary for patients in their teens or 20s, and too subtle for those with very advanced facial sagging and drooping skin.

For patients with an abundance of drooping facial skin or deep facial wrinkles, surgical procedures like facelifts, neck lifts and brow lifts may be more appropriate.

Other Non-Surgical Skin Tightening Options

If you are seeking other non-surgical treatments for improving skin laxity and texture, there are several other cosmetic procedures available today that address the same concerns as Ultherapy.

Some of the most commonly chosen skin tightening procedures, for the face and the body, include:

The differences between these various skin tightening treatments is often in the technology that’s used. Many of the above procedures use radio frequencies or laser energy, but Ultherapy stands alone with its innovative use of ultrasound technology.

Is Ultherapy Right for Me?

To determine if Ultherapy sessions would be the best treatment option for you, it’s best to consult with a licensed, experienced skin care specialist in your area. At a skin care consultation appointment, the dermatologist or aesthetician will be able to examine your skin condition in depth and then recommend the best skin tightening treatment for you. They can also give you more information about Ultherapy costs, risks and treatment details.

Your decision to undergo Ultherapy treatments will ultimately depend on your unique skin goals and needs, your candidacy for Ultherapy, your preference of skin rejuvenation method, your skin treatment budget, and the advice of your cosmetic provider.

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