What is Ultherapy?
Ultherapy is an FDA-cleared, non-invasive procedure that lifts skin on the neck, chin, and brow area. It also improves lines and wrinkles on the upper chest. It uses ultrasound imaging to visualize skin and ultrasound energy to build collagen and lift and tighten skin. Results continue to improve over several months with minimal downtime.
Using micro-focused ultrasound energy, Ultherapy lifts skin and builds collagen using thermocoagulation. This triggers the body to produce new collagen in treated areas. Ultherapy also uses real-time ultrasound imaging to visualize layers of tissue in treatment areas. Collagen-rich areas appear white in ultrasound scanning, allowing accurate delivery of energy. Collagen-containing areas are targeted for treatment in several planes – 1.5mm, 3.0mm, as well as 4.5mm. These are the same planes of depth that are targeted in surgical face lifts. Although Ultherapy does not replace surgical face lifts, it is the only FDA-approved non-invasive skin lifting procedure for the neck, brow, and even under the chin. Because Ultherapy bypasses the surface of the skin to treat specific depths in the skin, there is no bleeding associated with the treatment. This means Ultherapy is a non-invasive procedure that leaves skin intact.
What is the treatment like?
Topical numbing cream will be applied 1 hour to 1.5 hours before treatment begins. This is to make the treatment more comfortable. Once the numbing cream is removed, treatment areas will be marked and assessed. Water-based ultrasound gel is applied to the skin and the Ultherapy transducer will be placed against the skin to deliver treatment energy. Working vertically in columns, ultrasound energy is delivered to the skin at different depths depending on the visualized collagen. Treatment progress can be followed on the Ultherapy device screen.
What areas can be treated?
On the face, you can treat the forehead, temples, and cheeks. The submental area (under the chin), neck, and even decolletage or chest are also common treatment areas. Generally, the nose and facial anatomy between the nasolabial folds are not treated. Certain individuals may be candidates for treatment of the upper lip to soften smoker’s lines (vertical lip lines) and for eversion of the upper lip.
How often do you need to repeat treatments?
Most people choose to be treated with Ultherapy once a year, although this depends on skin condition and desired outcomes. To treat areas with more pronounced sagging or laxity, some choose to come back after ~4-6 months to repeat localized treatment only in those areas. More customized treatment options can be discussed with individual treatment providers.
How do you prepare for an Ultherapy treatment?
While there is very little you need to prepare for, it may be best to avoid harsh exfoliants or active topicals like retinoids for 1-2 days before your treatment. Having a full stomach before treatment will help prevent lightheadedness and also allow you to take acetaminophen or ibuprofen, should you decide that is necessary. Active cold sores necessitate rescheduling.
What post-care do I need?
Regular skincare and activities can be resumed immediately after treatment. Because there may be a little swelling or welting after treatment, it’s best to wait a few days to massage the face.
Is there any downtime?
There is minimal downtime with Ultherapy. There may be some swelling present for several days after treatment. Treatment at 1.5mm can sometimes result in temporary welts that look like “cat scratches” for several days. This is because 1.5mm is quite superficial and swelling at this depth tends to be more visible. There may be some soreness or tenderness in treated skin for several days after treatment.
What’s the difference between Ultherapy and HIFU?
Ultherapy IS a form of HIFU, or high-intensity focused ultrasound. HIFU is a catch-all term for ultrasound-based skin treatment. Ultherapy is the original FDA-proven ultrasound-based skin lifting treatment AND features real-time skin imaging, as depicted in the gif below. Collagen-rich areas appear as white bands under ultrasound scanning. This allows accurate delivery of energy to collagen-containing areas and not adipose tissue or bone. While other HIFU treatments are also ultrasound-based, they do not have skin visualization during treatment. This means energy is delivered “blindly,” and may not necessarily be targeted at collagen-rich areas. Ultherapy is also FDA-indicated for skin lifting.
When should you choose Ultherapy over other skin treatments?
Ultherapy is a great treatment for lifting of the skin. If you are concerned about droopiness or sagginess of the lower face, the jowl area, neck, or even in the brow area, this treatment may be a great choice. Persons with pacemakers are not candidates for many RF treatments such as Thermage, in which case Ultherapy may be an alternative choice of treatment. Persons who have very bony faces, especially in the lower face, may find that other skin treatments are more suitable than Ultherapy. Some people may choose to do both Ultherapy and other skin treatments like RF or microneedling for synergistic results. For a free assessment, you can always feel free to contact DSC to inquire which treatment is best suited for your skin!
What is Thermage?
DSC Laser & Skin Care Center
889 S. San Gabriel Blvd. San Gabriel, CA 91776