TIGHTENING THE FACE AND NECK WITHOUT SURGERY THIS HOLIDAY SEASON

Joshua L. Fox, MD

Article by
Long Island Dermatologic Surgeon

The holiday gifts have been wrapped, decorations adorn the house, and now you're looking for a way to feel special and extra-attractive this holiday season without Botox or a filler. A new in-office, non-invasive face tightening procedure to firm sagging skin and help you feel more youthful may be just the answer to help you welcome the new year, says leading dermatologist Joshua Fox, M.D.

According to the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the overall number of non-surgical procedures increased by nearly 80 percent between 2008 and 2009, the most recent year for which statistics are available. One of the reasons for this huge growth is the availability of new, non-invasive treatments like Ultherapy, which uses ultrasound technology to restore firmness to the skin and its underlying tissue.

"There are several non-surgical procedures designed to counteract the effects of time and gravity by tightening and lifting skin tissue on the face and neck," says Dr. Fox, medical director of Advanced Dermatology of New York and New Jersey. "With these new treatments, you can improve your holiday mood and your look in about 45 to 60 minutes with minimal pain and no downtime from work."

Dr. Fox recommends Ultherapy, which uses an ultrasound applicator that allows the doctor to actually see into your skin and the tissue beneath. "As with other sonograms, an image is projected onto a screen that both you and the medical practitioner can see. This same handpiece then delivers low levels of heat energy at just the right depth below the skin to achieve a positive tightening effect, leaving the surface of your skin unharmed. Your skin responds by contracting slightly right away; the growth of new collagen is stimulated over time. A continuation of the gradual tightening occurs, ultimately resulting in a natural, beneficial lift of facial skin tissue with more sharp facial features like the jaw line.

"Ultherapy is an exciting new treatment because there is minimal pain and no downtime, the procedure is quick, and its effects last up to one to two years. It's a great addition to our arsenal of treatments, including dermal fillers, laser, botox, liposuction or thermage," Dr. Fox says. He lists five questions to ask your doctor when considering an Ultherapy face-tightening procedure:

1) Who should consider skin tightening?

Procedures like Ultherapy, thermage, laser treatment and even surgery are typically recommended for healthy adults ages 40 and up who see some sagging and wrinkling in the face.

2) Is the procedure approved by the FDA?

Ultherapy received FDA approval in September 2009.

3) Is it effective?

In FDA clinical trials, 90 percent of Ultherapy patients had a noticeable, significant lift of the brow line, resulting in a more open, refreshed appearance overall. Patients reported firmer, tighter, more fit-looking skin in other areas of the face and neck as well. In a study at Northwestern University, physicians noted significant lifting of the brow line. By simply raising the brow, patients reported a more "open" eye, and a more rested, refreshed look overall. They also reported firmer, more toned skin in other areas.

4) How long does the procedure take?

When can I return to normal activities?Ultherapy takes under 30 minutes for the upper face and about 1 hour for the full face. After that, you'll return to your normal activities right away and you don't have to do anything special. Your skin may appear a bit flushed or puffy immediately after the treatment, but any redness usually disappears in a matter of hours.

5) How often do I need to repeat this treatment to achieve maximal results?

Dermal fillers last between three and six months and botox should be redone every four months. By comparison, Ultherapy's effects typically last at least one year. Touch-ups are suggested every year or two for maximal results.