New Procedure is 5x Cheaper Than a Facelift and Lasts About a Year and a Half

K. Mathews on 1 May 2012 at 5:00pm

Ultherapy was one of the fastest growing procedures on RealSelf last year. But what is it, and why is there such an interest? Here's a round-up of all you need to know about this latest trend in skin rejuvenation.

Ultherapy… is the only FDA approved device for both tightening and lifting of the muscles and skin of the face and neck… [it] uses ultrasound to heat the muscles and skin to create both deep and superficial collagen production," explains facial plastic surgeon Dr. Michael A. Persky.

The Good

It works

With an impressive 83% Worth It rating from RealSelf members, it seems like it actually works! “When I catch a look at myself in the mirror, I’m surprised by how un-tired I look,” says reviewer Tallchick. “[It’s] a face that looks more the way I remember.” She even posted her own before-and-after photos to show just how much her skin tightened around her jawline:

It's Quick

"The Ultherapy procedure took about 90 minutes," Mishou35 said. "I will definitely do it again and again."

It's Cheaper Than a Facelift

Averaging $2,600, Ultherapy is about five times cheaper than a facelift. But keep in mind that Ultherapy's results show for about a year and a half; facelifts last more than five times longer.  
 

The Bad

High Heat

One main downside to Ultherapy is the pain factor. “I went through natural childbirth (no anesthesia) without screaming or crying, so why couldn’t I handle ulthera?” laments Tellyjan

Dermatologist Dr. Melissa Chiang admits that while pain tolerance differs amongst everyone, “Ulthera is uncomfortable for most patients,” and suggests that patients take oral pain meds to counteract the procedure’s heat sensation.

Slow Results

Though the results last up to a year and a half, doctors caution that it takes about three months for the full effects of the treatment to be visible. RealSelf reviewer Blown was upset to not see results within a few weeks, and she is not alone in that community.

When Tellyjan underwent both Ultherapy and Botox at the same time, she preferred the instant gratification of Botox.

On the other hand, some see the delayed results as a benefit. Notes Miss Clare CT “I love the slow/gradual improvements, so it’s not obvious." 

The Results

If you're looking to reduce signs of facial aging, when is Ulthera the right choice vs. fillers or toxins? Beverly Hills Dr. Sarmela Sunder breaks down a critical difference: “If your issue is that you feel that your skin is sagging a bit and want the tissues of your face to look a bit more lifted, then Ultherapy is the way to go. If you are concerned that there are areas of your face that look hollow and deflated or there are prominent folds, then fillers will help restore volume and natural contours to your face.”

Despite its drawbacks, since 4/5 reviewers are happy with Ultherapy, it’s bound to stick around. Take a look at some of these doctors’ before-and-after photos and tell us whether you think the results are worth the wait and the pain.


Performed by Dr. Mark Beaty of Atlanta

Performed by Dr. DeEtta M. Gray of Bellevue

Comments (12)

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Hi, my name is Jacob and I am searcher I always try to surf different blog, websites for searching this I have just found that website and I like it. A lot the information is very help full for me and also for other I am very careful about my skin because my skin is very sensitive before this I found very interesting website http://www.ocdermatology.com/pelleve/ which has also a lot of information but this post also interested for me.
  • Reply
Hi, my name is Jacob and I am searcher I always try to surf different blog, websites for searching this I have just found that website and I like it. A lot the information is very help full for me and also for other I am very careful about my skin because my skin is very sensitive before this I found very interesting website pelleve which has also a lot of information but this post also interested for me.
  • Reply
that's really amazing . I geniunly like this blog because most of women dissatisfied with their wrinkles and sign of aging .I think that it is great source for their satisfaction. for me it is the complete Dermatology Ca for every women
  • Reply
For the properly selected patient, Ultherapy is an excellent facial and neck rejuvenation tool. It lifts and tightens by millimeters, which in many patients is enough to make a big difference. It is not a face/neck lift. We offer surgery to those patients whom we feel would not benefit from this non-invasive treatment. Good luck and be well.
Dr. P
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Ulthera is a "home run" treatment for patients who have had surgical face/neck lifting, and are now beginning to see and feel laxity again. It works extremely well on tightening the lax skin 5 to 10 years after facelift surgery without having to subject the patient to a revision surgery, anesthesia, and recovery time. Good luck and be well.
Dr. P
  • Reply
It is a rare patient in my experience that will be happy with a "partial" result. That's the problem with all of the non-invasive treatments because at best, they can only offer partial improvements. Often they result in minimal to no improvement.
  • Reply
Ultherapy doesn't claim to offer the same results as a facelift. It's an UPLIFT. Cost, downtime, and just the idea of having to go under the knife can be enough to encourage someone to look into Ultherapy. Plus, a facelift will do nothing to improve collagen...and that's a huge part of the equation.

Like pretty much any cosmetic procedure, we can turn back the clock...but we can't stop it. I really feel like results will last longer than 1.5 years...but only time will tell. I consider Ultherapy a strong arrow in the quiver when battling the aging face!

~ Dr. Andy

As with
  • Reply
I remain unimpressed and know my patients enough to believe that they want more. The patient in the first photos still has a substantial waddle under the chin and this is what they hate. A proper facelift will entirely fix that. The second patient (Dr. Beaty's) has altered her chin position substantially in the two photos so there is no way to know what the real result is here.
  • Reply
For that kind of money, and it lasts only a FEW year(s), I will stand by my position of 4 "don't care" pills, some deadening shots, and a facelift. I was informed that 10 years from now, I will still look 10 years younger than others my age; no regrets. I'm so glad I did it.
  • Reply

Thanks for sharing that feedback, Dr. Rand. We've heard a decent amount of both praise and criticism from doctors on this one. 

Do you think the dissatisfaction from your patients has to do with too high of expectations from a non-invasive procedure? Or is more that they feel the minimal results are still not worth the price tag?

  • Reply
Let me guess, Dr Rand.....you are a surgeon, arn't you.
  • Reply