Is it reasonable that patients go yearly, or more often for Ultherapy?
How Long Will an Ulthera Skin Treatment Last?
Doctor Answers (7)
Ulthera and Pelleve : Two technologies that drive me nuts!!!!
Ulthera is hyped as a face-lifting and neck tightening technology that is revolutionary because of its use of focused ultrasound that creates ridiculously high amounts of heat in tiny little spots underneath your skin. The thought is that a line of these spots will create a vector of pull or lift. Well, the results are difficult to appreciate (if you do not take a post procedure picture with an elevated chin which makes the neck appear tighter) and the long term results are just sad. The heat deep in the face must dissipate and no matter how focal energy delivery is, healthy facial fat suffers. It has been around long enough to have many patients see the horrible eyelid retraction and fat atrophy that it can cause. I see young patients in my practice, who otherwise would not need a surgical intervention, present with discontent after these treatments that need blepharoplasty and canthal suspension as well as fat grafting to restore them to reasonable aesthetics.
Pelleve is a radiofrequency device, actually a powerful electrosurgical generator for cutting cauterizing and fulgarating tissue that for marketing reasons developed a special handpiece with lower power settings branded as a cosmetic intervention to increase market share. The results of Pelleve are sometimes even more devastating. This is because Ulthera charges doctors every time they push the button for a pulse which results in generally limited energy delivery.
With most of these technologies one should consider themselves lucky if no result is seen because changes caused are usually negative. I encourage patients to avoid the latest name branded repackaging of last years' disastrous technology and to find a plastic surgeon who has resisted the urge to join corporations to shake money out of patients. Many of us including myself use ultrasound, radiofrequency and other technologies under true surgical judgement and let experience and knowledge guide us to offer reasonable treatments that do not harm patients instead of following directions from sales representatives with business degrees on how to alter someones face.
Also if you are going to let someone deliver energy near your eye, make sure they are a surgeon that understands the surgical anatomy, do's and don't's, risks and potential complications. Otherwise there is no way you will avoid them!
If you are impressed with before and after pictures of a neck or face, look at the position of ear landmarks to eye landmarks, hold a straight edge to the picture and you will likely see a relatively elevated angle in the post picture that will explain any improvement. If the ears are not in the picture, well now you know why. Also be careful with lighting flash and exposure settings as well as frank manipulation.
Be careful it is not pretty out there!
Ulthera Lasting Time
A patient treated with Ultherapy should see results for around a year following the procedure, but skin continues to age. Future touch-up treatments can help keep pace with the aging process, which varies for each individual.
How long does an Ultherapy treatment last...
This treatment will last between two to three years, but it can be repeated sooner if further improvement of tightening and lifting is desired. You should wait a minimum of three months before retreating.
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Ultherapy - Duration of treatment
The duration of Ultherapy varies between individuals and depends heavily on the degree of one's starting facial laxity and how well you take care of your skin. Most individuals will continue to see an improvement at a year's time but this can be prolonged if you have youthful skin and have a good skin care regimen. Harsh environmental exposure such as heavy smoking or extreme sun exposure will hasten the aging process whether you have Ultherapy or not. Ultherapy can play a significant role in reversing the aging process by creating collagen in the deeper tissues of the face and thus provide a gentle but definite facial tightening. In my practice I will often combine Ultherapy with other modalities that work on other tissue layers. These include peels or lasers for the superfical skin and the use of fillers to replace some of the volume lost during the aging process. A multi-modal anti-aging approach will always provide a stronger outcome than any single modality.
Ultherapy treatment frequency depend on skin age
The extent of aging and laxity of facial soft tissue is the best predictor of frequency of Ultherapy treatment. If you are in your 30s-40's, you will likely need to have your maintenance treatment every 18-24 months. From upper 40s to mid 50s, you may need to repeat treatment every 12-18 months and in your late 50s and beyond, you will likely need repeat treatments every 9-12 months. Of course these numbers are estimates based on expected extent of aging and regardless of your age, you skin may have more or less laxity and treatment frequency will be modified accordingly. In my practice, I combine Ultherapy with facial volume replacement in the deep fat compartment using a series of treatments with Sculptra and improve skin texture, pigmentation and tone with Fraxel LASER skin resurfacing. We call the treatment regimen, SCULPTherapy. The results are markedly better that the individual treatments alone.
Ultherapy and Pelleve may result in long-term tightening and lifting
Just as a facelift's amount of elevation of sagging tissues does not last forever because of the natural aging processes tendency to produce a continual loss of elasticity and drooping over time, the benefit of Ultherapy's tightening and lifting will lessen as the years progress. There is no evidence that the new collagen produced by Ultherapy, nor the tightening, goes away. When studies were done years ago with biopsies of tissue on patients that underwent dermabrasion, new collagen was found to persist 15 years later. Similarly, the dermal and connective tissue layer improvement resulting from Ulthera would be expected to last long-term. Clinically, though, it is not unusual to imagine that some patients can benefit from a "booster" or secondary treatments even starting 6 to 12 months later. Other dermal tightening procedures, including Pelleve from Ellman, might be a treatment that patients may undergo as maintenance in between Ultherapy sessions. Further studies need to be done as both of these treatments have been available only for a few years.