I made an appointment for two weeks from now and my provider says that welts that can take a couple of weeks to resolve are not uncommon. I would like to hear from providers who have experience with this new laser - is this true?
Ulthera - Are Welts a Normal Side Effect?
Doctor Answers (15)
Welts from Ultherapy
Our experience is that welts are the result of sound waves bouncing off of bone and depositing the ultrasound energy too superficially in the skin. Because Ultherapy allows us to see the level of the bone before we treat the area, we have found that this problem is completely avoidable.
Ultherapy welts are short-lived (if you even get one)
Isolated welts (small discrete bumps) can develop after Ultherapy treatment, but it is by far the exception rather than the norm in the patients I have treated. They seem to appear when the treatment was delivered a little too superficially in the skin. In the handful of situations where I have had this happen, it has occurred when the patient moved a little bit during the delivery of the treatment. Regardless, if ice is applied immediately, the welts tend to resolve very quickly. The longest that I have seen one last is about 1 week. Even then, it was not particularly noticeable to anyone beside the patient and myself.
Hope this helps!
Swelling / Welts after Ulthera can happen but go away quickly
Occasionally, a person which has Ulthera can have overall swelling which is very short lived. Sometimes bruising can occur and present with firmness under the skin. Visible dermal swelling/welts can occur if the ultrasonic skin injury occurs too superficial. It can occasional have a little fluid like a cyst or pimple, but will resolve within about 5 days.
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Welts are normal
Welts after Ulthera
Welts can happen with Ultherapy, but is not a common occurance. It can happen if the ultrasound is applied to superficial in the skin. This happens if either the patient or practicioner moves during the treatment or if the sound waves bounce to more superficial layers of the skin. These should resolve in 5-7 days.
Welts are a side effect of Ulthera, but usually due to poor technique
Welts related to Ulthera are usually the result of the ultrasound energy being inappropriately directed to a superficial part of the skin. This may be due to inappropriate gel use, or poor coupling (contact) of the Ulthera handpiece to the skin. Welts are described in the Ulthera consent as a possible side effect, but careful treatment can usually avoid the appearance of red marks.
Welts can be seen
Welts can be seen commonly, specially in areas of thinner skin. Usually a self-resolving issue, but if they persist for days without resolution, you should be evaluated.
Welts can happen in a minority of patients and is normal unless it causes scabbing or blisters. If it lasts, there is probably the deposition of too much energy which can possible lead to scarring.
Welts and ultherapy
Welts after ultherapy are not commonly seen but can occur and should be gone within hours to a few days. Localized deeper swelling can settle for several days, very rarely, but this is different than welts.
In occasional spots, if there is not enough contact with the transducer, or if the ultrasound gel does not provide the right seal for the transducer against the skin, it may deliver more ultrasound energy to the superficial dermis and swelling in the form of a welt might be seen. If this happens, one would expect an isolated couple, not a myriad of them. Ensure that you are not developing fluid filled blisters and do not pop them if you do, and see your doctor immediately should that occur. I would suggest seeing your doctor to ensure that you're doing well and that the situation will resolve by itself.
Ultherapy and Welts
Welts that arise after an Ultherapy treatment can occur even with with proper technique. I perform all of the Ulthera procedures myself and I am constantly looking at the screen to ensure that I am at the proper depth and have the proper amount of ultrasound gel to conduct the ultrasound energy. That being said a patient can develop a welt but fortunately these are usually short lived. Cool compresses are usually sufficient to treat these.
However, there is a newer, 1.5 mm transducer that is coming out shortly. This will allow for the ultrasound heat to be delivered more superficially which would be great to use for areas around the eyes (peri-ocular) and around the mouth (peri-oral). Welts will be more common but will have no long term effect on the results.
These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.