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Ulthera - Are Welts a Normal Side Effect?

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?

Doctor Answers 18

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. 

Minneapolis Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

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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!

Dr. Y

Haresh Yalamanchili, MD
Houston Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

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. 

Steven F. Weiner, MD
Panama City Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Welts after Ultherapy

Small red welts can appear on the skin after an Ultherapy treatment, but they usually resolve very quickly and are typically few in number.  

Welts Rare to Occur with Ultherapy But Will Disappear Quickly

Adverse events to Ulthera are fairly uncommon — less than 1% or so. However, if the energy is delivered too superficially, small welts where the lines should have been given on the skin surface may occur, and they follow the lines outlines. This is rare and is from the transducer which gives the energy to the skin, not being placed properly on the skin. Make sure the provider is someone who understands this technology. The good news — welts go away fairly quickly and should not leave any long-term effects.

Michael Gold, MD
Nashville Dermatologic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Ultherapy Welts

The occurrence of welts following Ultherapy is heat related but very uncommon. However, even if they do appear they generally resolve within a short period of time. This can be as little as a few hours to several days.

Bryan G. Forley, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

Welts are normal

Yes, welts may occur. This is not necessarily a technical error and they do resolve. They occur immediately after treatment and I have seen this around the eye. I would not recommend anti-inflammatories or ice because that may hurt the inflammatory process Ulthera stimulates and is important for outcomes.

Michele A. Shermak, MD
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

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. 

Angela Sturm, MD
Houston Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

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.

Melanie D. Palm, MD
San Diego Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 15 reviews

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.

Chang Son, MD
Fort Lee Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

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.