Welts, Swelling and Loss of Sensation - Melbourne, FL

I had full face Ultherapy performed on 7/31....

I had full face Ultherapy performed on 7/31. During the procedure, the Dr. commented on how red my face was starting to become and decided he would not complete the "2nd portion" of the procedure as he was concerned about "blistering". He rescheduled me to return for remainder of the treatment 6 days later. He and his nurse insisted that this "reaction" was not common and repeatedly blamed this on my recent exposure to the sun. ( I was not sunburnt but had been outside for up to an hour two days before the procedure...but again, I was not red at all.)


Well...as soon as I arrived home, I noticed welts appearing on both sides of my lower cheeks and a hard nodule by my right eye. The next morning, my face was incredibly swollen, welts, persisted and I noticed a loss of sensation to lower jaw area. This has continued into the 2nd morning so I called my plastic surgeon. According to the nurse, I am to place cold compresses and 1% hydrocortisone cream to affected areas. Again, she blamed the reaction to my sun exposure. Is this true or more likely due to incorrect depth of procedure?

Day 3 after Ultherapy. Swelling on left side of...

Day 3 after Ultherapy. Swelling on left side of face is still very pronounced and there is a noticeable droop to the right side of my face...of more likely that the left side is higher than the right. The welts (ok...burns as you can see from the horizontal lines. Looks like an imprint of the wand) have gone down a bit but still noticeable even with makeup. I have little feeling in the lower left jaw area and still affecting my speech and eating. I feel as if I have had a mini-stroke.
I was contacted by a representative of Ultherapy and a member of their medical team will be contacting me shortly. This was appreciated!
I will update as soon as I hear anything.

Day 4: As suggested by the clinical staff at...

Day 4: As suggested by the clinical staff at Ultherapy, yesterday I started on a steroid pack to reduce the swelling and redness. The swelling and welts..burns...appear to be reduced and I have more sensation in my lower jaw area. I no longer feel like a stroke victim and can speak and eat normally. I still have some drooping in my face which I hope will resolve within the next week or two.

I spoke with my Dr. yesterday and he insists that the transducer was in contact at all times but if you read my response below where I mentioned that I was talking and laughing during the procedure, I can see how the transducer could have lifted from my face.

Thank you to all who have posted and I hope this doesn't scare anyone away from having the procedure. Mine is a very isolated case and the folks at Ultherapy have been great. I hope my issues will resolve quickly and I will continue to update.
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Comments (19)

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Are you healed now, a few months later? Also, interested to know who was your doctor as I live in the same area.
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I'm so glad to read that you are feeling somewhat better Kelly Cocoa! I'll be interested to hear what changes you see from the steroid pack, so please keep us informed. :)

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Someone else on realself advised me to make sure if I felt any burning sensation to stop and ask to see in a mirror. I didn't have that experience so I went right through. But I think now it was good advice. I also heard that ulthera may have modified their machines to this unusual problem.

It's good that you're looking and feeling better, and your experience may have saved other people from this awful situation if it happens that the machine was faulty.

It just goes to show that nothing is 100% guaranteed.
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This is so strange: I posted the last comment and saw it appear before the last three comments. Maybe something to do with my iPad. Kelly, it really sounds awful. It sounds like Shannon also stops the procedure when conversation is taking place. I am surprised your doctor didn't also.
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Glad you are better Kelly and that the folks at Ulthera were helpful. My procedure was done by the doctor's assistant, who has lots of experience as this practice specialises in Ulthera. She didn't say one word to me, not because she was unfriendly, but probably because of my replying. Whe she did speak to me, to ask how I was doing. She stopped the procedure and waited for my response. I hope this works out wonderfully for you...
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@ Pl3ski...the pain was awful at times and yes...made me flinch several times, tolerable for the most part. I didn't feel any burning per se but definitely hot...a spicy feeling if you will...that grew. The forehead was odd as I could feel the currents in the back of my head. Now that I know that the transducer must remain in contact with the skin at all times, I recall that I was talking and laughing as he was doing the procedure. I wonder why he didn't tell me to lay very still.

Dr. took NO after pictures but as you can see, I have taken plenty! He took only a few before pics.

I have no idea how much experience this doctor has had but I did check him out and he is a board certified plastic surgeon.
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I perform this treatment daily in our office. I make it standard practice to take an after photo right then to document the way the patient left the office. I do engage in light conversation during the treatment to put the patient at ease, however I do pick up the transducer and stop if the patient is really speaking, laughing, or in pain. I am NOT a doctor, however I have had extensive training in this treatment. If the energy is not going to the depth it needs to, the result is compromised.
I'm glad you got a steroid pack. It will help tremendously. I would request a re-treat if you aren't seeing results in 90 days.
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He hasn't even completed this treatment yet! He does two passes in one session..one at a deeper depth than the next. When he noticed redness he stopped and said he would wait 6 days to do the shallower depth. Does this make sense?
I have an appt. on Monday afternoon but he's not going to do anymore treatments until his "machine is checked out".
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Shannon is right. When the transducer doesn't connect properly with the skin, the energy is relayed less deeply and burns can result. Hope you feel and look better soon, Kelly.
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What was the pain experience while you were getting the treatment? Was it an immediate burn sensation? Did it make you jump at all? Did you feel the Dr was placing the head on your skin in a firm and deliberate manner?

Also did the Dr show plenty of before and after shots? How many people do you think the Dr has personally done ulthera on?
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I know it is hard to tell. I do have two small moles on my upper cheek area but the other raised area are the burns.
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Thank you for updating us on how you are doing. I really appreciate you adding pictures so we can see what it looks like firsthand. In the last profile picture are the areas that feel burned the small raised up sections? In the photo they just look like little flesh colored moles, so I'm wondering if I'm looking at the right thing? I know cameras don't always capture exactly what we see in real life, so perhaps that is part of it as well.

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This reaction is not from sun exposure. It is from the provider having poor contact from the transducer to the skin. The droop in your face is nerve swelling. It will all subside with time. I am very sorry this happend to you.
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This reaction is not from sun exposure. It is from poor contact with the transducer to your skin. The droop in your face is nerve swelling. It will all subside with time. I'm very sorry this happened to you.
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Best of luck. It all seems a bit surreal doesn't it.
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Gosh, I can definitely see the reaction. I had full face ulthera today and I didn't have any reaction (I almost never get sun exposure though) apart from a light windburnt feeling.

I hope this goes down soon. Keep up the cool compresses.
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Update: Day 2 after procedure, evening. More swollen than this morning and it feels as if someone punched me in the face! Loss of sensation in lower left jaw is effecting my ability to eat and speak. Welts have now turned into horizontal burn marks. I'm starting to get worried. Will call Dr. office again in the morning.
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Ask you doc to give you a steriod pack like Medrol Dose Pack to calm the swelling and redness
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That is a really good question. I will submit it in our Q&A section so that the board certified doctors who volunteer on here can share their opinions with us. It usually takes 24-48 hours for the doctors to start posting. You can click here to check for answers.

I hope the swelling and welts start to go down soon. Please keep us updated on how you are doing.

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