Over the past decade there have been a number of technologies in the aesthetic field that aim to lift, tighten, resurface the face with variable results and some with more recovery time than others. The old way of thinking that recovery time is tied to the intensity of the treatment is shattered by the technology in Ultherapy: The Ultrasound waves enter the surface of the skin without causing any damage and these are focused so that at a certain depth (typically 3.0 and 4.5 millimeters) tiny points of controlled heat will tighten collagen fibers and signal the body to begin a repair process that yields a firmer, tighter skin.
This process is similar to sunlight passing through a magnifying glass: hold your hand immediately underneath it and nothing happens, but move your hand further away until that focal point is reached and the light is concentrated causing intense heat. It is this concept that allows ultrasound energy to be focused into heat deep under the skin without burning the surface. This translates into a treatment that truly stimulates your own face to repair and build collagen without taking any time off to hide any surface damage. On the day of treatment, the heat will cause some shrinking of the collagen fibers giving the face an immediate (although partial) result. This continues to improve very gradually over the first 3 months after treatment to achieve meaningful lifting.
It is most useful in the midface (treating the cheeks to lessen newly-forming jowls) as well as the upper neck. When both areas are treated, we see a significant improvement in jawline definition. Other areas that can be treated are the forehead to get some brow lifting as well as the lower neck (using a specially shallow-focused transducer that heats the fibers at only 1.5 millimeters deep) to treat finely wrinkled, sun-damaged skin.
Here are some of our most frequently asked questions:
How long does the treatment take?
Usually about 45 minutes for the face, about 75 minutes for face and neck.
How long do the results last?
Ulthera results are best maintained by treating once a year. There is still some visible result as far out as 2 years after treatment, however at this point the skin is getting closer to its baseline (and no one wants that).
Is it painful?
Much was written on-line about the variable pain level for this treatment and frequently a premedication was necessary for it (A Vicodin or Percocet). In 2012 the treatment protocol was changed so that each pulse delivered has a bit less energy and a greater number of pulses are given. This resulted in superior results and a more comfortable treatment. Currently less than half our patients take any pre-medication at all.
Article by
New Haven Plastic Surgeon