How Long Do the Results of an Ultherapy Procedure Last?

Doctor Answers 66

Most people choose to have another Ultherapy Procedure 1.5 to 2 years later

Thank you for your question.  Although Ultherapy does a good job of "turning back the clock", the normal aging process continues of course. In my opinion, the natural aging will never completely catch up to where it would have been had you not done Ulthera. At any given time your skin is still "in a better place" than it would have been had you never had an Ultherapy treatment. Most of our patients like their result and choose to have another treatment 1.5 to 2 years later.  

We tell our patients that Ultherapy is a great way to give your skin mild tightening and improvement but it does not compare to the dramatic effects of a surgical facelift or necklift. Good candidate selection for Ultherapy is paramount. If you are not a good candidate for Ultherapy, your provider ideally should inform you of that. It is ideal to be evaluated for Ulthera candidacy by a surgeon who performs Ultherapy as well as facelift/necklifts/eyelids/etc. That way you know you're always going to get an appropriate assessment. They can tell you about the expected outcome for either approach.

We choose our ultherapy candidates very carefully after thorough assessment of skin type, bone structure, tissue and fat volume, etc... In our practice, our patients are very satisfied with their Ultherapy results and most patients choose to repeat it every 1.5 to 2 years as a preventative or maintenance measure.

San Francisco Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

How Long Does Ultherapy Last?

You ask a good question and all of our patients ask something similar. The answer really is, we don't know yet.  The studies completed to obtain FDA clearance for the device showed that effective treatment results lasted at least one year.  How long after this will patients desire to have a touch up procedure?

When we evaluated the device, we investigated similar procedures that induce collagen formation and found that most of these had a longevity of 3 years or so.  We would expect that Ultherapy results should last in this time frame.  Keep in mind that the effect of Ultherapy is permanent and you will always look better than if you had  done nothing at all.   Unfortunately, the aging process continues.  Any procedure, even the most aggressive surgical procedure, does not stop you from aging.  Much like exercise, if you want to maintain a youthful appearance, it will require a continued investment.

Joseph Campanelli, MD
Portland Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

Ultherapy sets back the aging clock

Because Ulthera has a direct effect on the collagen under the skin, causing it to regenerate, the effect is not really a temporary one. That doesn't mean it suspends time, it is more like setting back the aging clock. It uses highly focused ultrasound to target the collagen layer noninvasively, and the full effects take about 3 months to develop. 

Richard Baxter, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 45 reviews

Depends on the patient

Long lasting effect of Ultherapy is dependent on each patient's age, genetic factors, intrinsic and extrinsic aging factors..  In general, patients continues to gradually improve over 6mo to 1 year. Patient satisfaction has been superb with Ultherapy in our office.

Chang Son, MD
Englewood Dermatologist
3.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

Studies Show Patients Still Seeing Improvement 10 Months After Treatment

No anti-aging procedure stops the aging process; instead the signs of aging in your body are reversed or slowed based on the treatment you choose. Nonetheless, according to a study performed at Northwestern University, patients were still noticing improvement in the treatment area ten months after their procedure date. Most cosmetic service providers recommend patients attend yearly touch-up sessions to ensure their results remain fresh and to keep up with the aging process.

D. Scott Karempelis, MD
Atlanta Dermatologic Surgeon
2.5 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

Turn Back Time

Ultherapy causes a long lasting change to the collagen fibers of the skin. Unlike filler or botox, Ultherapy is not a procedure that wears off - Your body doesn't metabolize it. Ultherapy basically turns back the aging time.

Usha Rajagopal, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

Ultherapy is long-lasting

Ultherapy does not "wear off" like Botox, Dysport, Juvederm, etc.  The treatment works on the deeper layers of tissue, helping to stimulate collagen production and to firm and tighten the skin over several months.  Patients continue to age, but should see results for the long term.  

Timothy G. Rodgers, MD, FAAD
Frisco Dermatologist
4.8 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

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!


How long will Ultherapy last?

Ultherapy works by reorganizing and stimulating collagen.  So you should continue look better than if you had never had the procedure.  Unfortunately, we can't stop time, though.  The technology is relatively new, so we are still learning about the longevity.  What most providers have seen is that it takes at least a year to a year and a half for gravity to catch up and for patients to want a refresher.  Large, long term studies are necessary before we can definitively answer the question, however.

Angela Sturm, MD
Houston Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

Ultherapy results you can hope for...

To the best of our knowledge, Ultherapy lasts for around 2 years.  The aging process can not be stopped, so all cosmetic procedures have limitations.  You will see immediate improvement and this is unique to a skin tightening device.  There will be continued tissue modeling and thickening of the dermal collagen for 6-10 months after treatment.  The skin (epidermis) also improves significantly with the treatment, however, maintaining this improvement will depend on how well you take care of you skin (sun and smoking avoidance).

Curt Samlaska, MD
Las Vegas Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

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.