Can You Lose Fat Cells in Your Face with Ulthera?

Doctor Answers 8

Fat loss with Ultherapy

Hello Sunny3,

The nice thing about Ultherapy is that the heat that is delivered by the transducer is directed at specific layers underneath the skin.  When I treat a patient, I usually address the deep facial layer first and then the more superficial layer near the dermis. The subcutaneous fat is left alone.  Also, by constantly looking at the monitor, I can see the layers of the skin and where the treatment line will be and ensure myself thay I am not delivering the ultrasound heat into the fat layer.


Dr. H

Los Angeles Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Facial fat loss due to Ulthera.

Hello, I'll offer a little update to your question. Ulthera, as stated in many of the earlier answers, allows a precise delivery of ultrasonically generated heat to the skin (especially the deeper dermal layer) and the deeper facial fascia (the layer just above the muscles of the face). One of the great things about this machine is that the operator can visualize the layer being treated with a real-time ultrasonic picture generated by the transducer.
However, there is fat between the skin and the deep fascia as well as under the deep fascia. Could this fat be damaged by the heat energy? If the operator is well trained and understands the technology, I think there is little risk that the intervening fat can be affected, but there is a potential risk if the energy is not delivered correctly (the inappropriate use of the deep transducer in an area, or a misinterpretation of the ultrasound picture showing the depth of treatment). Damage the fat would likely be subtle and difficult to see, but in a thin patient it could potentially be a problem. Having said that, to date, we have not had any problems with loss of facial volume/fat due to Ulthera and consider it a very safe treatment.

Gregory A. Wiener, MD, FACS
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 75 reviews

Ultherapy does not cause loss of fat cells

In Dr. Ebrahim’s experience Ultherapy does not cause hair and fat loss.  This is the same ultrasound technology that is used with pregnant women.  Ultherapy is high frequency sound waves that are delivered into your skin.  Deep enough and with the intensity to create neocollagenesis.  Dr. Ebrahim encourages the client to see her Physician to further research the reason behind the hair and fat loss. 

Shehla Ebrahim, MD
Vancouver Physician
4.9 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Fat cells are not treated with Ultherapy

The unique benefit of focused ultrasound energy is that it can be delivered in the skin itself (1.5 mm and 3 mm transducers) and SMAS muscle layer (4.5 mm) and not affect the underlying fatty tissue. Fat loss or volume loss is not caused by Ultherapy. 

Hratch Karamanoukian, MD, FACS
Buffalo Phlebologist
4.8 out of 5 stars 41 reviews

Ulthera and Fat Cell Loss

Thank you for your question. Ultherapy deposits focused ultrasound energy below the surface of the skin to stimulate the body’s creation of new collagen. As a result, skin will actually begin to lift and tone over time. Collagen is a natural protein that gives skin its youthfulness by keeping it firmed, toned and elastic. The treatment will not cause you to lose fat cells in your face, only lift and tighten the skin.

Daniel Shapiro, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 107 reviews

No evidence to-date as of this writing that Ultherapy induces fat atrophy

Neither I nor my colleagues, with whom I have spoken, have observed fat atrophy with Ultherapy. It would be interesting to learn if the company will alter the device with adjustable settings to allow a physician to induce such an effect in the future but this would require different transducer handpieces and the machine would be used differently than it is for facial tightening.

Ronald Shelton, MD
Manhattan Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 37 reviews


As a Facial Plastic Surgeon and as a utilizer of Ultherapy, I can assure you that facial fat atrophy has not been a complication I have seen in my hands or witnessed as a consequence of this treatment.  It utilizes ultrasound energy to penetrate to depths of 3 and 4.5 mm.  If anything, the major caveat about Ultherapy, is that is not a nonsurgical way to produce Facelift results,as some might suggest.

Stephen Prendiville, MD
Fort Myers Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 93 reviews

Ultherapy and facial fat pads

Ultherapy is a ultrasound technology that coagulates the deep facial tissues causing immediate contraction of those layers as well as delayed collagen production. It is the first machine to actually delivery the energy to a specific layer that is visualized during the treatment. The first pass is directed to the SMAS which is a fibrous layer that overlays the facial muscles. The second pass addresses the deep dermis. Both layers do not contain any facial fat. The temperature delivered at those layers does not dissolve the fat in the intervening space.

Hope that was helpful!


Good luck

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.