What is the Difference Between Ultherapy and Thermage?

What is the Difference Between Ultherapy and Thermage?

Doctor Answers 9

Ultherapy vs. Thermage

Thank you for your question. Both technologies can stimulate collagen. However Ultherapy uses ultrasound technology (treating inside out) and Thermage uses RF (radio frequency – treating outside in). Ultherapy is the only FDA approved device to clinically tighten the face, neck and décolletage. Ultherapy is also the only proven device with a visual aide to help the treatment provided treat a precise area zone, unlike Thermage where the control of temperature and treatment area can be inconsistent.

Portland Hair Restoration Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Ultherapy or Thermage - Buffalo Niagara NY

Ultherapy is FDA cleared for non invasive tightening of the skin for the face, neck, jowls, under eyes, lips, decolletage as well as non surgical brow lift. It has a great track record and is FDA cleared and has little or no downtime in most patients. Thermage uses RF energy. Ultherapy uses high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) and was the first company and procedure that started the revolution in noninvasive tightening of the skin as an alternative to surgical face lifting. 

Read the Ultherapy ebook provided on the link below. 

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

They are both used for non surgical skin tightening but use different forms of energy

Ulthera uses focused ultrasound to treat deep skin and the superficial facia of the muscles of the face.  Thermage uses radiofrequency to heat up the deep skin.  Thermage has been around since 2002 and ulthera since 2009.  I have involved in clinical trials for both procedures from early on.  In my experience, it appears that ulthera gives more reproducible results than thermage.

Cameron Rokhsar, MD, FAAD
New York Dermatologic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 35 reviews

Ulthera and Thermage both have their place in skin tightening

Thermage and Ulthera use radiofrequency and ultrasound respectively to deliver heat to stimulate collagen remodeling.  Thermage targets the skin dermis and is therefore most effective for patients with good skin quality and density.  Using the newest tips and protocols, treatment is painless without anesthetic or pain medication and there is no down time.  Ulthera has the option to target different depths, most commonly the fibrous tissue within the fat and beneath the dermis, but the dermis can also be targeted.  Because the heat can be targeted more deeply, it wiill work even if the skin quality is poor and there is significant laxity.  Ulthera is uncomfortable - it requires either injectable anesthetic or oral pain medication (some physicians actually use sedation).  After ulthera patients can experience mild swelling for a few days, a late onset bruise even the following week and  numbness for several weeks.

In my practice, I use thermage primarily for anyone with good skin quality trying to maintain or improve their skin tone.  It is an excellent full face treatment and can be done annually or every few years as needed.  Although ulthera can be used for full face treatment, I tend to use it more targeted for patients with greater laxity who have had thermage previously or for whom thermage is not appropriate.

Although some results are seen immediately for Thermage and at a month for Ulthera, final results of both are seen at 3 to 6 months after treatment. 

I hope this helped answer your question. Best wishes.

Heidi A. Waldorf, MD
New York Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Ultherapy vs. Thermage

While both treatments are effective non-surgical options for lifting and tightening skin, they utilize different forms of energy. Ultherapy uses safe, ultrasound energy and is indicated for the treatment of sagging skin on the brow, neck, décolletage, and under-chin. Thermage uses radiofrequency to address the look and feel of aging skin of the eyes, neck, jawline and body. Speak with your physician to understand which treatment option is best for you.

Sherry N. Ingraham, MD
Katy Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

Ultherapy vs. Thermage

Ultherapy uses ultrasound. Thermage uses radio frequency. Thermage has not really had proven efficacy. Ultherapy is FDA cleared for skin tightening on face and neck. 

Burton M. Sundin, MD
Richmond Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 57 reviews

Thermage vs. Ultherapy

Both devices can cause collagen formation in the dermis to help tighten the facial features. Thermage has applicators that are very small for use on eyelid skin and large ones for body sites such as arms, legs and abdomens. Its medium applicator is used for the face.  Ultherapy has smaller and medium applicators but off facial sites are off-label and studies are ongoing.  Thermage uses radiofrequency energy and Ultherapy uses focused deep ultrasound energy. Both hurt but the discomfort is over when the energy is stopped from being delivered.  These non-invasive techniques can help rejuvenate the skin tone but are not expected to give the same result as a facelift.  They also do not improve the skin surface so don't expect wrinkles to be better. Overall, we have had higher patient satisfaction with improvement in facial jowl lifting, cheek lifting, forehead lifting and neck lifting with Ultherapy than Thermage. I still find Thermage very useful on the loose skin of abdomens and the loose skin of thighs.

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

Ultherapy versus Thermage

Thank you for your question. Ultherapy and Thermage both work to stimulate collagen to create lifting and tightening of the skin. Ultherapy uses ultrasound technology, whereas Thermage uses radiofrequency. 

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

What is the Difference Between Ultherapy and Thermage?

Both treatments are designed to do the same thing, which is to non-invasively heat the skin to stimulate new collagen production.  Ultherapy use ultrasound to deliver the energy, Thermage uses radiofrequency.  It is not important to understand the physics of how these two devices differ.  What is important is how effective the devices are in stimulating new collagen and giving an acceptable result.  On RealSelf, Ultherapy has a worth it rating of 81%, Thermage 39%.  This is why we don't have Thermage in our office.

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