Is Ultherapy a Form of Laser Treatment?

Doctor Answers 6

Ultherapy and Laser Skin Tightening - Los Angeles

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Ultherapy uses a heat energy source much like laser. However, the source of energy is from microfocused ultrasound rather than laser light.  The process of heating allows collagen to form in the deeper layers of tissue. Raffy Karamanoukian, Los Angeles

Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 95 reviews

Ultherapy is high intensity focused ultrasound energy

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Ultrasound uses high intensity focused ultrasound and it is safe energy. 

Ultrasound energy in diagnostic ultrasound is absorbed, scattered or reflected. In therapeutic ultrasound, as in focused ultrasound, the energy is mostly absorbed.

I have ultrasound credentials from ARDMS for RPVI and RVT. 

Read my Ultherapy ebook. 

Ultherapy is ultrasound, not laser

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For a device to be a laser, it must use only one wavelength of the spectrum of wavelengths of that color of the spectrum of all the different colors of white light. This focused monchromatic laser energy focuses on specific targets that are known to absorb that energy. Ultherapy, meanwhile, is a focused deep ultrasound energy that causes the dermal collagen to vibrate and this induces heat which then promotes collagen formation as well as the immediate tightening of the connective tissue layers.

Ronald Shelton, MD
Manhattan Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

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How Ultherapy works

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Ultherapy is not a laser because it does not work by using light.  Lasers are light that is "picked up" by different targets in your skin.  Ultherapy uses ultrasound (sound waves) that is microfocused in your skin and muscles to promote collagen production by your body. The skin is then tightened and lifted over a period of months.  Since the sound waves pass through the upper layers of skin there is no change to the surface of the skin and no downtime!

Angela Sturm, MD
Houston Facial Plastic Surgeon

Ultherapy is not Laser; It works by focusing Ultrasound Waves

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It's common for people to think in terms of "lasers" for most of the technology used in dermatology and and cosmetic or plastic surgery, but there are distinct differences.

Ultherapy uses ultrasound - which are sound waves. Most people are fairly familiar with ultrasound and anyone who has had a baby or knows someone who's had a baby has heard of ultrasound.

The difference in Ultherapy ultrasound is that the ultrasound waves are delivered in such a way that they meet at a focal point. It's this focal point that causes an intense generation of heat at a precise depth in the skin.

The heat causes a response that both immediately tightens and tightens over time as new collagen develops. It is this action that "lifts" the facial substructure...not as dramatically as surgery, but enough so that patients can appreciate the change.

Lasers for the most part are used to affect a specific "target" such as color - red or brown; or water. So with lasers you can get rid of brown patches or red vessels or dark hair or even vaporize tiny columns of tissue. Lasers can also have a mild tightening effect, but not as dramatically as Ultherapy.

Rebecca Fitzgerald, MD
Los Angeles Dermatologic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 22 reviews

Ultherapy is not a laser but microfocused ultrasound

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Many individuals are familiar with the use of ultrasound in obstetrics and general surgery, however Ultrasound has been employed in Plastic Surgery in various manifestations of liposuction.  Ultherapy employs MFU (microfocused ultrasound), which travels through the skin and subcutaneous layers to the deeper fibrous layer overlying the facial muscles of expression).  The office procedure is conducted with topical anesthetic (numbing) cream and oral analgesics.  Depending on the zones treated and the desired endpoints, procedure time can vary between 1.5-2 hours.  The net effect is to deliver a brief and controlled energy pulse to stimulate collagen.  The results are not immediate but develop over 90-120 days.  For more specifics please consult an Ultherapy provider in your community.  

Lavinia K. Chong, MD
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 59 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.