Why are some women losing fat with Ultherapy?

Is it because they are using the settings too high? Or because the person is thin to begin with? Is it dangerous to stack lines? Will that create "bulk heating" that may overwhelm the face/body and cause damage? Is the tech to blame? The way a person heals? The settings on the machine? What are the training requirements to perform Ultherapy?

Doctor Answers 6

Soft Tissue Changes Associated With Ultherapy

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In our clinic, Ultherapy is usually performed by an RN, who has completed the maximum level of training offered by Ulthera, and under the supervision of one of our surgeons.  The Ultherapy machine is designed to allow the clinician to see and focus, in real time, the tissue targeted by the ultrasound energy, and, if this is done properly, the amount of subcutaneous fat loss in the face should be minimized. In fact, some of our patients wish there was more fat loss associated with this treatment.  

However, because Ultherapy does cause tightening and thickening of the overlying skin, as well as tightening of the underlying SMAS (submuscular aponeurotic system), two to three months after the treatment, it can give some small proportion of patients the perception that they have lost some fat in the face, although the reality is that this appearance is really the result of skin and soft tissue tightening.  In the vast majority of the thousands of patients we have treated with Ultherapy, the changes they see in the skin and soft tissues of the face three months after the treatment represent a visible and welcome change in their overall facial aesthetics.

Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 49 reviews

Ultrasound and fat loss

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It is quite reasonable to expect some fat loss from any device that generates sufficient energy to cause tissue injury meant to promote healing and collagen production. It is irrelevant what the source of the energy is be it light as in LASERs, Radiofrequency or Ultrasound. They are energy and they are directed at tissue to cause injury and promote collagen production which is how it works and does what it is meant to do ( which is why it hurts during treatment and there is some swelling after). Fat is soft tissue in its path and there will be fat cell death called CAVITATION. Ultrasound and RF have long been used to cause fat cavitation designed for non-surgical fat reduction and body contouring. There is always a price to pay for exposing tissue to an energy source. Some are desires and some are undesired. Ultrasound fat cavitation is usually desired on the torso and limbs but sometime undesired on the face. There is no such thing as a safe but effective treatment. It is designed to damage tissue so how can it be completely safe. also, comparing diagnostic ultrasound to high focused therapeutic US such as Ultherapy is a false and unsophisticated equivalency.

Edwin Ishoo, MD
Cambridge Facial Plastic Surgeon

Ultherapy effect on fat

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Thanks for your question. The effect of Ultherapy on facial fat has been studied and is not significant. Two full days of live training are required (after completing preparatory materials), after which meetings are offered several times a year to continue to build skills. There is a video on realself which may be helpful to you- the link is provided below. It was made by a plastic surgeon out of California:

David Boudreault, M.D. of Illuminate Plastic Surgery, Inc.

Titled: “Ultherapy and Fat Loss: The Doctor Explains This Common Misconception” by David Boudreault, MD Summary: A common misconception of Ultherapy is that it causes fat loss. Dr. Boudreault explains why some patients appear to have a thinner, more hollow facial structure after receiving Ultherapy and addresses how to achieve optimal results from treatment.


Lisa Vuich, MD

Lisa Vuich, MD
Nashua Physician
4.7 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

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Ultherapy Concerns

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Ultrasound energy has been used safely in the medical field for more than 50 years. Ultherapy is safe and effective in tightening, lifting and reducing fine lines on the face, neck and brows. 

Every person reacts and tolerates laser treatment therapy differently. Complications or adverse reactions to laser treatments are usually related to the improper delivery of laser energy to the skin. The person who is performing the treatment should have extensive knowledge and training in Ultherapy and other facial laser treatments. 

When you are exploring the options of a facial procedure, make sure that you also explore the right type of cosmetic surgeon to perform your procedure. A facial plastic surgeon is a cosmetic doctor that is an expert strictly in the head and neck which is where Ultherapy is indicated to treat.

Cory Torgerson, MD, PhD, FRCSC
Toronto Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 170 reviews

Fat Loss After Ultherapy

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The only way that you could get potential fat loss with Ultherapy is if the treatment was performed inappropriately at too deep a level. Usually those individuals with thin faces are at risk. Ultherapy is not a "plug and play" treatment. It requires knowledge of anatomy and interpretation of ultrasound images in order to get results. Don't trust your face to the lowest bidder and make sure you see an experienced provider.

Michael A. Zadeh, MD, FACS
Sherman Oaks General Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Ultherapy Myths

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Microfocused ultrasound should not cause fat loss if used appropriately and properly. It's always best to seen an expert in order to ensure best outcomes. Best, Dr. Emer.

Jason Emer, MD
Los Angeles Dermatologic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 207 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.