I am 43 and have had Ultherapy twice – once in 2010 and a second time in 2014. The first time I had Ultherapy, it was the hottest thing out there and was brand new. I went to a prominent facial plastic surgeon’s office in Beverly Hills, who I had been seeing for Botox and Fillers for years. There was a trust level there. The biggest problem here is that his nurse was trained in, and performed the procedure. It was extremely painful, and at the time, there weren’t a variety of heads/head sizes available, so she was limited to what she could do. Also, back then, there was not a significant amount of history with Ultherapy, and many did not know at the time, that it DOES shrink facial fat, and the TECHNIQUE of the Ultherapy technician is CRITICAL to the end result. During this treatment, I developed a large “cyst” above my right eye, which proceeded to turn into a deep indented scar above my right eyebrow, that I am STILL treating to this day and need to fill with filler. It’s almost as if the Ultherapy burned off part of my eyebrow, as well, and the scar remains. At the time, I emailed Ultherapy to notify them of the issue and they told me to go back to the doctor. My doctor seemed to brush it off and offered to fill it for me, with a filler, (he had an Ultherapy machine to pay for, after all, and why would he admit there was anything wrong with it, or that the procedure had been performed incorrectly?)
In any event, 4 years later, I thought I would try Ultherapy again. Even though I had gotten the Cyst above my eye from the first time, I thought I’d find an experienced Facial Plastic Surgeon, who performed the treatment him/her self vs. having a nurse practitioner do it. I relentlessly searched for more info, interviewed doctors via Skype, asked questions about their training, their technique, the head sizes they use, etc. I settled on one doctor in LA, who I felt was the right guy. The interesting thing is that he told me he did not want to touch my round, high cheekbones, because he directly told me “it can cause volume loss”. His comment made me feel more comfortable in my selection of a doctor. “He knows what he’s doing”, I thought.
The first three months after Ultherapy, you think everything is fine. You feel good, your face is numb in certain areas, and you’re thinking “hey, this really works!” You’re even kind of glowy (probably from the intensity of the pain). In the first three months, you feel great because your skin is slighly puffy and swollen and then you start to see some tightening. However, cut to 9 months to a year later…..The perception usually changes, as I’ve read so many others have experienced, as well.
In Early-2015, I started seeing photos of myself and had a shocking reaction. “Why did my eyes look so different??”…I had this shocked look I had never seen before)….I was horrified. “What else was different?” I couldn’t put my finger on it, but my face / head seemed smaller and I looked OLDER – my face was so small I had lost a lot of my baby face look that helps you look young. I have great genes and people always assume I’m in my early 30’s so there was no way I’d aged at that pace in 4 years since first-getting Ultherapy. I’d spend frustrated / agonizing hours analyzing 2009 photos (Pre-Ultherapy), when I felt I looked great and was confident to take selfies, to now, when I couldn’t take a selfie that would turn out good. I could not figure out why my eyes looked SO different. I went to 3 different plastic surgeons for their own review, brought pictures of myself “before” and showed them “now” in person. Unfortunately, many had Ultherapy in their office and would never say anything bad about it, even if I suggested that might be the culprit. I was told I should get fat injections by 2 of the doctors.
Initially…..Never in a million years did I think the Ultherapy had something to do with it. After all, Ultherapy is supposed to BUILD new Collagen and thus, I’d expect, PLUMP the skin! There was no way this amazing investment I had made, could be NEGATIVE….esp after all of the photos out there with such amazing results. However, after hours of analysis and online research, I began to come across all of the VERY negative reviews on Ultherapy, and also noticed a pattern of facial fat loss and atrophy, and also facial distortion.
One of my eyes is “lazy” now, and the other is so wide, the brow is permanently arched up, something I have been unable to fix even with botox. I also have a wide surprised look with my right eye (the side withe overly arched brow and cyst), and it’s pulling my eyelid back so far, the whites of my eyes are visible so I have this “Shocked” look in one eye, and it’s not the same size as my left eye. It’s Bizarre.
I have three consults with Top Ocular Surgeons next week to get to the bottom of this and I may need surgery my new “trusted” doctor in Newport Beach, told me. Note this new “trusted” doctor has heard horror stories on Ultherapy, and is highly against it. This new doctor suspects it’s NERVE DAMAGE (from the burn/cist) from the first treatment resulting in my eye issue on my right side. I got my new drivers license last week – a straight forward shot – and I look crazy – as compared to the one issued 10 Years ago, where my eyes looked SO DIFFERENT and a lot Sexier.
Note, aside from Botox once a year, I’ve had NO OTHER laser procedures, or any other procedures at all, for that matter. And I am NOW CONVINCED after hours of research and review of my own photos, review of other’s experiences, and three doctor’s opinions, that ULTHERAPY caused these issues. It mad me look OLDER, made my face shrink, caused facial atrophy, changed the shape of my eyes, caused SCARRING, and burned part of my eyebrow off.
I have spent (in the past 2 months): $3800 to have my jawline re-built with filler, by a specialist, who is a NYC/BH maxillofacial plastic surgeon , who was able to inject under my jawbone. I then spent another $3400 at my trusted “new” doctor for PRP w/ Injections of a variety of fillers on my cheekbones, temples, forehead, + all around my chin. Today, I went back and “finished-up” rebuilding my face in the follow-up appointment for another $1,600….a little more around my eyes, and my mouth. First thing I did was take a couple selfies and compared them to the old shots. Looking MUCH more like “me” again. (sigh of relief…but no relief to my pocketbook….I’ll be paying through the end of the year to pay everything off). But I feel MUCH more like myself again and it makes me realize how MUCH of the I FINALLY am looking better again. Now, to fix my eyes, and off to the consults at the Ocular Surgeons next week.
This has been a nightmare and I HIGHLY ADVISE you think twice before getting ULTHERAPY. There are other lasers that are less invasive and damaging out there. Do your research! In fact, speaking of research, I read that Ulthera is now doing a study on the cell damage from Ultherapy….so they are aware of the issues!