Ultherapy is a cosmetic ultrasound-based treatment that received FDA approval in 2009. It was designed to be the perfect non-invasive complement or alternative to a facelift and neck lift. If you’re concerned about the appearance of sagging skin and deep wrinkles but aren’t ready to go under the knife, this treatment may be ideal for you. Today, our dermatology experts at Sule Facial Plastic Surgery Clinic discuss everything you need to know about treatment.
How Long an Ultherapy Treatment Takes
An Ultherapy treatment usually takes between 30 and 90 minutes, depending on how many regions of your face you’re trying to target and whether you’re also targeting your neck in the same session. Typically, if you are only targeting your chest, your session will only take half of an hour. If you’re targeting your whole face, you will need about an hour to complete treatment, and targeting your neck and face will take about 90 minutes.
During your initial consultation, Dr. Sule will consult with you regarding the parts of your face and body that you want to target and discuss how long you have to receive treatment. If you can only take an hour-long lunch break, you may need to treat your face one day and your neck and chest the next day.
The Most Common Areas Targeted for Treatment
This treatment is sometimes called a lunchtime facelift, because it can be performed in roughly an hour and lift sagging facial skin in the lower and middle portions of the face, including the cheeks, jawline, and chin. However, unlike a traditional facelift, it can also be used to target areas of concern in the upper portion of your face, including severe forehead wrinkles and drooping eyebrows.
Men usually use this treatment to target the upper face, lower face, and neck. However, it is very common for women to use this treatment to target the décolletage, or upper chest area that is exposed when wearing low-cut shirts. Since the skin in this area is so thin, it is usually one of the first parts of the body to succumb to sagging skin and show signs of aging. However, the fact that the thin is skin also lends itself to a faster session despite a larger area.
What to Expect During Your Treatment Session
At the start of your treatment session, the area targeted for treatment will be cleaned with an antiseptic. If you come in wearing makeup or other cosmetics, that will be removed before your skin is cleaned. Then, the ultrasound gel is applied to your skin. After that, the device is placed against the gel and Dr. Sule will customize the device’s settings based on the thickness of your skin in the targeted area and how deeply the energy needs to be delivered.
Once the device is calibrated appropriately, it will deliver soundwave energy to the appropriate depths within the targeted areas to stimulate collagen production where it is needed the most. The energy pulses quickly, so you may feel intermittent “bursts” of deep warmth and tingling as your muscles and deep skin tissue absorb the ultrasound energy.
How Many Sessions You Will Need to See Your Ideal Results
If you’re 54 or younger or you’re using this treatment to extend the results of an invasive skin lifting procedure, you will most likely only need one treatment session to see your ideal results in your targeted region. However, if you are over 54 years old or you have extensive sagging caused by extreme weight loss or chronic unprotected sun exposure, you may need a second treatment session spaced four to six weeks after your first session.
It’s important that you wait at least a month after your first treatment to receive a follow-up session because it is at the one-month mark that Dr. Sule will have a very good idea of whether you will need another session to see the results you want or whether you just need to wait patiently for a little while longer. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out at any time after your session. We are more than happy to answer any questions you have.
Seeing the Final Results
Although you will see the initial results of treatment immediately after your session, it will take between two and three months to see the final results of your treatment. Don’t be concerned if a month has passed and you’re not quite satisfied with your results yet. After another month or two, you will look five years younger and feel unimaginably better about yourself.
The final results of your treatment typically last two years. Even though this treatment boosts collagen production, your skin continues to age. The supporting structures of your skin that keep it tight, smooth and lifted, collagen and elastin, start to be produced in inadequate quantities at the age of 25, so a single temporary boost in collagen production is not enough to maintain results for five to 15 years like a facelift or neck lift can.
How Long Recovery Takes
One of the most compelling advantages of this treatment is that there is no recovery period. After a facelift, you will need to take between five and 10 days off from work depending on what you do for work and there are severe restrictions on your daily activities for six weeks post-op. The same applies to a neck lift. Immediately after receiving this treatment, you are free to return to work, ref your kid’s soccer game, or coach the local little league team.
What to Expect After Treatment
As stated previously, your skin will feel a little tighter immediately after treatment, and you may notice a bit of lifting. However, you will need to wait between two and three months after your session to see your ideal results. You should also expect to feel relaxed and refreshed after your treatment thanks to the warmth emitted by the sound energy.
Remember, the sound energy emission results in warmth and may result in tingling. The tingling lasts only as long as the energy is being absorbed into your muscle and skin tissues. The warmth may last up to half an hour after your session ends.
How This Treatment Differs From Laser Treatments
The primary way this treatment differs from laser treatments is that it is safe and effective for all skin tones. Thanks to its use of tried-and-true sound energy, it does not affect the surface of the skin in any way. Rather, it passes straight through the upper layers of the skin and targets the deep underlying tissue that supports the skin. This makes it far safer and more effective than lasers.
Ultrasound-based treatments are safer than lasers because lasers come with the risk of burns and skin bleaching. Lasers have come a long way in customizability, but there is still a risk that individuals with more melanin in their skin experience a change in skin pigmentation. There is also a fairly significant risk that individuals with fair skin become burned by the heat emitted by the light energy. Furthermore, laser treatments aren’t FDA-approved to lift sagging skin.
Good Candidates for This Treatment
Another incredibly compelling advantage of Ultherapy is it is safe for just about everyone. When determining who is a good candidate for an ultrasound-based anti-aging treatment, we look more closely at the type of cosmetic concerns someone comes in with and how drastic of a change they need to make than their health.
Since treatment isn’t painful and there is no need for anesthesia or analgesics, the heart and lungs aren’t put through a great deal of stress. Here’s a brief overview of what we look at:
One of the first things we look at when assessing who is a good candidate for this treatment is the age of the individual considering treatment. The best candidate is between the ages of 30 and 64. Although your skin starts to produce less collagen annually at age 25, lines, wrinkles and folds aren’t usually deep enough to justify treatment until the age of 30. The primary exception to this is someone in his or her 20s who smokes regularly.
People who are over 64 years old may qualify for treatment, but that mostly depends on the health of their skin. If sagging is too severe, alternative anti-aging solutions may be required to achieve the desired results. For example, it may be necessary to combine this treatment with another cosmetic treatment to address both skin sagging and wrinkling fully.
Scope of Correction Required
Another thing we look closely at when determining who is a good candidate for ultrasound-based anti-aging treatment is the scope of the correction required. Remember, if you’re over 64, Ultherapy alone may not be able to provide you with the full results you’re looking for. This doesn’t mean that you’re necessarily a bad candidate for treatment. Just know that if you want satisfactory results, you may need a combination of several types of treatments to get the look you want.
Also, it’s important to understand that this device is designed to deliver powerful ultrasound energy to your face, chin, neck, and upper chest. It is not designed to tighten the muscles and lift the skin of the abdomen, back, buttocks, arms, legs, or other regions that are commonly “lifted” after extreme weight loss. If you are concerned about such areas, let us know during your initial consultation and we will tailor a treatment plan that addresses those concerns.
We also look very closely at skin health when determining who this anti-aging treatment is right for. Even though the sound energy passes through the superficial layers of your skin, to be considered a good candidate for this treatment, it is very important that your skin is healthy. For example, your skin should be free from sunburn or infection.
There should also still be a fair amount of elasticity left in your skin. In other words, this treatment can correct moderate-to-severe wrinkles caused by collagen loss, firm up loose muscles and tighten moderately sagging skin, but it can’t fully correct severe skin sagging. If your skin is too lax, you will need a facelift or neck lift to achieve your ideal results, but may still benefit from this treatment to supplement your procedure.
Learn More About This Incredible Non-Invasive Treatment Today
If you’re ready to look as young as you feel, but you don’t have the time or money for an invasive procedure, you may need Ultherapy to lift and tighten sagging facial and neck skin. To learn more about this incredible non-invasive treatment, or to find out for sure if it is right for you, contact our friendly team at Sule Facial Plastic Surgery Clinic to schedule an initial consultation with Dr. Nowak.