In recent years, non-invasive cosmetic procedures have become increasingly popular. Now, in addition to surgical facelifts and other lifting procedures, there are non-surgical alternatives making use of ultrasound energy, regenerative lasers, and radiofrequency treatments to achieve excellent, if more subtle, results.
These techniques are designed to stimulate the body’s collagen production mechanisms in order to regenerate the skin and reduce wrinkles and fine lines on the face, neck, and chest. Ultherapy or Ulthera, is among the most common and most non-invasive of these modern skin rejuvenation techniques. It has many benefits for patients and offers great results. Still, it’s important to be aware of both the pros and cons of the treatment.
What Is Ultherapy?
Ultherapy is a non-invasive cosmetic procedure that uses high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU)energy to stimulate the body’s production of collagen and other connective components like elastin, with the aim of lifting and tightening the skin of the face, neck, and décolletage (chest). Also, it can be used to tighten other target areas like the brow and jaw. It is a non-surgical alternative to rhytidectomy (facelift) and can be performed in-office with minimal to no downtime.
During the procedure, energy from a micro-focused ultrasound device is directed toward the skin and the superficial muscular aponeurotic system (layer of connective tissue surrounding the facial muscles). The ultimate result is the lifting effect of the sound energy. Ultherapy doesn’t just act on the skin, but also on the muscles as well, creating a tightening and lifting effect on the facial tissues as a whole.
What Does Ultherapy Involve?
The procedure makes use of micro-focused ultrasound energy and simultaneous high-resolution visualization. The ultrasound device produces energy that creates micro burns on the tissues beneath the skin and muscle coverings, while the visualization enables the practitioner to see the tissues the ultrasound probe is focused on. This is one factor that makes Ultherapy distinct from other non-invasive techniques which do not allow for the provider to visualize the tissues they are working on.
Often, the patient does not need any special preparations before treatment. The doctor or laser technician simply applies the ultrasound gel on the skin and then using the visuals, they proceed to apply the pulsed energy to the target areas marked for lifting.
The patient might feel some heat along with a tingling sensation. Numbing cream can be applied if necessary. An Ultherapy session usually lasts for about 90 minutes unless the procedure is on the chest, which usually takes about 30 minutes.
What Are The Pros Of Ultherapy?
There are many benefits of Ultherapy. First, it is a remarkably safe procedure: Approved by the FDA since 2009, Ulthera is associated with only very minimal risks and side effects. Its completely non-invasive nature makes it one of the safest aesthetic procedures on the market as patients do not have to worry about the side effects of anesthesia, possible infections, and other related complications.
Ulthera is also incredibly effective. Studies have shown that about 68% of people who have undergone the procedure have had visible improvements within the first 6 months of treatment. About 67% have been found to be satisfied with their appearance within 90 days of receiving treatment.
The treatment has long-lasting effects. The results achieved with Ultherapy last longer than those from other non-surgical treatments. The regenerative process begins right away so that the lifting results may be appreciated immediately after the procedure. However, for most people, it takes about three months to see the full results of the treatment. It lasts until the natural aging process takes center stage once more.
Another benefit for patients is that the procedure doesn’t leave scars. After all, no surgical incisions are made!
Finally, some reports suggest that the procedure could be used to treat some skin conditions: an example is erythematotelangiectatic rosacea which is characterized by frequent episodes of facial erythema (flushing) and presents with facial edema, burning, and tingling sensations.
What Are The Cons Of Ultherapy?
The major disadvantages of Ultherapy mostly arise from variations in the technique and skill of the practitioner.
There is the danger of a botched procedure: this could result in permanent side effects that could worsen the patient’s appearance post-procedure. There have been some rare reports of nerve damage, eye damage, and disfigurement following the procedure. This is why it is important to only choose experienced practitioners when making the decision to get Ultherapy.
Soreness, redness, and swelling, which are a result of an inflammatory reaction, could follow Ultherapy: This is owing to the fact that the energy begins by slightly burning the underlying tissues under the skin in a bid to stimulate the production of more collagen and elastin by the body. This could also lead to cellulitis in predisposed individuals. It can be treated using anti-inflammatory drugs and mild antibiotics when required.
If the energy intensity is excessively high, it could damage underlying tissues and might cause serious injury as a result. This can be easily avoided by allowing only staff with the necessary training in Ulthera to perform the procedure.
Superficial bruising and numbness can occur, which may take a few days to heal.
Full results take time to appear! Most patients can’t expect to see full results for at least 30 days for chest treatments and 90 days for facial rejuvenation. Collagen remodeling is a gradual process!