What is Ultherapy?

Dr Zara Kassam PhD

What is Ultherapy?

Ultherapy is a FDA approved, non-surgical skin tightening treatment for the face and neck. Often referred to as a form of non-surgical facelift, it uses the heat generated under the skin from the ultrasound to stimulate collagen production. The result is firmer skin that looks as though it has been ‘lifted’.

Ultherapy provides firming and toning and can be used to:

  • Tighten loose skin
  • Lift the brows
  • Lift sagging skin, especially double chins and sagging jaw lines
  • Improve the appearance of a double chin
  • Improve the appearance of drooping eyelids
  • Improve the appearance of the Décolletage (chest area).

 

How does it work?

The non-invasive treatment stimulates natural collagen production within the skin by heating the lower layers and triggering collagen production. While there may be an initial visible change, it’s over the next few months that the results will start to kick in as the collagen level increases and works to firm and tighten the area.

A hand-held transducer delivers the ultrasound energy up deep within the dermis, penetrating up to 4.5mm. The concentrated energy is releases at this depth heats the surrounding tissue. This process triggers the regeneration of collagen. This is known as ‘Neocollagenisis’.

The transducer can deliver ultrasound energy to different depths within the skin to suit the being treated and the practitioner can see the area on the screen, just like when women are having an ultrasound during pregnancy.

 

What is the procedure like?

Priot to the procedure your skin will be cleaned. The practitioner will apply an ultraound gel and move the device across the area being treated in a patterned manner.

It is generally considered painless but some people may feel a slight discomfort when the hand-held device is on bony areas like the jaw. Some people have haven said they’ve heard a ringing in their ears.

One full treatment session can take between 30-90 minutes depending on which area is being treated.

 

What is the recovery time?

With Ultherapy therapy there is no recovery time.  You may return to work or daily activities immediately after the treatment.

Some people may have some redness but should subside quickly. You may experience bruising which may take 2-3 days to resolve but can be covered with make up.

Some may have some residual pain but this can be treated with paracetamol or ibuprofen.

 

What are the side effects?  

With Ultherapy therapy you may experience redness however this should disappear within a few hours to a few days.

Some patients may also experience:

  • Swelling
  • Tingling
  • Tenderness
  • Bruising
  • Temporary numbness
  • Muscle soreness
  • Nerve damage – this s rare and should usually resolve. This highlights the reason why only qualified medical practitioners should carry out this procedure.

 

Who shouldn’t have it-Contraindications?

While  ultrasound is a safe scanning procedure used during pregnancy, this procedure is not recommended for pregnant women as the effects on the feotus are unknown.

Ultherapy therapy should not be used in patients who have injectable treatments such as Botox or fillers recently as the ultrasound waves can break down the proteins used in these treatments.

Some women find their skin is extra-sensitive at certain times during their menstrual cycle, so taking that into consideration when booking the procedure may  help reduce any associated discomfort.

 

Who should do the treatment

Only qualified medical practitioners – doctors or nurses – who have completed training on the use of this device should do this procedure.

 

How much does it cost?

You should expect to pay anywhere between £1200 up to £5000. The price of the treatment is dependent on the size of target area, as well as the clinic carrying out the treatment.

 

The result – how effective is it?

There may only be a slight improvement immediately after the session. The process of collagen renewal takes a few months so the result will be slow to kick in. It’s a good idea to take a before picture so you can see the difference 3-6 months down the track.

The treatment is ideally suited to people between 35-65 with mild to moderate skin laxity and sagging. It will give a lifted appearance but it is not the same as a surgical facelift so it is important to have realistic expectations.

The results should last about a year or perhaps more depending on your health and lifestyle. Some people may require more than one treatment.

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