We all know disasters can result when things aren’t used for their intended purposes. A quick search on Youtube will find you any number of hilarious videos of treadmills used for skateboarding, trampolines used to pogo-stick and barbeque grills used for science experiments.
On the other hand, some of the greatest discoveries in science have occurred because directions weren’t followed to a tee. So where would cosmetic procedures fall? If a doctor promised you excellent results by using a device differently from what is approved and intended, would you still go through with it?
That’s the question to keep in mind lately as a new crop of off-label uses for the popular skin tightening treatment Ulthera has appeared in doctors’ offices around the world.
Ulthera achieves its lifting and firming results by using ultrasound to deliver energy to the deeper layers beneath the skin. Although originally approved by the FDA only for use in eyebrow lifts, it has been widely used in other parts of the face, promising the results of a traditional facelift without the invasive surgery. And as the popularity of this treatment has grown, so has the number of different treatment areas doctors have used it for.
What Are Ulthera’s Off-Label Uses?
Here’s an area commonly the target of cosmetic procedures – the lips. Cosmetic surgeons have used Ulthera to successfully treat fine lines around the mouth, especially the vertical lines that extend down from the corners of the lips. Some have even taken this a step further, tightening the skin around the mouth for the purposes of curling the lips up and making them appear fuller. Be careful with this off-label usage of the treatment, though – Ulthera should not be used on the upper lip because the skin there is too delicate for the deep ultrasound energy to be used safely.
More interestingly, Ulthera has also been used to fix unseemly and unnatural-looking lips caused by liquid silicone injections. These injections are performed with the intention of creating an Angelina Jolie-like pout. Unfortunately, the silicone is permanent, and as the rest of the face loses volume with age, the lips start to become disproportionately large. Surgical removal of the silicone is extremely difficult, painful, risky, and time-consuming. Instead, Ulthera can be used to fix the issues. The treatment softens the scar tissue caused by the silicone, reducing its volume and making the lips more malleable. Dr. Andrew Kornstein, a plastic surgeon in New York, has used Ulthera in exactly this way, praising the fact that the treatment can “reverse undesired outcomes” and bypass “the post-operative trauma associated with surgical correction.”
As seen on The Dr. Oz Show, Ulthera can also be used on the loose and saggy skin under the chin and around the neck. Trials are currently being conducted to study such applications of the treatment, but plastic surgeons who have used it for this purpose have claimed excellent results. Patients reported smoother jawlines and tighter skin under the chin. However, there are skeptics. Dr. Rohrich, editor of the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, maintains that long-term multi-center studies are needed to produce definitive results, adding that from his experience, the results produced on the neck have been “very minimal” and that many before-and-after photos show no improvements.
Other treatment areas for Ulthera have migrated far from the face. Famed celebrity dermatologist Patricia Wexler, M.D., expressed her excitement in the April issue of Vogue over the potential applications of Ulthera in areas ranging from elbows and knees to the loose skin beneath the upper arms. Other doctors share her excitement as well. Though there are no studies yet, doctors who have explored the usage of Ulthera on the belly, inner thighs, back, buttocks, and even the chest have reported varying degrees of success.
For now, any use of Ulthera that isn’t specifically for the purpose of brow-lifting is considered “off-label” and at the doctor’s discretion. And with treatments costing between $1000 and $4000, no definitive studies, and no information about how long results will last, it might be better to hold off on these off-label usages until studies have provided solid data about how Ulthera performs beyond the face.
However, it can’t be refuted that this treatment has huge potential in revolutionizing the cosmetic procedures market. Who knows – maybe in the future surgical facelifts and liposuction will be rendered as outdated and obsolete as the VCR and floppy disk.
Other Ulthera articles:
Mar 28, 2011 … Ulthera is actually the brand name of a device owned by Ulthera, Inc. Thegeneral technology behind the treatment is called Ultherapy. Ulthera …
Apr 12, 2011 … So much has been written lately about Ulthera and how it may very well be the future of facelift surgery – without the surgery. Ulthera, which …
Aug 31, 2011 … Ulthera, Inc., the company that developed the popular ultrasound skin treatment, is currently recruiting volunteers for a clinical trial. The official …
Sep 8, 2011 … Ulthera is bridging the missing gap for patients who have had Botox and dermal filler injections but not quite ready to have a surgical face lift. …
Feb 27, 2011 … The Ulthera device uses targeted ultrasound technology to direct sound waves and heat through the skin to the deeper layers and structures …
Sep 28, 2011 … Ulthera To Correct Lip Filler Mistakes For those who want a permanent beauty solution, a liquid silicone face injection sounds very convincing. …
Jul 31, 2011 … Referred to as Ultherapy or Ulthera, the procedure uses DeepSee, a technology that uses focused ultrasound waves to produce “hot spots” …
Aug 26, 2011 … Ulthera turns back the clock without the bandages, scalpels and anesthesiaassociated with a traditional facelift, but what exactly makes Ulthera …
Why Ulthera Is Better Than Thermage … Ulthera to Correct Lip Filler Mistakes … Ulthera, hailed as the non-surgical face lift, lets you achieve that subtle but yet so …
Aug 13, 2011 … A non-surgical procedure, Ulthera has recently been spotlighted on The Dr. Oz Show as one that utilizes ultrasound to trigger collagen growth, …