Ulthera Update – Yes, it works. Yes, it hurts.

Does Ulthera Hurt?
The quest for youth and beauty has always brought out plenty of snake oil salesmen, so when something totally new comes along in the world of cosmetic procedures, skepticism often blankets any attempt at fanfare.

But since hitting the market with FDA approval in late 2009, Ulthera’s proverbial horn just seems to keep getting tooted. And for good reason – it seems to work.

Now, we have no scientific poll of actual users. Ours is simply good old fashioned web surfing. But while riding that virtual wave, we’ve discovered some interesting buzz. In short, people love it. Bulletin boards, blogs, forums and community sites are full of comments like, “My brows are noticeably lifted” and “My skin feels tighter” and “My younger co-worker said my neck looks amazing. I ran to the bathroom to look.”

The Ulthera device uses targeted ultrasound technology to direct sound waves and heat through the skin to the deeper layers and structures beneath the skin. The sound waves provide a picture on a screen (a first for the cosmetic industry), while the heat warms the patient’s own collagen, which in turn naturally activates the production of new collagen. Sometimes results are noticed immediately, but more typically occur after several months of collagen growth. Procedures typically take 30-60 minutes.

does ulthera hurt?

A mini facelift without surgery or incisions, you ask? Too good to be true, you say? Well, here’s the thing. Unlike the painless ultrasound we associate with prenatal appointments, Ulthera hurts. Some plastic surgeons and dermatologists have reported a preference for patients to take pain and anti-anxiety medication prior to treatment. And there seemed to be a strong opinion among that same non-scientific sampling of blogs, boards and forums. A few quotes:
“Holy Kleenex, Batman, it @#$î+*g hurt!!!!! … That said, a close friend and fellow anti-ageing sleuth had Ulthera the previous day and said she didn’t find it too bad.”

“It is painful. I took one Valium and one Vicodin. I wanted to cuss during the procedure but did refrain.”

“I returned to the office drenched in sweat and somewhat in shock, but with otherwise no obvious signs of the ordeal. Would I do this again? In a heartbeat.”

So there you go. If you’ve ever hobbled home after spending an evening in fabulous stilettos, you know that beauty is pain. But sometimes, oh so worth it.


The following is a short list of Ulthera providers in the Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York and other areas.



Wave Plastic Surgery Center
Peter Lee, MD; David Kahng, MD; Jonathan Shifren, MD
Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons
3680 Wilshire Blvd. #202
Los Angeles, CA 90010
(213) 383-4800

Keller Facial Plastic Surgery
Gregory Keller, MD
Facial Plastic Surgeon
221 West Pueblo Street, Suite A
Santa Barbara, CA 93105
(805) 687-6408

Michal Plechas, MD
Plastic Surgeon
1913 East 17th Street, Suite 110
Santa Ana, CA 92705
(714) 953-7373

The Center for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery
Sanjay Grover, MD
Plastic Surgeon
360 San Miguel Dr, Suite 507
Newport Beach, CA 92660
(949) 759-9551


Kathleen M. Welsh, MD
2299 Post St #312
San Francisco, CA 94115
(415) 292-6350

Greg S. Morganroth, MD
2420 Samaritan Drive
San Jose, CA 95124

Harry Mittelman, M.D.
Facial Plastic Surgeon
810 Altos Oaks Drive
Los Altos, CA 94024
(650) 941-8888

Philip J. Miller, MD
Facial Plastic Surgeon
60 East 56th Street, Third Floor
New York, NY 10022
(212) 750-7100


Wexler Dermatology
Pat Wexler, MD
145 East 32nd Street, 7th floor
New York, NY 10016
(212) 684-2626

Hazen Plastic Surgery
Dr. Jill Hazen, DO, FACOS
Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
311 Commons Way
Princeton, NJ 08540
(609) 921-7747

Andrew N. Kornstein, MD
Plastic Surgeon
1373 Redding Road
Fairfield, CT 06824
(203) 292-9190

The Cosmetic & Skin Surgery Center
Michael R. Warner, MD
Cosmetic Dermatologist & Derma-surgeon
63 Thomas Johnson Drive, Suite B
Frederick, MD 21702
(301) 698-2424

Click here to read about Ulthera Reviews

Click here to read about Comparing Ulthera to Thermage


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About Victoria Strander

Writes about the latest beauty procedures. Her articles are available for syndication. Use Contact Page for inquiries.


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