In late 2010, the buzz surrounding a newly FDA approved device called Ulthera exploded after being featured on several national talk shows including Dr. Oz, The View, The Drs. and The Rachel Ray Show. While the trend towards non-invasive cosmetic procedures continues to skyrocket, several devices promising outstanding results are still on shaky ground. So it’s perhaps surprising that the Ulthera device has received such a warm reception, with doctors genuinely pleased with the outcomes and patients taking to the Internet with glowing reviews.
How does Ulthera work?
Ulthera is actually the brand name of a device owned by Ulthera, Inc. The general technology behind the treatment is called ultherapy. Ulthera, Inc. is a therapeautic ultrasound medical device company, and it received FDA approval for the use of its Ulthera system to achieve a non-invasive brow lift in September 2009. But treatments of the entire face and neck are most often performed.
The Ulthera device uses targeted ultrasound technology to direct sound waves through the skin to the deeper layers and structures beneath the skin. Similar to the use of ultrasound to visually see a fetus on a screen during a pre-natal appointment, the layers of skin and tissue are able to be seen and specifically treated during ultherapy. Ultrasound waves generate heat, which is directed at the deepest layers of the skin. As the layers warm, the patient’s own collagen is stimulated, which in turn naturally activates the production of new collagen. This new collagen provides volume to lift and tighten the skin. Procedures typically take 30-60 minutes.
How soon are Ulthera results seen? How long do the results last?
Most Ulthera clients report an immediate improvement in overall appearance, but full results take 2-3 months as the collagen needs this time to fully develop. Some benefit from more than one treatment.
As with any non-invasive procedure, Ulthera results will not be as dramatic or as long-lasting as facial surgery. However, most clents report results lasting anywhere from 9-15 months.
What are the benefits of Ulthera? How does it compare to other skin tightening devices such as Titan?
Dermatologist Elizabeth Tanzi said it best during her appearance on The Drs, “There’s no surgery, there’s no cutting, there’s no scar, there’s no down time.” For those patients who want a true lunchtime procedure without recovery, ultherapy may be a good option.
While not a scientific poll, the reviews on the cosmetic procedure community web site, RealSelf.com, are as follows (as of February 8, 2011):
Titan = 55% say worth it, 38 total reviews: 21 worth it, 17 not worth it
Ulthera = 100% say worth it, 24 total reviews: 14 worth it, 0 not worth it, 10 not sure (most waiting for 2-3 month period to end)
Does Ulthera hurt?
Every person has a different pain tolerance so it’s no surprise that while some people report just a mild warming sensation, others report quite a bit of discomfort. Patients might benefit from the use of over-the-counter oral pain medications to make the procedure more comfortable.
How much does Ulthera cost?
Typical Ulthera treatments range from $1,500 to $2,500 with the more expensive treatments often offering more than one session.
The following is a short list of Ulthera providers in the Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York areas.
|LOS ANGELES AREA:
Wave Plastic Surgery Center
Keller Facial Plastic Surgery
Michal Plechas, MD
The Center for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery
|SAN FRANCISCO AREA:
Kathleen M. Welsh, MD
Greg S. Morganroth, MD
Harry Mittelman, M.D.
Philip J. Miller, MD
|NEW YORK AND OUTLYING AREAS:
Hazen Plastic Surgery
Andrew N. Kornstein, MD
The Cosmetic & Skin Surgery Center
Click here to read about Ulthera Reviews
Click here to read about Does Ulthera hurt?
Click here to read about Comparing Ulthera to Thermage
Click here to read about Why Ulthera Works