The same ultrasound technology that, years ago, revealed your child’s hazy white profile is now being used to eradicate wrinkles and sagging skin on an aging face. Ulthera turns back the clock without the bandages, scalpels and anesthesia associated with a traditional facelift, but what exactly makes Ulthera so effective?
Before we can delve into why Ultherapy works so well, we’ll need a quick anatomy lesson. The skin is composed of layers, not unlike an onion. Peel away the top epidermal layer, and you’ll find the dermal layer – beneath it is a layer of subcutaneous fat. Between the bones and the fat is the SMAS – the Superficial Muscular Aponeurotic System – gliding membrane consisting of connective tissue (a tissue rich in collagen) and muscle. The SMAS, through many extensions, attaches to the layers piled on top of it: the subcutaneous and the epidermal-dermal layer.
It’s no wonder the SMAS is nicknamed the “face’s foundation.” Ulthera uses this structure, heating it with sound waves and thus tightening and lifting the face through all its layers to create a youthful, more natural-looking appearance. Among the youth-inducing results are lifted jowls, tightened muscles, and the improvement of sagging skin.
The Technology Behind Ulthera
What distinguishes Ulthera from lasers is the precision built into Ulthera – the DeepSEE technology. This technology not only heats the underlying skin, but also allows doctors to see which areas they’re targeting and treat these areas with precision. In a sense, DeepSEE allows doctors to rehearse before actually treating areas.
An initial ultrasound is used to find problem areas, which the doctor then narrows down to specific regions. The doctor then directs the sound waves to the deepest layers of the skin. One great advantage of DeepSEE technology is that not only are problem spots treated, but also the depth of the sound waves is also controlled, usually to 3 to 4 millimeters to target the SMAS.
Before we can understand how the sound waves pass through the skin, we’ll need a brief physics lesson. Sound waves can only travel through a medium, such a solid, liquid, or gas. In order to maximize the sound waves absorbed into the skin and minimize reflection, a gel is used before the waves are fired into the skin. Sound waves then travel through the gel-slathered skin, vibrating until they reach areas of high-collagen concentrations (such as the SMAS) where they are absorbed and warm up the soft tissue, provoking an inflammatory response that sets off a healing response that in turn starts up collagen production.
How Is Ulthera Different From Thermage?
If Ultherapy works by heating the skin, how is it any different from Thermage, which also heats the skin?
• An important difference is the method – While Ultherapy uses high-pitched sound waves, Thermage uses radio frequency.
• Ultherapy can bypass the upper skin layers -therefore not harming it – and target the tissue on a deeper level, specifically the SMAS, for more effective results. By the same token, more shallow passes can be aimed at the skin’s upper layers to induce collagen production.
• Ultherapy allows the practitioner to see the areas they are targeting with the DeepSEE technology, which is not the case with Thermage.
Patient Reviews On Ulthera
Based on the ratings made at the site RealSelf, where people comment on and rate surgical procedures (worth it and not worth it.) :
– 41% of patients recommend Thermage, while 86% (more than double!) recommend Ultherapy.
If the science behind Ulthera isn’t enough to persuade you, then the numbers will.