Ulthera is a non-surgical procedure that uses ultrasound technology to tighten and treat loose, aging skin. Ulthera’s sound waves penetrate deep into the skin’s dermal layer, where they heat the damaged tissue, causing it to lift and tighten. The heat also stimulates the formation of new collagen, a protein that gives skin its structure and firmness.
What Does Ulthera Treat?
Ulthera helps reduce the appearance of wrinkles and folds on many facial areas, including the brow, the “crow’s feet” around the eyes, the upper cheek, the jaw, and the upper neck. In one clinical trial, for example, 9 of 10 patients exhibited significant lifting of the eyebrows—an average of 1.7 millimeters, or about 6/10ths of an inch. This result gave many of the patients a more open, refreshed appearance around the eyes.
Patients in this study also reported that the skin on lower areas of their face—and on their neck—looked firmer and tighter after Ulthera treatments.
What Is the Ulthera Treatment Like?
The procedure generally takes 30 to 60 minutes, depending on how much of the face you’re having treated. As with other ultrasound procedures, a smooth applicator will be place on your skin. An image of the area under the applicator will then appear on a screen. Your clinician will use that image to determine where to direct the sound waves and at what depth.
You may experience some temporary discomfort during the procedure. To minimize this discomfort, your physician may give you a prescription-strength pain reliever or sedative about 30 minutes before the treatment begins. Other pain-reduction methods may also be used, such as cooling the skin with cold air during the treatment. Your physician will discuss these options with you.
After the procedure, you can return immediately to your regular daily activities (although, if you were given medication, you may be advised not to drive right away). Your skin will appear reddened for a few hours, and it may be tender to the touch for several days. Some people also experience temporary bruising and numbness.
When Will I See Results?
You may see some effects from the treatment immediately, but most of the lifting and tightening of the skin doesn’t become apparent for 2 to 3 weeks. And the creation of the new collagen, which will help fill out and firm the skin, takes even longer.
Because Ulthera is a relatively new skin-tightening procedure, long-term studies have yet to be conducted. Early evidence suggests, however, that its effects last for 2 to 5 years. Of course, as with almost all cosmetic skin treatments, how long the treatment lasts will greatly depend on how well you continue to take care of your skin—by protecting it from the sun, for example.
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How Many Treatments Will I Need?
The older and more damaged your skin is, the more treatments you’ll need. Many people require only a single Ulthera treatment to see significant improvement. For others, two or more treatments may need to be undertaken to achieve desirable results.