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How does an ultrasound face-lift procedure work?

Sarmela Sunder, MD
Facial Plastic Surgery (ENT)
Ultherapy uses ultrasound technology to deliver low levels of focused heat to the tissues immediately underneath the skin. The physician is able to visualize the level of treatment on an ultrasound image screen before ultrasound energy is applied to the targeted area. Your body responds to this thermal energy by stimulating the growth of new collagen.  Some patients report seeing an immediate result, but that is a combination of the body’s response to the heat energy, as well as some associated mild swelling. The regenerative process is initiated immediately, but the full effects of the treatment gradually occur over the next 2-3 months, with the ultimate results taking shape around 3-6 months. 

Ultherapy is an office-based procedure. Depending on your provider, you may be given pain medication, sedative or local anesthetic blocks to make you comfortable during the treatment. The treatment takes from 45 to 90 minutes depending on the number of areas treated. It was originally FDA approved to non-surgically lift the brows, but is now used to treat brows, the under-eye area, the mid-face, jowls and sagging tissues of the neck. 

While early results look promising, it is a newer technology and there is not enough evidence on how long the results last and whether patients will need repeat treatments every year or every few years. 
Arthur W. Perry, MD
Plastic Surgery
The Ulthera system uses ultrasound -- high energy sound, to fry and shrink face skin and the underlying tissues. No anesthesia is needed and not a drop of blood is spilled. That sound energy passes right through the skin and targets the areas you want lifted. I've seen the early results and I'm impressed with this technology. This thing may actually work and might really become an option for people who just don't think going under the knife is fun. But hold on to your horses … and your money. Plastic surgeon's closets are filled with high tech devices that promise the world but don't deliver. And early results do not translate to sustained effects -- we saw that with threadlifts. Let's all slow down and let the scientists spend some time gathering data -- that's science talk for finding out if the horse will run.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.