ULTHERAPY – FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
This is our Frequently Asked Questions page for Ultherapy, explaining all about the treatment and its benefits.
What exactly is Ultherapy?
Ultherapy is a safe, non-surgical ultrasound treatment that stimulates the production of new collagen and elastin, causing the skin to lift and tighten. The treatment is clinically proven, and has regulatory clearance, to treat the face, the jowls, the neck and the décolletage.
How does Ultherapy work?
Ultherapy delivers focused ultrasound energy at up to three different depths of the skin, at the optimal temperature for collagen and elastin regeneration. The heat energy delivered causes tiny pockets of trauma to the tissues, which triggers the production of fresh, new collagen and elastin. Ultherapy doesn’t involve any creams, fillers or toxins, but instead relies on your body’s own wound healing processes for natural, noticeable results.
What are collagen and elastin?
The structure and elasticity of the skin is maintained by two vital proteins, collagen and elastin. These proteins make up 25% of the body’s total protein count. Collagen is important in providing strength and stability, whereas elastin helps the elasticity of the skin, causing it to return to its original position when it is stretched or pinched. Unfortunately, our body’s natural production of these proteins slows down as we age, and this leads to signs of ageing (such as fine lines, wrinkles and sagging skin). The new collagen and protein produced in response to Ultherapy treatment helps alleviate these signs.
Is it the same ultrasound as used in maternity units?
Ultherapy uses two different ultrasound procedures. The first uses parallel lines of ultrasound, which is the same as the scanning equipment used in maternity units. These ultrasound emissions bounce back and allow the practitioner to ‘see’ through the skin tissues. In the case of Ultherapy this ensures that we can identify and target skin tissues in the right area, and at the correct depth (rather than blood vessels or bone). Once your practitioner is satisfied that they are targeting the correct area and depth, the Ultherapy machine then delivers another round of ultrasound waves, but these waves cross at very precise depths. This crossing of the ultrasound waves creates heat, and it is this heat energy that stimulates the growth of new, healthy collagen and elastin.
How does ultrasound energy differ from lasers, or radio frequency?
Lasers rely on light energy, which cannot reach deeper skin layers, and therefore typically only treat the skin’s surface layers. Radio frequency (“RF”) energy does penetrate a little deeper, but the heat generated within the skin is insufficient for maximum collagen and elastin stimulation. Ultherapy can target the same depths as lasers and RF, but can also target the deeper tissues, to the depths manipulated during facial cosmetic surgery. It is treatment to these depths that causes the lifting effect, in addition to the tightening of the upper levels of the skin.
Aren’t there other ultrasound devices?
Ultherapy has a number of cheaper imitators, but there are two significant and very important factors which differentiate Ultherapy from such machines. The first of these is the visualisation available to users of Ultherapy. As noted above, the Ultherapy device allows the user to see into the layers of the skin, thereby ensuring that the energy is delivered to exactly the correct area, and the correct depth. Without this visualisation, the energy is effectively being delivered ‘blind’, with the risk of energy being delivered to the wrong site. At best, this risks ineffective treatment, and at worse an adverse event. Visualisation also enables us to deliver a bespoke treatment, depending on the individual scan of a patient’s skin profile.
Ultherapy is also the only device of its type that has been cleared for use by the FDA, the US Food and Drink Administration. To receive this clearance it has been vigorously researched and tested, by an independent body focussed on patient safety. It is also the only device of its type to have been CE Marked, meaning it fully conforms with health, safety, and environmental protection standards for products sold within the European Economic Area. At BrightNewMe the well-being of our patients is our over-riding priority, and so we would only ever use the very best and safest equipment available.
Is Ultherapy safe?
Yes, the Ultherapy device has been thoroughly tested and assessed in both the US and Europe. Furthermore, there have been in excess of one million procedures carried out world-wide, with no significant adverse effects reported.
Which areas can be treated with Ultherapy?
Ultherapy has been FDA approved for treating the upper face (including above the brows), the lower face/jowls, the neck, and the chest/décolletage.
How soon will I see the effects?
There may be an immediate feeling/appearance of ‘lift’ after treatment, due to the initial contraction of collagen, but most of the lifting and toning will take place over 2-3 months, as your body produces new collagen and elastin. As this process continues, further improvement can become apparent up to 6 months following a procedure.
How long will the effects of Ultherapy last?
Patients treated with Ultherapy still have ‘new’ collagen and elastin a year after the procedure, and the results of treatment can last over a year in some patients. However, the skin does continue to age, so further treatment (eg, after 12-18 months) would be necessary for the effects to be maintained.
Who is Ultherapy suitable for?
Ultherapy candidates would typically be in their thirties or above, with signs of mild to moderate skin laxity (where the skin begins to feel and look less firm). Examples would include a lowered eyebrow line, crows feet, sagging around the jawline/chin, loose skin on the neck, and wrinkles on the chest. It is suitable for all skin types/colours.
Although Ultherapy treats the deeper layers of tissue addressed in cosmetic surgery, to achieve a lifting effect, it will not duplicate the results of a full surgical facelift (which involves removal of excess skin). As such, Ultherapy may not be appropriate for patients with significant laxity of skin, or excess skin.
What does Ultherapy feel like?
Patients are generally aware when each burst of ultrasound energy is delivered, with momentary discomfort. This indicates that the collagen/elastin-building process has been initiated. The level of discomfort associated with this varies significantly from patient to patient, but we generally recommend that patients take paracetamol and use the anaesthetic cream we provide prior to treatment.
How long will my Ultherapy treatment take?
The length of the treatment will depend on the area(s) being treated and your individual treatment plan. By way of example, a procedure to address the full face typically takes two hours, while treatment just to lift the brow can be completed in 30 minutes.
Are there any side effects of Ultherapy treatment?
There may be slight redness for a few hours following the treatment. It is not uncommon to experience slight swelling, tingling or tenderness to touch for a few days. These side effects are typically mild and short-lived. You can resume your normal activities immediately, without having to follow any special post-treatment measures. Less frequently patients experience other short-term effects, such as mild bruising or slight ‘cat scratches’. Very rarely there is a report of small areas of numbness, which typically dissipates over the two weeks following treatment.
Who plans and administers the procedure?
Those who are not already patients are invited to attend a free initial consultation to discuss their concerns and treatment options with Dr Sarah Norman.
If Ultherapy is a treatment option you are interested in, you would then be invited for a facial scan to enable visualisation of the deeper tissues in the area of concern. This is free of charge, and is undertaken by Natasha, our Aesthetic Therapist. Natasha will informally advise you on the scan findings and suitability of treatment, along with further information regarding the procedure. Sarah will subsequently review your scan results and discuss the proposed treatment with Natasha, to ensure that the procedure will be appropriate, compatible with any concurrent treatments, and consistent with your overall treatment goals. Sarah will then formally confirm to you your treatment options, and indicative costings, for you to give due consideration in your own time (you would never be rushed into this or any other treatment at BrightNewMe).