Ulthera (Ultherapy) - Non-Surgical Facelift
Following several years of careful consideration of non-surgical technologies, Dr. Samaha enthusiastically introduced an innovative and groundbreaking treatment called Ulthera to his practice. Ultherapy performs a non-surgical facelift by tightening and lifting the saggy skin and muscle tissues of the face, including droopy brows and cheeks, and saggy jawline and neck. This safe and effective treatment uses ultrasound technology, also used to scan pregnant women, to perform a non-surgical facelift in a one-hour session, with excellent results.
How does it work?
Ulthera targets the same tissues that are tightened in a surgical facelift. In facelift surgery, Dr. Samaha goes under the facial skin to tighten the muscle layer, called SMAS, with stitches. Ulthera performs tightening of this same muscle layer without surgery. It works with ultrasound, which is extensively used in medical imaging, including imaging the fetus in a pregnant woman. An ultrasound probe is placed on the face and the different layers below the skin become clearly visible on a screen. Focused ultrasound energy is then applied very precisely to the SMAS muscle layer below the skin to tighten it. This tightening of the muscle is responsible for the improvement noted with Ultherapy.
Is it different than Thermage® or laser?
Yes, quite different. Thermage® heats the tissues, including the skin. That is why the skin needs to be cooled during the treatment. The heating action of Thermage® is applied to all layers, including the skin in a non-specific fashion. Therefore, the results are not significant and long-lasting in the many patients Dr. Samaha has seen who have undergone this treatment elsewhere. Ulthera is a completely different and much more precise technology as the treatment does not involve indiscriminate heating, but rather a focused ultrasound energy delivered to the specific SMAS muscle layer. This is also exactly the layer tightened in a surgical facelift. In addition, because Ulthera leaves the skin layer unharmed and intact, the redness and swelling seen with Thermage® are absent with Ulthera.
Lasers treat the skin itself to improve its smoothness. They do so by heating or burning certain components of the skin. As such, significant inflammation and redness of the skin is usually seen following a laser treatment. No muscle tightening is performed with lasers, as it is with Ulthera.
How long does it take?
Most commonly, the entire face, including the brows, cheeks, jawline, and neck is treated to provide an overall, well-proportioned improvement. This treatment lasts approximately one hour. If specific areas are to be targeted, the duration is less, approximately 20-30 minutes.
Is it safe?
Yes, Ulthera is very safe. Ultrasound technology has been used in many branches of medicine for decades. One of the most common uses is imaging of the fetus in pregnant women. Ulthera has been studied and approved by the American FDA and Health Canada.
How long does it take to see the results?
Some results are seen immediately, but the improvement continues over several weeks following the treatment. Some patients have reported having the occasional painless “lifting” or “tightening” feeling in their cheeks in the days to weeks following Ultherapy.
How long do the effects last?
Ultherapy is a permanent treatment that does not need to be repeated periodically. Once the treatment is performed and the final result is evident, the effect remains. However, as the aging process continues, another treatment can be performed a few years later.
Can I have this treatment more than once?
Yes. Many of Dr. Samaha’s patients are interested in preservation and maintenance rather than letting the aging process prevail. Most patients prefer to have a treatment before the skin and muscles have sagged to the point of requiring a surgical facelift. In addition, after the initial improvement, many patients may decide to maintain it by repeating Ultherapy some years later.
I had a facelift a few years ago. Am I still a candidate for Ulterapy?
Yes. Because of the principle behind the way Ultherapy works, it is also effective in patients who have undergone surgery. The loss of firmness of the muscle that has taken place since the patient’s facelift is addressed with Ultherapy to lift it back up.
What is the recovery time?
There is typically no bruising or redness with Ultherapy. Very mild swelling is seen immediately after the treatment. This subsides within an hour. There is no recovery time necessary and patients can resume all normal activities following Ultherapy with no restrictions.
Is it painful?
Patients describe a mild discomfort during the procedure. A mild analgesic, such as Tylenol or Advil can be given prior to the treatment. Occasionally, freezing certain areas, such as the brow, cheeks, or neck can be performed for some patients to render them more comfortable. Overall, the treatment is extremely well tolerated.