Ultherapy® is a system manufactured by Ulthera, Inc. that uses micro-focused ultrasound to tighten and lift skin. Ultherapy produces an image of the skin and underlying connective tissue so the physician can deliver targeted energy under the surface of the skin with the optimal depth, temperature and precision necessary to generate new collagen and to tighten and lift the skin. Ultherapy stimulates collagen generation and tightens the connective tissue at a deeper level than other non-surgical treatments. This can result in higher eyebrows, a tighter jaw line, and smoother neck. Recent evidence shows efficacy for skin tightening in additional treatment sites such as the chest, abdomen, arms and knees.
Ultherapy received FDA approval in 2009 and is the only non-invasive procedure approved in the U.S. to lift skin on the lower face, neck and brow. Dr. Chapas, Dr. MacGregor, Dr. Chwalek, Dr. Gmyrek and Dr. Chapas have several years of experience with Ultherapy, and Dr. MacGregor was part of the clinical trials that led to FDA approval and is considered an international authority on Ultherapy. We were one of the first practices to offer the latest upgraded Ultherapy® system, which offers better results and improved patient comfort.
Why choose Union Square Laser Dermatology for Ultherapy?
Ultherapy results and patient comfort heavily depend on physician technique, which is why our treatments are personally administered by Dr. MacGregor, Dr. Chwalek, Dr. Gmyrek and Dr. Chapas not by a nurse, medical assistant or technician. Dr. Chwalek, Dr. Gmyrek and Dr. MacGregor have extensive clinical experience with Ultherapy and a long track record of achieving the best results while minimizing the risk of complications, and Dr. MacGregor literally wrote the textbook: MacGregor J. and Tanzi E. Micro-Focused Ultrasound for Skin Tightening. Semin Cutan Med Surg. Vol. 32, No. 1, March 2013.
We have extensive experience with pain management for Ultherapy and are able to offer the highest possible level of patient comfort without compromising the procedure’s effectiveness. We continue working with Ulthera to refine our proprietary treatment protocols and to offer our patients the latest advances and software upgrades. In many situations Ultherapy works best in combination with other treatments, and our comprehensive range of non-surgical body contouring and skin laxity devices combined with our expertise in administering these treatments allows us to design the best personalized plan for each patient.
Our assessment: The new Ultherapy system can be an excellent option for patients with mild to moderate laxity who aren’t ready for a surgical brow lift or a facelift as well as those who want to “stay ahead of the game”. It is generally suitable for all skin colors and treatment can be completed in a single 30-60 minute session with minimal ensuing downtime. The treatment initiates the lifting process, but the effect will build gradually over the course of two to three months, as tired collagen is replenished with new, stronger collagen. Further improvements can even appear up to six months following a procedure as this collagen-building process continues and patients gradually look more youthful and refreshed.
Here are the answers to some Frequently Asked Questions about Ultherapy.
Q: What is Ultherapy?
A: Ultherapy is a non-surgical face and neck treatment developed by Ulthera, Inc. It uses ultrasound to lift and tone loose or sagging skin without any significant downtime.
Q: How is Ultherapy different from other cosmetic procedures?
A: Ultherapy targets deep tissue below the skin, an area typically reached with cosmetic surgery. Ultherapy also provides ultrasound imaging, which allows Dr. Chwalek or Dr. MacGregor to actually see the layers of tissue that are targeted during the treatment, and thus ensure the energy is delivered where it will be most effective.
Q: Who is a good candidate for Ultherapy?
A: Someone with skin that has “relaxed” to the point of looking less firm. A lowered eyebrow line or sagging skin on the neck or the jowls, is often the first sign of “maturing” skin. Typically, those in their thirties and older who have mild to moderate skin laxity are candidates. Ultherapy is also a good option for people who want to “stay ahead of the game” as well as those looking to prolong the effects of cosmetic surgery.
Q: Are men good candidates for Ultherapy?
A: Absolutely! Ultherapy works equally well on both men and women.
Q: Why choose Union Square Laser Dermatology for Ultherapy?
A: Results and patient comfort heavily depend on physician technique, which is why our Ultherapy treatments are personally administered by Dr. Chwalek or Dr. MacGregor, not by a nurse, medical assistant or technician. Dr. Chwalek and Dr. MacGregor have extensive clinical experience with Ultherapy (Dr. MacGregor also participated in the clinical trials that led to its approval by the FDA) and a long track record of achieving the best results while minimizing the risk of complications. We continue working with Ulthera to refine our proprietary treatment protocols and to offer our patients the latest advances and software upgrades. In many situations Ultherapy works best in combination with other treatments, and our comprehensive range of non-surgical body contouring devices and our expertise in administering these treatments allows us to design the best personalized non-surgical body contouring plan for each patient.
Q: What results can be expected?
Ultherapy addresses mild to moderate loose or sagging skin by reconditioning and renewing the collagen underlying the skin. Ultherapy can lift the brow, which in turn reduces excess skin on the lids, opens up the eyes, and gives a more refreshed look overall. It can also improve the appearance of loose skin in the jowls or neck.
Q: How does Ultherapy work?
A: Ultherapy delivers focused ultrasound energy below the surface of the skin to stimulate the body’s creation of new collagen. As a result, skin will lift and tone over a period of several weeks.
Q: What does collagen do?
A: Collagen is a natural protein that gives skin its youthfulness and bounce by keeping it firmed and toned. As we age, collagen loses its strength, elasticity and the ability to stand up to the effects of gravity that pull the skin downward. Ultherapy jumpstarts a repair process that strengthens your existing collagen and produces fresh, new collagen.
Q: Is Ultherapy uncomfortable or painful?
A: It really varies from patient to patient. Some patients tolerate the procedure well while other patients experience significant discomfort or pain while the energy is being delivered. This pain and discomfort are temporary and a signal that the collagen-building process has been initiated. We have extensive experience with pain management for Ultherapy and are able to offer the highest possible level of patient comfort during the procedure. Dr. Chwalek or Dr. MacGregor will adjust the procedure based on each patient’s response and comfort threshold and will provide numbing injections as well as oral medications as needed for patient comfort. There is no pain after the procedure and patients usually tell us that any discomfort was well worth it given the benefits to come.
Q: How long does it take to recover?
A: Typically there is no downtime, and patients can return to their normal activities after treatment.
Q: How long does it take to see results?
A: Patients may see some initial effect but most lifting and toning will take place over 2-3 months, as tired collagen is replaced with new, more elastic collagen. As this collagen-building process continues, further improvements can appear up to 6 months following a procedure
Q: How long do the results last?
A: Patients treated with Ultherapy still have fresh young collagen a year after the procedure, but skin continues to age. Future touch-up treatments can help keep pace with the aging process, and the appropriate frequency varies for each patient.
Q: Can Ultherapy replace a facelift?
A: Ultherapy is an “uplift” not a “face lift.” While it is not a replacement for surgery, it is a viable option for those not ready for a face lift or those looking to prolong the effects of cosmetic surgery.
Q: What about treating regions other than the face?
A: Recent clinical research shows that Ultherapy can be effective in tightening sagging skin on the body, particularly on the chest, abdomen, under the arms and around the knees. If you are interested in areas other than the face, please schedule a consultation with Dr. Chwalek or Dr. MacGregor to see if Ultherapy would be a good approach to tighten and smooth your trouble spots.
Q: How does Ultherapy compare to lasers?
A: Lasers typically address issues in the superficial layers of the skin (e.g. fine lines, wrinkles, pigment changes). Ultherapy addresses the deep skin layer to lift and lend support to the skin. The two technologies address different areas and thus can be used together when a combined approach is desired.
Q: Are there any side effects?
A: There may be slight redness for a few hours following the treatment, and it is not uncommon to experience slight swelling, tingling or tenderness to touch for a few weeks. These side effects are typically mild and temporary. It is also possible to experience certain post-procedural effects such as bruising and small areas of numbness, but these are less common and will typically dissipate over the two weeks following treatment.
Q: How much does it cost?
A: Ultherapy typically costs between $1,000 and $5,000 depending on the extent of treatment. You will receive a precise estimate after your consultation with Dr. Chwalek or Dr. MacGregor.
Q: Is Ultherapy safe?
A: Ultherapy has been cleared by the FDA after demonstrating safety in clinical studies, and tens of thousands of treatments have been performed worldwide without any significant adverse events.
Q: How many treatments are needed?
A: The majority of patients only need one treatment, while those with a fair amount of laxity may need more than one treatment. Annual touch-up treatments can help slow down the rate of skin aging.
Q: Who is a good candidate for Ultherapy?
A: There is a broad range of people who can benefit from Ultherapy, but typically those in their thirties and older are candidates. While this is not a replacement for surgery, there are many people who want some lifting, in order to look more refreshed and toned but are not ready for surgery (mentally, financially, or logistically). And then there are younger people who want to “stay ahead of the game” as well as those looking to prolong the effect of surgery.