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Ulthera ultrasound treatments

Is a Solution for:
Sagging Skin
Reviewed by Marta June 11, 2010 20 Comments
Yesterday I attended a presentation about a new, non-invasive "skin lifting" treatment called Ulthera. Although I haven't seen a live demonstration of it, the description of the technology behind it and the before and after pictures were compelling. Plus, the Ulthera System has been FDA cleared and has been approved to use the word "lift". So how does this facelift without a scalpel work?

Ulthera uses ultrasound, a technology that most of us are familiar with as medical imaging when pregnant or having a breast exam. This means that a dermatologist using Ulthera can see an image deep into the dermis of the fibro muscular layer or connective tissue. At the same time, the ultrasound delivers a focused beam of heat (about 60 degrees celsius) for 20 mili-seconds. This micro-targeted and very fast heating of the tissue causes it to be "injured" and the tissue's response is to contract. The result is tighter skin.

However, contracted tissues aren't the body's only response. It also produces more elastin and collagen. Fun fact, 70% of us (by which I mean, the part that is not water) is collagen. Now you know. The before and after images, including one of a woman over the age of 70, were impressive. Ninety days after treatment, brows were visibly lifted. And I mean strikingly so. As were jaw lines.

In these days of digital retouching, few of us really believe in before/after pictures. Nevertheless, I was mostly willing to take Ulthera's at face value. This was largely because the scientist behind the system is Rox Anderson MD, professor of dermatology at Harvard Medical School and director the Wellman Center for Photomedicine at Massachusetts General Hospital (the world's largest laboratory dedicated to biomedical uses of light). Dr Rox came across as though he didn't have an inauthentic bone in his body.

I asked him how long he expected the results of an Ulthera System treatment to last. He replied that he was "confident that it is permanent". Which makes the likely cost of a full face treatment - in the region of $2,500 to $3,000 - more acceptable. Actually, I almost feel tempted to start saving. There are only 30 of these relatively new systems in the US so far. To locate them contact
  • May 27, 2015

    by Connie

    I bought the HIFU ultherapy for home use. I'm a little frightened to use it, and hoping that it is not as painful as getting ultherapy done in a salon. Do you know anything about the HIFU (High Intensity Focus Ultrasound) for home use?

  • March 23, 2015

    by Jean

    I opted for ultherapy for baggy eyes, after it was decided I wasn't a good candidate for my jawline-where I really need it. It was much more residual pain than had been explained - I had it 2 weeks ago, and my cheek bones still are very sore. Also, I can't get anything done lower down, as I had Bell's palsy, and apparently for your jaw, they have to zap your whole check area, not just on the jaw line, like I had hoped.
    Anyway, the numbness and temporary paralysis I had on my facial nerve after just the eye therapy, has convinced me not to go back for touch-ups! I have a very high tolerance to pain, but you expect it to go away, and having that nerve reaction was scary! But, that was just my experience - I got the Bell's palsy from Shingles I had in 2008 - stuff stays in you!

  • December 30, 2014

    by cheri

    I had Ultherapy done 3 wks ago. It was by FAR the most painful procedure I've had done. (And I've had quite a few.) I did it with no sedation or local anesthesia. If anyone is considering it, I would ask for both! It's too early to see if I get any results.
    They say it takes 3 months. Sure hope I get something in reward for my pain.

  • August 10, 2012

    by Marta

    Hi Penny, can you post a link to the information on Thermage and fat degradation? I haven't seen it. I wrote what I have learned so far about Ultherapy and fat reduction here: <a href="" rel="nofollow"></a>

  • August 9, 2012

    by Penny

    Hi Marta,
    Information regarding facial fat degradation from Thermage therapy has become available. Do you have the scoop on Ultherapy? What good is skin tightening, collagen production and jowl lifting (even if it's subtle) for the mature woman if facial fat, which decreases with age, will be compromised by this treatment. I look forward to reading your informative response. Thank you

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