Learn all about one of the latest trends in cosmetic surgery- Ultherapy. Dr. Preminger explains.

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Ultherapy

Nothing beats a facelift when you want to look years younger. However, there is a variety of personal reasons why a patient may not be ready for such a dramatic and life-changing surgery. Dr. B. Aviva Preminger is pleased to offer ultherapy, a safe and effective alternative that can turn back the clock without downtime or simply extend the effects of cosmetic surgery. This exciting non-invasive procedure is based on the 50-year-old science of ultrasound, and is generating lots of buzz as celebrities like Jennifer Aniston and Kim Kardashian have praised ultherapy results.

What is ultherapy?

Ultherapy is an FDA-cleared procedure that lifts the eyebrows, neck, and chin areas, in addition to diminishing deep lines and wrinkles. Rather than using plastic surgery or heat-based laser technology to accomplish these aesthetic goals, ultherapy uses gentle, non-invasive soundwave therapy to bypass the surface level of the skin and trigger the body’s natural healing mechanisms. Another benefit of ultherapy over traditional techniques is that doctors use ultrasound imaging to precisely target the treatment area, thus enhancing safety and effectiveness. The procedure only takes 30 to 90 minutes, and most patients need just one session to get the results they desire. The basic premise is that surface-level tissues will be lifted and supported with a stronger, firmer foundation that builds in the three to six months following treatment.

Does ultherapy work?

Ultherapy is safe and effective for most patients, although researchers have found that the ideal patient is younger with mild to moderate soft tissue laxity and normal wound healing ability. Ultherapy can still be done if your skin has been damaged by the sun or if you are older, but you may require greater intensity or additional sessions to achieve significant results.

You may not be a good ultherapy candidate if:

  • You have too much loose skin or underlying fat
  • You have infections or open skin lesions in the treatment area
  • You have active or severe cystic acne
  • You have scars, implants or recent dermal filler work in the treatment zone
  • You smoke or have other lifestyle factors that may impede healing
  • You have a very heavy neck with marked banding

For the right candidate, the results are subtle, but impressive. Ann Marie McQueen, a 44-year-old journalist for Australian newspaper The National, underwent the procedure and reported: “All I really wanted to change was my neck and jawline and there is an obvious improvement and tightening there. I hadn’t even thought about the grooves around my mouth… until I saw the before-and-after pictures. To me, they are quite diminished.”

She adds: “I like that there is a viable, natural-looking freshening-up option out there that is not outrageously priced – compared with fillers and Botox, which are extremely expensive, can be painful, need to be done regularly and, let’s face it, can make people look weird if overdone.”

Ultherapy brow lift

Ultherapy offers less expense and less risk than a surgical brow lift, but the results are also diminished. It can work great for the right candidate – those with a milder degree of sagging and laxity. One study published in Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology found that the tissue was noticeably lifted in around 70% of patients. Endoscopic brow lift is needed to address more advanced drooping of the brows and eyelid hooding, but ultherapy can be a great complement to surgery for restoring lost volume and reversing early signs of aging.

Ultherapy for neck

Ultherapy is typically used as a skin-tightening treatment along the neckline. If you need to reduce underlying fat, you may still need a traditional neck lift. Ultherapy could then be used alongside the neck lift to add collagen and produce a nicer contour.

Ultherapy under eyes

Plastic surgeons on RealSelf say that ultherapy has been FDA-cleared to lift the brows and does so rather naturally, although it is not a true “replacement” for blepharoplasty, which is a more dramatic way of lifting, tightening, and defining the eye area.

How long does ultherapy last?

Ultherapy results should last several years, depending on age and genetic factors. More long-term studies are needed to precisely quantify how long the results last, but some surgeons note they are seeing patients return three to four years later for “maintenance” work. The longest lasting results are reported among surgery patients, but ultherapy results typically last longer than Botox and most other dermal fillers.

Ultherapy before and after photos

Ultherapy before and after pics offer convincing evidence of the procedure’s effectiveness, says Inquisitr, but it’s best to see photographs taken 60 days after ultherapy, once any swelling or bruising has completely subsided. “The collagen that’s stimulated by Ultherapy and elastin growth that happens in the 60 or 90 days or more after the ultherapy treatment should result in firmer skin,” according to the magazine.

Ultherapy reviews

More than 400 patients vouch for the effectiveness of ultherapy on RealSelf. Although, you may note that reviews of ultherapy have been somewhat mixed, with more than half of all patients stating the procedure was “worth it.” These discrepancies can be caused by a myriad of variables. For instance, was the procedure done by a trained plastic surgeon or a so-called “medi-spa” technician? Was the patient a good candidate? Did the patient undergo a comprehensive consultation to manage expectations and discuss what could or could not be achieved through ultherapy? Was the procedure done years ago when the device was first approved or in more recently?

Ultherapy side effects

Common side effects may include mild to moderate redness, swelling, bruising and discomfort. Most surgeons recommend taking a couple days of downtime to deal with these side effects, although some patients do return to work immediately.

Is ultherapy safe?

The safety of ultherapy is based upon years of clinical trials. There are no major ultherapy risks to report. Uncommon adverse events found in the studies include transient erythema, edema, occasional bruising, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation one month later, muscle weakness, transient numbness and striated skin patterns. Researchers noted that these outcomes appeared “to be due to poor treatment technique and are more likely to be associated with the use of the 3 mm and 1.5 mm transducers.”

Does ultherapy hurt?

Pain is the most common concern among patients, with reported pain scores around 5 or 6 out of 10 for those who decline any kind of pretreatment with pain relievers like NSAIDs, acetaminophen, topical lidocaine, or narcotic analgesics. Pain is also relative to the amount of intensity used during treatment – which has improved over the years, as the company has addressed these early concerns.

Katherine Rentmeester, writing for Today, says she felt no pain during her procedure. “The sensation of each of the hundreds of blasts was a strange one: like that split-second before you actually register that something’s too hot. It was the build-up to pain, without the pain,” she recalled.

“The only moments that made me push back hard into my chair were the first couple zaps over my cheeks, which sent vibrations ringing through my dental work. A wad of cotton between my cheek and teeth dampened the sensation completely,” she said. After the whole procedure was over, she noticed that her cheeks were a little flushed, but marginally tighter.

How much does ultherapy cost?

The cost of ultherapy is higher than Botox and Kybella, which do not last as long. Unfortunately, ultherapy is not covered by insurance, but Dr. B. Aviva Preminger works with all patients who can benefit from treatment to reduce out-of-pocket expenses and make it feasible. The ultherapy price can be broken up into several monthly payments, financed through a CareCredit loan, or covered by a Health Savings Account.

Ultherapy skin tightening in NYC

Dr. B. Aviva Preminger is an Ivy League educated, board-certified plastic surgeon. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of the New York Regional Society of Plastic Surgeons and the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, in addition to teaching classes at Cornell University Medical College. Anyone interested in ultherapy  in New York City can explore all available options by calling 212-706-1900 to schedule a one-on-one consultation with Dr. Preminger.