A revolution in skin-tightening treatments, Ultherapy (also known as Ulthera) has become even more popular in the last few years. Ultherapy was the original aesthetic treatment that incorporates ultrasound imaging for the visualization of tissue beneath the skin’s surface. There are many copycat “ulthera” nowadays. Guided by the ultrasound scan of the skin’s different layers, focused-ultrasound energy can be delivered at prescribed depths within the skin. The energy enables a tightening of skin tissue while leaving superficial layers completely intact. Ultherapy is FDA approved since 2009 for Skin Tightening.
NON-SURGICAL SMAS LIFT
The layer of skin that is of interest is the fibromuscular layer (also called the SMAS). It is a tough layer in the face and neck, and is rich in collagen and elastin. The SMAS is the layer which surgeons target in an open facelift procedure to produce the lift. It is also this layer which threads inserted during thread lifts procedures attach to.
The SMAS can now be accurately visualized with Ultherapy and energy (focused ultrasound) delivered precisely to it. The energy contracts the fibrous tissue within the SMAS and gives rise to a mild facelift-type effect.
Ultherapy (skin-tightening with Ulthera) has been shown to produce measurable lifting of lax skin. In the pivotal clinical trial, noticeable improvement occurred in
nearly 9 out of 10 patients (89%)
resulting in less hooding or skin laxity on the upper eyelid and a more open, refreshed appearance overall. Study patients noted lifting, tightening and firming in other areas of the face and neck as well, such as the cheeks and along the jawline. Results developed gradually over a 90-day period following treatment and were still noticeable in patients assessed at 10 months after treatment.
Treatments That Compliment Ultherapy
Because Ultherapy affects the deep layers, it is compatible with other cosmetic procedures addressing tissues which are either more superficial or deeper than the SMAS. Procedures like IPL, B*TOX and fillers are example of procedures that are more superficial than Ulthera‘s effects on the SMAS. The DL Lift is a particular fillers technique named after Dr David Loh which complements Ultherapy well. The Thread Lifts, on the other hand, goes much deeper to reposition the fat compartments of the face and as such also complements Ultherapy extremely well.
Very often with sagging skin, it is a combination of loss of elasticity and a loss of fat that is causing the sagging. Treatments targeting at either lifting skin or re-volumizing the face only addresses part of the problem. A combined approach would often produce more dramatic and more natural results.