Thread Lifts vs Ultherapy vs Thermage
The face is not made of skin alone. Under the skin, and pretty much in continuation with it, are the fat pockets, fibrous tissues, muscles of the face as well as ligaments. Together they make up the fibro-muscular layer is also called the SMAS.
This is the layer which surgeons tighten during a surgical-facelift. It is also the layer which many thread lifts target. Thread lift procedures like the Happy Lift and Silhouette Threads pull on the SMAS to create the lift. But these are semi-invasive procedure where we deliberately anchor the threads to the SMAS layer for the lifting effect. One can expect some recovery time in the form of bruises and swelling, but because the threads if inserted properly, traverse the rather avascular fat pockets within the SMAS, the bruising and swelling is usually less than expected for such a procedure.
With Ultherapy, we can target the SMAS selectively and non-invasively. That is to create a non-surgical SMAS Lift.
Because it is non-surgical, there is no recovery-time. But the Ulthera is by no means any less accurate or precise as compared with surgical methods. With a built-in ultrasound scan, the Ulthera can accurately locate the SMAS and deliver a very precise dose of energy to it. This results in the immediate contraction of the fibro-muscular layer and a lifting of the face – an effect that is probably due to mild swelling. Collagen regeneration then goes on for another 3-6 months. Read about the pivotal study.
Thermage actually only tightens the skin of the face, so technically it isn’t a SMAS Lifting device. However the skin quality changes like improvement of wrinkles and pores is a tad bit better than Ultherapy.
Hence, when we talk excitedly about skin-tightening, we are actually talking about tightening mainly the tissues immediately under the skin which is collectively called the Superficial muscular aponeurotic system (SMAS).
Comparison of Thread Lift vs Ultherapy vs Thermage
|Face Lifting mechanism||By barbs attaching to fat pads||New collagen formation||New collagen formation|
|Invasiveness||Invasive, with recovery time||Non-invasive, no recovery time||Non-invasive, no recovery time|
|Degree of lifting||Mild to moderate||Mild to moderate||Mild|
|Skin quality improvements||None||Mild||Mild, but slightly better than Ultherapy|