FDA gives the nod to Ultherapy for noninvasive skin lifting

FDA gives the nod to Ultherapy for noninvasive skin lifting

When most people agonize about fleshy extra skin under the chin or concentric rings on the neck, they immediately think about getting a facelift. Certainly, a facelift would do the trick but some cannot face a surgical procedure. Now, there's an alternative noninvasive procedure called "Ultherapy" that lifts via "sound," is commonly known as ultrasound but yields less dramatic results than a facelift.

Ultherapy has now been vetted by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a "face and neck ultrasound procedure that is clinically proven to noninvasively lift skin on the neck, under the chin and above the brow." It works without benefit of chemicals or foreign substances, relying on natural healing to lift the skin over a period of time, usually three to six months.

According to the Huron Daily Tribune, Ultherapy is based on the same ultrasound that delivered your first baby's picture. Imagine a sound that occurs at a frequency that bats and dolphins can detect, but not humans.

To create a lift in the skin, the goal of Ultherapy, the sound wave gets bumped up. The pulses are prolonged, converge for deep penetrations and allow the energy to narrow in on the same collagen-rich layer that is treated in a facelift.

Long and short ultrasound pulses are used to image and then treat. Using imaging, practitioners visualize different skin layers. In the treatment phase the concentrated sound wave energy supposedly encourages select cells to produce new collagen and elastin over time. The ultrasound is diluted at superficial skin layers, so that the skin's surface is not affected.

Following an hour of treatment, you may resume all activities, but there can be swelling and bruising. Ultherapy is definitely not pain free but some facial areas are more painful than others. Doctors may use oral sedation and local anesthesia injection.

The caveat is that Ultherapy doesn't replace a facelift and that results can vary from subtle to substantial. A board-certified plastic surgeon can tell you if you would benefit from this treatment.