Another non-invasive facial rejuvenation option is gathering momentum in the marketplace. The device, marketed by an Arizona company, is called Ulthera, and the treatment is called Ultherapy. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration cleared the equipment for treating saggy forehead skin in 2009, and today cosmetic surgeons, dermatologists and other doctors use it for tightening skin all over the face and neck.
What makes Ultherapy different than other non-invasive facial treatments on the market today—notably, Thermage and fractional laser technology—is it employs ultrasound to do its work. Whereas the Thermage system uses heat to penetrate the skin’s surface and Fraxel and similar devices use laser technology, Ulthera relies on sound waves to penetrate surface skin. As explained in the manufacturer’s press release, the sound waves trigger the body’s healing response, producing more collagen to support surface tissues. The skin is essentially lifted from underneath, as a firmer foundation builds 3-6 months following treatment.
Another innovation Ulthera employs is imaging. Ultrasound enables doctors to see under surface skin and precisely target the treatment area. According to the manufacturer, this results in increased safety and effectiveness.
Should You Try Ulthera?
The device has been on the market and in doctors’ offices for just over a year now, and most reviews are enthusiastic. In fact, on www.realself.com, 94 percent of the 24 patients who gave a review gave their treatment a thumbs up. You can’t get much better than that.
In comparison, on the same website, 40 percent of 175 RealSelf patients who tried Thermage found treatment to be worth the cost, and only 54 percent of 372 Fraxel patients rated that option highly. Even allowing for a smaller range of experiences based on the limited patient pool, the Ulthera results are impressive.
Should You Wait?
Still, there are reasons to stop and think before rushing out to find an Ultherapy provider near you.
The first and most obvious is the fact that the technology is so new.