What is Ulthera / Ultherapy?
Ulthera, or Ultherapy, is a FDA-cleared non-surgical procedure that utilizes high intensity focused ultrasound energy to create small and precise thermal coagulation zones (TCZ) at specific depths beneath the skin.
This technology enables the operating physician to precisely target different layers of the face to achieve tightening and lifting of sagging facial tissues while sparing the overlying skin.
Ultherapy can be safely performed to treat the following areas:
- Around the eyes
- Lower face
- Double chin
Is the Ulthera / Ultherapy a HIFU?
The difference is, the Ultherapy is currently the only HIFU that comes with real-time imaging. This gives the doctor a greater degree of control and accuracy as we will be able to visualize which layer under the skin the energy is being applied.
Real-time imaging also enables the physician to avoid firing directly onto bone and blood vessels. This results in a very precise treatment with an excellent safety profile.
How Ultherapy Works
With the use of special transducers, the Ulthera is able to focus the ultrasound energy into very precise depths under the skin, namely 4.5mm, 3mm and 1.5mm.
The directing of energy into small focal points at the thermal coagulation zones enables the temperatures under the skin to rise to more than 60°C.
This high temperature kickstarts the target area to undergo a collagen production process, known as neo-collagenesis. The end result is a decrease in skin laxity with a firmer and more youthful visage.
At 1.5mm, the dermis is targeted for the treatment of more superficial layer and areas with thinner skin such as the forehead and temples. This treats fine lines, and tightens the skin on the dermis.
The 3.0mm transducers treats the deep dermis layers, targeting the skin structure to stimulating collagen growth. At this depth, it also targets fat!
4.5mm depth is where the lifting magic happens. With the 4.5mm transducer, the physician is able to target and treat the subcutaneous musculo-aponeurotic system (SMAS) layer.
The SMAS is a very important fibrous network consisting of muscle, collagen and elastic fibres. This is the same layer that plastic surgeons target when performing a surgical facelift!
How soon can I see the effects?
The collagen stimulation process kick starts right after the procedure. Due to the contraction of collagen fibres, some patients are able to see some immediate tightening of the skin.
The best results are seen at 3 months, but the tightening and lifting improvements can be gradually noticed over time. Some patients may continue to see improvements for up to 6 months!
Depending on the treatment area, expect to see improvement in the following:
- Fine lines
- Lifted brows
- Tightening of the undereye area
- Lifted laugh lines (nasolabial fold)
- Lifted marionette lines
- Enhanced jaw line definition
- Double chin reduction
- Slimmer face
Is Ultherapy Painful?
Due to the high amount of heat generated under the skin, Ultherapy can be a little uncomfortable.
To minimize the discomfort experienced, topical anaesthesia is applied before the procedure. At Mizu, we put ourselves in your shoes and would want you to feel as comfortable as possible. We also offer patients additional options such as oral painkillers and numbing injections.
How long is the procedure?
Depending on the area, treatment time can take anywhere from between 45 minutes to 2 hours.
A full-face treatment can take up to 1 hour 30 mins, while a half face treatment typically takes about 45 minutes.
This does not include numbing time of approximately 30 minutes.
What's the downtime for Ultherapy?
There is little to no downtime and one should be able to go back to work immediately after the treatment.
Your skin might look a little flushed, but this can be covered by make up. Some patients may experience a swelling and some soreness along the jawline for 1-2 weeks.
Who will be suitable for Ultherapy?
The best candidates for Ultherapy are typically those in their 30s-50s with mild to moderate skin laxity/sagging. Younger patients who are just starting to show signs of aging would also benefit from this treatment.
For older patients with moderate-severe skin laxity, the procedure can still be performed bearing in mind that it will not have the same drastic results as a surgical facelift.
For a more optimal lift, your doctor may suggest combination treatment with Profhilo, muscle relaxing toxins and/or fillers.
How long will the results last?
Most patients only need to undergo a single treatment every 1-1.5 years.
As every individual has a different natural ageing process and a different degree of skin laxity, one may benefit from combined treatments.
At Mizu, we do a consultation before any treatment to ensure that you are given a detailed breakdown of what you need, why you need it and what works well with it.
Unsure if you need the Ultherapy? Make an appointment for a consultation with one of our doctors to understand more about what would work well for your unique needs!