The Surgeon Minute

Before a Surgical Facelift is Necessary, Look Into Ultrasound

Before a Surgical Facelift is Necessary, Look Into Ultrasound

The scalpel used to be the only weapon that could win the war against an aging face and neck. For some prospective patients with significant sagging skin that still might be the case. But what about the rest of us who are not ready for a facelift–either literally or figuratively? Dr. Christine Hamori’s Skin Spa is part of her busy surgical practice and dedicated to offering the latest in non-invasive treatments from skin care to lasers—and now ultrasound. Ultherapy® which is the only FDA approved procedure to lift the eyebrows, face and neck without surgery is enjoying increasing popularity. According to Dr. Hamori, Ultherapy® is often her recommendation for patients in their late 40’s, through the 50’s who are not yet candidates for a full face or neck lift, but are interested in tightening up their appearance.

by Isabel Bolt
and Christine Hamori, MD

The Beauty of Sound Energy

Think of sound vs. light. Ultherapy® uses sound energy (ultrasound) which bypasses the surface of the skin to go deeper into skin layers at high, controlled temperatures. This ultrasound stimulates collagen production at the skin’s foundation, without affecting the skin’s surface, lifting the tissues. “It is a modality of heating that actually causes facial shrinking even at the SMAS layer deep beneath the skin to the muscle,” says Dr. Hamori. Ulthera’s secret is collagen regeneration, also known as neocollagenisis, and has been clinically proven and cleared by the FDA. Laser treatments also treat skin, but use light energy which counteracts skin conditions that are more superficial in nature. They do not lift the skin.

Ultrasound has been used by the medical community for over 50 years, and is completely safe. Over 250,000 patients have experienced Ultherapy so you can be confident it has been vetted.


Common Areas Needing a Lift

Ultherapy® addresses the foundational layers of skin targeted during a facelift, but is not a substitute for a facelift if profound sagging of skin is present. At its inception, Ulthera was used for facial rejuvenation, lifting skin in the cheeks, jawline and eyebrow area. Now it is also used for under the chin and the neck to smooth and tighten—tricky areas to treat even with surgery. Recently, the FDA approved its use for décolletage lines and wrinkles on the chest.

No needles, No bruising, No downtime

A full face and neck may take up to 90 minutes, a neck or chest alone as few as 30 minutes. Ulthera® is an in-office treatment. Once the areas to be treated are marked, the ultrasound monitor allows practitioners to see the layers of tissue the energy needs to reach. Gel is applied and a handheld applicator is placed over those targeted areas. Patients often describe the experience as “prickly” or “short stings.” The sensation only lasts as the device emits the energy. Anesthesia is not necessary, but since comfort levels vary from patient to patient, oral medication may be prescribed. Once the session is complete, apart from minor redness or tingling, there are no strong side effects or telltale signs that anything was “done.” Normal activities can be resumed immediately.


Immediate Results?

You may notice a subtle change, but the true results gradually take place as collagen is remodeled from the inside, out. This is dependent upon how quickly an individual naturally regenerates collagen, but the average is usually 2-3 months to see a difference. The vast majority of patients need only one session. As time goes on, the aging process continues so touch ups might be necessary, but results do last because collagen is continually produced. Patients have reported results lasting up to two years.

Getting Started

A one on one consultation with a trained, experienced Ulthera® provider is the first step. After a careful assessment of a patient’s appearance, Dr. Hamori may recommend Ulthera® or perhaps another modality that will be the best fit in addressing concerns. “If the face looks a bit deflated, the brows sag and there is a lack of firmness in the cheeks, medial face, and lower eyelid, Ulthera® is a great tool. It also does a nice job on the neck.”

For all who recoil at the thought of a facelift, this might be the perfect intermediate remedy. Dr. Hamori has first-hand experience with Ulthera®. “I’ve had it done myself and really saw some immediate tightening, then it just continued to improve over the next couple months.”


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