Which is better Ulthera or Thermage….I have followed both technologies since their inception, Thermage for about the last 10 to 12 years, and Ultherapy by Ulthera for the past 4 years. Based on the science behind them and the patient satisfaction results, Ultherapy by Ulthera is a superior treatment.
Ultherapy by Ulthera is the only FDA approved device for both tightening and lifting of the muscles and skin of the face and neck, including the eye brows. Ultherapy is the only technology available that uses ultrasound to heat the muscles and skin to create both deep and superficial collagen production. The level of the treatment is visualized on an ultrasound screen to insure that the energy is being delivered to the proper level.
The muscle fascia or SMAS is targeted in the neck and face. This is the same layer that s surgeons tighten when they perform surgical face lifts. Ulthera energy goes deeper than any other energy device, 4.5 mm for the SMAS, and 3.5 mm for the deep skin collagen production. The patient satisfaction rate with Ulthera is about 90% in the clinical studies.
Thermage is a radio frequency technology device that heats the skin and subcutaneous tissue superficially. Although Thermage has been improved over the years, it’s main problems have been a very high patient dissatisfaction rate (up to 66%), and a very painful patient experience. Ulthera can cause discomfort as well, but if patients are enduring pain, they appreciate a result that they can notice.
Ultherapy, featured in Vogue, is a safe and effective non-invasive ultrasound (US) treatment that can lift and tighten facial skin and muscle without downtime. According to Catherine Piercy, author of the well written Vogue article, “Ulthera…is making it much easier to imagine a world in which hooded lids, falling cheeks, and lazy jaw lines can be treated without a single incision”.
Originally FDA approved for lifting eyebrows non-surgically,Ulthera’s unique state of the art technology is now used to lift and tighten the face, neck, and other areas of the body. It has successfully treated the lines along the upper lip that are most difficult to treat with injectables.
Ultherapy is performed in the office with only ultrasound gel applied to the skin. An ultrasound screen image allows the technician to visualize the level of treatment before US energy is applied to the targeted tissue. The treatment takes from 45 to 90 minutes depending on the area(s) treated. Cost also depends on the areas treated.
What about the discomfort level? Again from Ms. Piercy in Vogue, “If anything, Ultherapy’s greatest drawback may be the pain factor, which ranges from a hot prickling sensation to short but intense bursts of discomfort”. Patients can be given oral medications or local anesthetic nerve block injections if needed, but the majority of Ulthera patients are able to tolerate a properly performed treatment with a topical numbing cream.
Although many patients see immediate lifting results, the ultimate results do not happen overnight, but gradually over time. It can take up to 2-3 months for optimal rejuvenation. Ulthera has been used for close to 2 years. Some patients treated 1 1/2 to 2 years ago are now returning for second treatments. Though they still appear improved from their pre-treatment “before” photos, most desire further improvement, further turning back the hands of time. Patients feel and notice the tightening to the point of being satisfied. After two years of personal research and due diligence about the clinical benefits of Ulthera, as well as being impressed by the findings and experience of worldwide respected cosmetic physicians, I decided to add Ulthera to our practice 2 years ago. We have been overwhelmingly pleased with the results as have our patients. As with all cosmetic treatments, results will vary depending on the skill,experience, and aesthetic sense of the treating physician, physician’s assistant, nurse, or staff member. Results will also depend on proper diagnosis and patient selection. Side effects may include some bruising, swelling, and a feeling of tightness in the days after the procedure.
Ultherapy by Ulthera has been recently featured on Dr. Oz, The Doctors,as well as on Real Self reviews, links which you may access for further information about this amazing state of the art technology.