New technology adds to arsenal of noninvasive facelift methods

April 8, 2011

New technology adds to arsenal of noninvasive facelift methods
New technology adds to arsenal of noninvasive facelift methods

Technology is running wild in every direction, especially in the beauty industry. The latest device seemingly targets sagging skin at multiple levels, using focused ultrasound energy to visibly lift and tighten skin, providing incisionless treatment for hooded lids, falling cheeks and sagging jaw lines.

Here’s how the device (Ulthera) works: thermal energy bypasses the upper layers of the skin (layers targeted by Fraxel and Thermage), safely heating the underlying connective tissue that lines the facial muscles, so that it contracts. That underlying connective tissue, known to plastic surgeons as the SMAS, is the same tissue cosmetic surgeons pull tighter in a facelift. The contraction of the SMAS results in an immediate tightening and a visible lift.

As if that were not enough, the device can then be set at a shallower depth. A second pass is made with the hand piece, this time aiming its heat at the skin’s upper layers to stimulate collagen growth. Self magazine, April 2011, quotes a well known Manhattan doctor with the best one-liners in town who calls this the “Spanx effect.” The cheeks lift back toward their apple position, the jaw line tightens and the brow no longer sags.

Plastic surgeons are excited about this multilevel treatment, which works on muscle and skin. Don’t be too excited though – Ulthera is not an adequate facelift substitute for tissue that is very lax. It is perfect for people who maintain a youthful appearance with Botox and fillers but are looking for a minimally invasive facial uplift.

It takes about one hour to treat the entire face and neck. Because Ultherapy is performed using ultrasonic imaging, doctors can view each layer of skin and muscle as they work, resulting in precision and safety. Possible side effects include bruising, swelling and a feeling of tightness days after the procedure. The greatest drawback is that treatment may hurt, ranging from a hot pricking sensation to short but intense bursts of discomfort.

A board-certified plastic surgeon or dermatologist can assess your skin quality to see if this treatment will be effective for you. Contact a plastic surgeon in your area through the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.


The mission of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) includes medical education, public education and patient advocacy. Plastic Surgery News Briefs are summaries of current stories found through various news and magazine outlets that relate to or mention plastic surgery and cosmetic procedures. The views expressed in these news articles do not necessarily reflect the opinions of ASAPS, but are merely published as an educational service to our members and the general public. For additional information on these subjects and other plastic surgery related topics, please go to www.surgery.org

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About ASAPS
The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), is recognized as the world’s leading organization devoted entirely to aesthetic plastic surgery and cosmetic medicine of the face and body.  ASAPS is comprised of over 2,600 Plastic Surgeons; active members are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (USA) or by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and have extensive training in the complete spectrum of surgical and non-surgical aesthetic procedures. International active members are certified by equivalent boards of their respective countries. All members worldwide adhere to a strict Code of Ethics and must meet stringent membership requirements.

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