How Long Does Ultherapy Last
If you’re not familiar with Ulthera yet, here’s what you need to know about how long this new type of cosmetic surgery will last. This non-invasive procedure is designed to help reduce facial wrinkles by tightening skin and reshaping fat cells underneath the surface. The results are permanent, but the process itself takes several days. Here’s everything you need to know about this minimally invasive technique from its originator, Dr. Robert A. Langer.
Ulthera was developed at Brigham & Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts by Dr. Robert A. Langer, a plastic surgeon who has been performing cosmetic procedures since he graduated medical school in 1968. He began studying as an orthopedic surgeon before deciding on a career in general surgery. In 2001, he founded Allergan Inc., which now owns his company and holds his patents.
In 2002, he came up with the idea behind Ulthera using his experience treating patients that suffered from sagging skin after having breast implants surgically removed — or “tummy tuck” surgery. As he explained in an interview with ABC News’ Good Morning America: “[T]he problem I had was that when we do tummy tucks, there is no real way to tighten the skin. There’s no muscle underneath.” After hearing stories of women in their 70s whose skin continued to sag even though they had undergone traditional facelifts, Langer realized that if he could find a way to strengthen the underlying layer of the skin, then he might be able to prevent these types of cases.
The first stage of Ulthera consists of two different treatments. The first involves injecting a small amount of liquid into each individual wrinkle, creating a gel-like substance that hardens over time and increases collagen production in the dermis (the middle layer of skin). The second step uses a tiny handheld device that heats up the injected gel until it reaches temperatures between 50 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. This process allows the heat energy to penetrate deep into the layers of the skin where the collagen fibers are located. It also triggers chemical reactions that encourage natural collagen growth while simultaneously loosening the tissue around the treated areas. During the third phase, the patient goes home and wears a compression garment 24 hours per day for three days, followed by 12 hours of rest every night. This helps promote healthy blood circulation so that the body doesn’t reject the foreign substances used during the treatment.
As of February 2012, more than 1 million people have received Ulthera worldwide. According to statistics published by Allergan, most patients were between 35 and 65 years old and all had experienced moderate to severe wrinkling of their lips, cheeks, forehead, chin, nose and/or neck. Most patients noticed positive results within one week of treatment, although some reported taking longer to see improvement. And most saw their desired results continue to improve for at least another year. One particular woman named Shari S. told ABC News she got her best results after just one session, saying, “It looks fantastic! No more lines; my face looks younger.” Another person who underwent Ulthera called it “life changing,” while someone else claimed that the results made them feel like they’d never gone through any kind of aging process.
Here’s everything you should know about how this new type of cosmetic surgery works, including how long it typically lasts.
Does Ulthera Hurt?
No pain, no gain, right? But does Ulthera hurt? Actually, yes and no. First off, let’s talk about discomfort. Unlike other forms of cosmetic surgery, Ulthera requires no incisions or stitches. For that reason, many people worry about whether or not getting poked and prodded repeatedly during the entire duration of the treatment is going to cause any problems. Thankfully, according to those who’ve tried out Ulthera, the answer is definitely no. They say it feels similar to going under anesthesia during a normal surgical operation and only takes about one hour total. Of course, you’ll want to wear comfortable clothing and shoes, and make sure you bring something with you to read or watch TV shows on your smartphone.
However, there is potential side effect associated with Ulthera that may require additional recovery time. People undergoing this treatment tend to get extremely hot during the procedure, sometimes reaching up to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. This means that they might need extra time to cool down afterwards, especially if they don’t stay hydrated. Also, because the treatment utilizes heat, some people report feeling slightly burned after the procedure. Finally, anyone hoping to get pregnant shouldn’t try out this treatment (or any form of cosmetic surgery) without consulting their doctor first. You could end up miscarrying instead.
What Will My Results Look Like?
Once the initial phases of Ulthera are completed, the next thing you’ll probably notice is how much smoother your skin appears. Since the procedure tightens the skin, it reduces the appearance of wrinkles. Over time, your skin will begin to look healthier and less inflamed. Your pores will also likely appear smaller and clearer. If you’ve ever gotten a tan line beneath your makeup, well, you won’t anymore. Your overall complexion will also benefit greatly from this treatment, improving the appearance of sunspots, age spots and liver spots. Overall, you should end up looking better and healthier.
But what happens beyond the immediate effects of Ulthera? How long will my results continue to improve? Well, depending on the severity of your wrinkles, your results will likely continue to improve for quite awhile — anywhere from four to six months. This is because the treatment stimulates collagen production in the dermis. Collagen is responsible for giving our skin structure and strength, making it firmer over time. Although you’ll still need maintenance sessions every now and again, Ulthera gives you permanent, youthful-looking results.
One of the things people often wonder about is whether or not Ulthera is safe for older adults. While experts say that it’s generally OK for most people to undergo the treatment, there are certain conditions that pose risks. Patients with diabetes, high cholesterol levels, pre-existing scarring and keloids should consult their doctors before trying out Ulthera. Additionally, people with heart pacemakers should avoid this treatment altogether. Those who smoke should also think twice about trying it out, as smoking will likely accelerate the onset of wrinkles.
Is Ulthera Right for Me?
Now that you understand basic information about Ulthera, it’s important to keep in mind that everyone’s skin differs. Some people respond very favorably to the treatment, while others receive little to no visible results. Before scheduling your appointment, it’s always wise to discuss your concerns with a licensed aesthetician at your local spa or dermatologist. At the same time, however, you should consider the following factors before signing on the dotted line:
Sun exposure history
Lifestyle choices such as drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes and caffeine consumption
Dos and Don’ts When Getting Ulthera
Most importantly, don’t drink cold water prior to your Ulthera treatment. Cold water will dilute the gel mixture and can potentially delay or stop the healing process. You should also avoid eating foods containing salt, chocolate and spicy food prior to receiving the treatment. These items can increase swelling and bloating, causing discomfort throughout the procedure. Finally, don’t shave your legs or armpits the day before your Ulthera appointment. Exfoliating products can irritate the skin and leave you open to infection.
For more information about Ulthera and related topics, check out the links on the following page.
If you decide to go ahead with Ulthera, there are a number of dos and don’ts you should remember. Drinking lots of fluids is a must. Try to stick to mostly clear liquids, like water and herbal teas, unless otherwise directed by your physician. Avoid alcoholic beverages, caffeinated drinks and anything with added sugar. Make sure to eat light meals beforehand, and try not to exercise too strenuously afterward. Keep away from saunas, steam rooms and tanning beds for 48 hours after the treatment. Finally, don’t apply heavy moisturizers immediately afterward. Wait at least two to three days to allow the skin to properly heal.
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