'Ultherapy' lifts faces, necks without surgery

FDA-approved ultrasound therapy tightens, lifts

By Leslie Mouton - Anchor

SAN ANTONIO - How would you like to tighten your jowls or give your forehead a little lift without surgery? It's possible with an ultrasound machine that targets troubled areas of the face and neck. 

It's called Ultherapy, and it is the only FDA-approved procedure to offer a non-surgical facelift.

Dr. Manuel Lopez specializes in facial plastic surgery. But sometimes patients, like Lisa Atkins, aren't quite ready to go under the knife.

Now he can offer those patients Ultherapy as an option.

Atkins said she was thrilled to hear about it.

"I want some tightening. I noticed some loosening through my jowl area and I want to bring my brow up. I just want a more youthful look," Atkins said.

Lopez said the procedure doesn't use a laser but instead utilizes ultrasound therapy.

"They've actually focused the ultrasound heat below the skin so it will tighten the muscle and subcutaneous tissue below the skin. That's where you get your lifting and your tightening," Lopez said.

With Ultherapy, there's no cutting, scarring or downtime. There is, however, a little pain.

"You can definitely feel a little bit of an energy. It isn't painful, but it is uncomfortable," Atkins said.

Patients are given a light sedative to ease the discomfort. The procedure can take anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours depending on how many areas are treated and patients won't see results immediately. 

Because it works from the inside by building collagen, it takes time to see the results. 

But Lopez also said that Ultherapy does not give the same results as a traditional face lift, or neck lift. He said it's important for patients to have realistic expectations.

"What you are going to be getting is a nice improvement of the tone of your skin and firming up of that skin as well. But you will not get the dramatic results surgery would offer," he said.

He said Ultherapy is ideal for people who are looking for a little lift, and don't want to spend the money of a traditional face lift.  The cost is to $5,000 for Ultherapy compared to $10,000-$20,000 for surgery.

In just the last month, Ultherapy was approved by the FDA to also tighten the chest area, something Lopez called a major breakthrough.

"For that area, there really are no other options. For the lower face and neck, we do have surgical options, but there has never been a way to address sagging and wrinkling skin on the chest. Ultherapy now offers an option for treating the chest area," Lopez said.

Whether it's the face, chest or neck, Lopez said those looking for a little tightening with no downtime may find Ultherapy just the lift they are looking for.

For more information on Ultherapy, click here.

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