BALTIMORE, Md. - It's the first place people look when they see you – and the first place you notice signs of aging. But what if you could tighten your face without major surgery?
"It's the first FDA-approved treatment and technology to actually lift and tighten your tissue," explained Craig Vander Kolk, M.D., Plastic Surgeon and Director of Cosmetic Medicine and Surgery at Mercy Medical Center.
Ultherapy uses ultrasound energy to heat up layers of tissue – causing them to shrink, tighten – and make new collagen.
"I can target the layers that I want," said Vander Kolk, "And actually see it as it's actually being treated."
The procedure can treat areas on the neck, cheek, jawline and eyebrows, and it's completely non-invasive.
"It's kind of a nice change in technology, allowing me to treat something very accurately, but without making an incision," he said.
A neck lift requires about 10 days of downtime. With Ultherapy, patients can go back to work right away. Surgery typically costs up to 12 thousand dollars. The non-invasive treatment runs about 35-hundred. But the results may not be as dramatic.
"This is going to actually improve things 40 to 50 percent," said Vander Kolk.
Dawn Lichtenberg had Ultherapy three months ago.
"As I get older, I'd noticed that my jowl line had started to sag, and my neck was looking a little bit loose," she said.
Now, Lichtenberg has a tighter face and more confidence.
Ultherapy typically takes about an hour and a half to perform, and patients see results in three to six months after the procedure. The treatment can only be used on areas of the face where there is no permanent danger of nerve injury.
In an effort to lessen the signs of aging, some people opt for cosmetic procedures. As people age, skin stretches, and soon begins to sag or become loose in certain areas of the body. Cosmetic "lifts" are popular procedures to slow down these signs; doctors can remove excess skin or use liposuction to remove fatty tissue in the selected area(s). One individual's reason to obtain a cosmetic procedure will vary from another's; however, a common thread for most cosmetic patients is to gain more confidence.
(Sources: http://www.plasticsurgery.org/cosmetic-procedures/neck-lift.html, http://www.webmd.com/beauty/treatments/choosing-cosmetic-surgery)
PROCEDURE: It is important to have a consultation with your plastic surgeon and make sure that you are clear in expressing your desired result. A typical neck lift procedure consists of two to four stages: Removal of excess skin or the "Turkey Wattle" (Cervicoplasty), alteration of neck muscles (Platysmaplasty), and in some cases, liposuction to remove excess fatty tissue and Botox for problems with "banding". The procedure can last up to three hours, if no other cosmetic procedures are being performed.
NEW TECHNOLOGY: No downtime. No foreign substances. Although not as dramatic a change as traditional, invasive neck lifts, Ultherapy uses ultrasound energy to stimulate skin tissue. An ultrasound transducer emits high-frequency sound waves to, traditionally, record images throughout the body. However it is also sometimes used to treat soft-tissue injuries, which correlates with the use to stimulate the epidermal layers to create new, more elastic collagen. Noted as being painful, although noninvasive, Dr. Tina Alster, a Washington dermatologist, has created pain and antianxiety drugs for her Ultherapy patients. A topical anesthetic may be used although it will still be uncomfortable.
(Sources: http://www.ultherapy.com/about-ultrasound-skin-tightening, http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/what-is-an-ultrasound, http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/23/fashion/23Neck.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0, http://www.thedermreview.com/ultherapy/)