If there’s a non-surgical treatment that can resolve issues commonly treated with surgery, such as loose or sagging skin, you might wonder why anyone would choose the surgical treatment over the non-surgical. Take Ultherapy, for example. Also known as Ulthera, it’s the only non-surgical ultrasound treatment approved by the FDA for tightening sagging skin on the neck and chin and around the eyebrows.
Although Ultherapy is an effective treatment for the right candidate, not everyone is a good candidate for the procedure. Understanding what the treatment can and can’t do and fully weighing the pros and cons of it versus surgery will help you and your surgeon determine which treatment is best for you.
What Does Ultherapy Do?
The goal of Ultherapy is to jumpstart the production of collagen in the dermal layer of skin. Everyone produces collagen, a type of protein. But production diminishes with age, leading to looser skin and more wrinkles. Ultherapy uses ultrasound energy to stimulate the production of more of the protein, gradually leading to smoother, firmer skin. Although there are other non-surgical skin tightening treatments that use radiofrequency, Ulthera is the only FDA-approved device to use ultrasound.
Ultherapy is approved for skin tightening in two areas of the face. It works on the lower part of the face, such as the chin and neck, and on the upper part of the face, near the eyebrows. It is also often used on the chest area to help reduce the appearance of wrinkles there.
What Does Surgery Do?
Like Ultherapy, surgery can also tighten and firm loose and sagging skin. A surgical procedure won’t stimulate the production of collagen, though. Instead, a surgeon will make incisions in certain areas and will tighten the skin and underlying tissue to create a more youthful appearance.
The location of the sagging skin determines which type of surgery a patient will have. A brow lift will help reduce droopy or sagging in the brow area while a facelift targets the lower portion of the face and part of the neck. If a patient is primarily concerned with sagging skin on the neck, a neck lift is most likely the best option for her.
Another Big Difference Between Surgery and Ultherapy
One of the major differences between Ultherapy and surgery is the amount of recovery time required after the procedures. Ultherapy is described as a “no downtime” procedure. It takes about 60 minutes and many people are able to return to their daily activities right away.
In contrast, surgery usually takes longer than an hour to perform and the recovery time can be lengthy. Although the exact amount of downtime needed varies based on procedure and patient, people generally take about a week off from work and other light activities. More strenuous activities usually need to be postponed for longer.
Good Candidates for Ultherapy
So are you a good candidate for Ultherapy? Generally speaking, Ulthera is an ideal treatment for people who are just beginning to show some signs of aging and have a minor amount of skin laxity or sagging. If you have a considerable amount of sagging, you might not get the results you were hoping for from the procedure.
That said, a good candidate for Ultherapy will have a reasonable expectation for his or her results. The treatment can help turn back the clock when it comes to your appearance. But it won’t change other aspects of your life or necessarily lead to a dramatic change in your overall appearance. You’ll still be you at the end of it.
Your health also influences whether or not you’ll be a good candidate for Ultherapy. During your consultation, a surgeon will go over your medical history to make sure you don’t have any conditions that would rule out Ulthera for you.
Good Candidates for Surgery
A good candidate for surgery has to meet some of the same criteria as a good candidate for Ultherapy. You need to be in good health and you need to have realistic expectations for the results of the surgery.
There is one thing that makes a person a better candidate for surgery than for Ultherapy. That’s the amount of sagging that person has. If you have a considerable amount of sagging in the neck, such as a prominent “turkey’s wattle” or if you have very droopy eyebrows, surgery might give you better and more noticeable results than Ultherapy.
Things to Consider If You’re a Candidate for Either Treatment
If you are a reasonable candidate for either Ultherapy or surgery, how should you choose? There are a few factors to consider. One is the amount of time you have to set aside for recovery. If you aren’t able to take a full week off from work, Ultherapy might be the better pick for you.
Another thing to consider is maintenance. Both treatments provide long lasting results, but the results from surgery might last longer than the results from Ulthera. It’s usually recommended that you have touch-up Ultherapy treatments every year or so after the first treatment to help maintain your results. If you don’t might scheduling maintenance treatments, Ultherapy might be the better pick for you.
The first step to deciding between Ultherapy and surgery is scheduling a consultation with a surgeon to discuss all your options. At Mirror Mirror Beauty Boutique, Houston-based plastic surgeon Dr. Paul Vitenas offers patients Ultherapy and a number of other non-invasive treatments. He also performs a variety of facial plastic surgery procedures at his medical practice and surgical center. To schedule a consultation at Mirror Mirror, call 281-810-9083 today.