ULTHERAPY: THE SECRET FACELIFT
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Please tell us how Ultherapy works.
Ultherapy is a treatment that uses ultrasound to deliver energy to the skin. Most of the patent women know the ultrasound as a diagnostic instrument from the gynecologist. Ultrasound can also be used therapeutically, for example, to break up kidney stones. The ultrasound can be bundled in such a way that it only develops energy deep down but leaves the surface untouched. Ultherapy has adopted this type of technology.
Points are created at different depths of the skin at which the tissue heats up. This has two different consequences. First, the existing collagen, i.e. the elastic part of our skin, is contracted. Comparable to a natural schnitzel that is thrown into a hot pan. A fired shot consists of several points in a line that heat the tissue in depth. During the treatment, a grid structure of points is created over the whole face, which pulls the existing collagen together, which achieves the so-called immediate effect. I always fool around with my patients by doing one half of the face, handing them the mirror and then saying, “I ask twice as much for the other half.” (laughs) The second, actually much better effect is that this “pseudo-injury”,
How exactly does this process work?
From a biological point of view, a Mayday takes place and everything that is suitable for repairing tissue then runs at full speed. The main repairers are the fibroblasts. These are the cells that are responsible for the formation of connective tissue. The fibroblasts are thus stimulated to produce new collagen because they feel that there is an emergency. We have tricked the wound healing system into producing more elastic and collagenous fiber than we are age-entitled.
Does this effect get weaker if you use Ultherapy more often?
No, it won’t, as our wound healing is not weakening either. At least not on a scale that is relevant. Of course, a 14-year-old has a faster wound healing than a 90-year-old, but large scars grow together easily and stably even in old people. There are two success factors in Ultherapy: The immediate effect depends on how much collagen is actually present. Because where there is nothing, nothing can shrink. This is why younger patients have a more spectacular immediate effect than older ones. But I have also had older patients in whom I saw a lot more than I would have expected from my dermatological knowledge. So there seems to be a large, individual bandwidth here. The second part takes patience. You can compare it to a tulip bulb. If you plant it today, you cannot harvest a tulip tomorrow, it has to grow. You only see this effect after three to four months
. The complete formation of new collagen is completed after nine months
How would you describe the result in comparison to classic lifting?
For me, the most fascinating thing is that you are only able to shrink existing collagen and stimulate new collagen formation. You can’t overforce it at certain points, so an unnatural look never comes about. There is a wonderfully nasty statement about the facelift: “I mistrust people who wear most of their facial skin behind their ears.” (laughs) That can’t happen with Ultherapy, because the shrinkage of the collagen means the skin is just where it was and not anywhere else. This creates a very natural and fresh look.
But can you still compare the result with a facelift?
We call this conservative, non-invasive lifting – that is, without knives and blood. When you do Ultherapy, you can walk straight from the treatment table to the rendezvous of your life because you are not puffy or blue. Immediately after the treatment everything is possible, even exposure to the sun, because the treatment takes place in a layer of skin that does not interfere with UV radiation.
So there are hardly any side effects?
There are positions where nerves lie just above the bone. Going over it too often can temporarily offend the nerve. The emphasis is on temporary. It is a slight jolt of the nerve that recovers. But that does not actually happen if one is familiar with anatomy.
Why is Ultherapy so little known compared to Botox, Lifting & Co.? Actually, it’s not a brand new technology.
It’s not an entirely new technology, right, but it’s not so widespread because it is relatively expensive for the doctor to purchase. If you put it very hard: For a facelift you need tweezers, scissors, a scalpel and a patient anesthetist. The use of materials here is thus far below that of Ultherapy. There are also ongoing operating costs for the doctor with the device.
Who would you recommend Ultherapy treatment to?
She hardly excludes anyone. Extremely old patients shouldn’t expect too much, although I’ve already been taught otherwise. A person who does a good job in aesthetic medicine is impressive because he has mastered more than one trick. For example, if I have a very old patient where the surface is no longer beautiful, I would also do a surface correction in addition to Ultherapy.
What would this correction look like?
That varies depending on the appearance. I would treat age spots and couperose with a laser. If the skin is saggy and wrinkled, I like to do a chemical peel. The process can be compared to a house renovation: Ultherapy would be a renovation of the static scaffolding, but the paintwork has nothing to do with it.
This means that Ultherapy only works in depth.
Mainly in depth! Two-thirds of the treatments available to us work wonderfully on the surface but very poorly in depth. For a long time, the correction of deep limpness was reserved for surgery. Ultherapy changed that.
How often would you recommend an Ultherapy session?
A year and a half to two years is usually a well-kept interval for repetition. Of course it is also an economic question. If it is within the scope of the financial possibilities, there is nothing against an annual repetition that achieves very good results. A treatment costs between 3000 and 4000 euros for me.
Are there certain conditions under which Ultherapy may not be used? I can’t think of anything spontaneously. Of course, it would not be used on someone who is currently suffering from a serious illness or who has the usual contraindications for an aesthetic procedure. Ultherapy is probably the best prophylaxis on earth. If you start with Ultherapy at a young age, i.e. from the age of 30, it is unbeatable. And there is no habituation effect. It is also ideal for men. Aesthetic interventions are 90% a female domain. With injectibles like hyaluronic acid and botox
you can also work with men, but it is significantly more difficult and requires a very high level of expertise from the doctor performing the work. Ultherapy is a gift to men because it doesn’t femininize the face.