Nonsurgical face-lift: Ultrasound technology firms, tightens skin from the inside

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PHOENIX – You’ve probably heard of ultrasound or sonography. It’s an imaging technology that uses high-frequency sound wave to create pictures of the inside of the body in real time. Noninvasive and virtually painless, ultrasounds are commonly used by obstetricians to check on a growing baby’s progress and determine the sex of the child.

But imaging isn’t the only use for ultrasound technology. It can also be used as a nonsurgical face-lift, firming and tightening skin from the inside out in a single FDA-approved treatment.

It’s called Ultherapy® and Arizona Advanced Dermatology was one of the first places in Arizona to offer it. Ultherapy® skin rejuvenation is now available at several practices.

In Ultherapy®, the sounds waves are sent deep below the skin to the same tissue that is addressed in a traditional surgical face-lift.

The ultrasound gently heats the tissue to spark the growth of new collagen, which will lift and tighten loose, sagging skin – all without a single incision and absolutely no downtime.

The doctor uses the real-time pictures produced by the ultrasound to determine exactly where to concentrate the energy.

“It causes of a remodeling of the collagen,” explained Dr. Bill Halmi, the first dermatologist to offer Ultherapy®.

According to the Ulthera website, Ultherapy®, is “a 30- to 60-minute procedure that uses the body's own subtle healing response to gently, gradually-and reliably-restore memory to the skin and its underlying tissue.”

Some minor changes are visible immediately, but the real payoff comes later. While the big results happen slowly, they do happen. It can take as long as two to three months to see significant changes that become visible as “tired collagen is rejuvenated and supplemented with new, stronger collagen.”

Julie Riley couldn’t be more pleased with her results.

“It makes a luster to your skin, and it just kind of makes you glow,” Riley said. “I feel much younger and I love the way I look in pictures.”

While experiences vary, some patients say the treatment can be a bit uncomfortable when the energy is delivered and the tissue heated, but it’s temporary. Post treatment, the skin might appear flushed and the patient might experience some swelling, but both tend to be mild and resolve relatively quickly.

Again, there’s no downtime and no special preparation or recovery procedures.

Ultherapy®, is an investment at a little more than $2,000, but most patients only need one treatment.