Ultherapy vs. Plastic Surgery
As non-surgical treatments become more and more popular, they are causing discussion throughout the world of plastic surgery. Issues that were once thought to only be treatable by going under the knife are now being addressed by totally non-invasive means. Patients are left wondering which option is best for them.
Ultherapy, also known as Ulthera, is the only FDA-approved non-surgical treatment designed to tighten sagging skin on the neck, chin, and around the eyebrow region. Understanding the pros and cons of both Ultherapy and traditional plastic surgery helps patients determine which treatment can best help them reach their goals.
What can Ultherapy accomplish?
Ultherapy is designed to stimulate collagen production throughout multiple layers of the skin. A vital protein of the skin, collagen production decreases over time, leading to wrinkles and skin laxity. Ultherapy works by administering focused ultrasound energy to trigger collagen production, reducing signs of aging in the process. While there are other techniques that use this same method, Ultherapy is the only device that is approved by the FDA.
Ultherapy can be used on both the lower (chin and neck) and upper (eyebrow region) parts of the face. It can also be used on the chest region.
What does surgery do?
Surgery is also designed to tighten loose, sagging skin. The difference, however, is that surgical procedures do not increase collagen production. Instead, skin and underlying tissue are tightened mechanically to achieve the changes that the patient desires.
Naturally, the location of the sagging skin will determine the type of surgery needed. A brow lift can be employed to address sagging skin in the brow area while a facelift can treat the lower face and upper neck region. Patients who are struggling primarily with sagging neck skin will benefit most from a neck lift.
How much downtime does each treatment come with?
When comparing the options, one of the key differences between Ultherapy and surgery is the amount of downtime. Ultherapy is basically considered to be a ‘no downtime’ procedure. The procedure only takes about an 60 – 90 minutes to complete, and patients are able to get back to their routines right away.
Surgery, on the other hand, comes with a longer recovery period. Patients usually need to take at least a week off from work and daily activities. Strenuous activities such as exercise need to be held off for at least one week.
Candidates for each procedure
Ultherapy is best-suited for people who are just starting to develop signs of aging. Patients with more extensive skin sagging may not get the results they are after from this procedure. In general, Dr. Weber counsels patients that a great Ultherapy result will achieve 25-30% of the results of a surgery on that same region.
Good candidates for this procedure will have realistic expectations. While Ultherapy can make people look younger, it cannot perform miracles. The patient’s health status also plays a big role in the outcome of the procedure. During the consultation, an in-depth assessment of the patient’s medical history is performed to determine any risks.
Surgery generally comes with the same criteria for candidacy as Ultherapy. Patients should be of sound body and mind and have pragmatic expectations for the results.
One factor that easily determines candidacy for surgery is the extent of sagging the patient is experiencing. Large amounts of sagging can be impossible to address with Ultherapy. Patients who need more work done should consider surgery.
Maintaining the results
Another factor to consider with these treatments is the long-term maintenance of results. While both treatments are highly effective, surgery is known for lasting longer and creating more dramatic results. Patients who choose Ultherapy over surgery may have to go back for follow-up treatments in order to preserve the improvements. Those who want to avoid that hassle may feel better suited for surgery, as a single procedure can create 10 years or more of improvement.
Dr. Weber can provide his expert opinion on Ultherapy vs. plastic surgery
Both Ultherapy and surgery can provide fantastic results to patients. In order to choose the right option, patients need to have a good understanding of their needs, their budget, and the amount of time they are willing to set aside for treatment. Dr. Weber and his skincare team are here to educate you and discuss which option will serve you best.
Dr. Weber is well-known for his aptitude for facial aesthetics as a medical student at Boston University School of Medicine. He further strengthened this passion for facial plastic and reconstructive surgery during a five-year Otolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery residency at Oregon Health and Science University. This training culminated with his fellowship in Facial Plastic Surgery at the University of Michigan after being selected from a pool of over 50 of the most highly qualified residents in the country. This prestigious education and training are why Dr. Weber can provide his expert opinion on Ultherapy vs. plastic surgery.