Ulthera is under-whelming

Ulthera is a new non-invasive skin tightening device. The idea seems promising:  use intense focused ultrasonic energy to target tissue deep to the skin, heat and coagulate the tissue, thereby getting some tissue shrinkage and tightening.  It’s had great press on the various TV talk shows.  It is FDA approved – so we know it’s safe.  The question is:  does it work?

This week, at the famous Baker-Gordon plastic surgery symposium in Miami, Dr. Jeff Kenkel from Dallas reviewed his experience with the machine.  It wasn’t good.  The treatments were painful for the patients.  The results, using the standard protocol, were hard to see in the neck and face, even comparing side-by-side before and after photos.  The Ulthera treatment, however, did seem to work to give a subtle lift of the eyebrow area.(average lift :1.7 mm).  It was, in my opinion, underwhelming.

Nevertheless, Dr. Kenkel and his group are going to press on, and are in the process of developing a new treatment protocol to see if they can get some improved results in the face and neck…   Honestly, I’m glad I didn’t purchase that machine – I think I would have been very disappointed with the subtle results that were presented.  I suspect that many of my patients would feel the same way:  they expect more results for their money.

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