Many people don’t realize that ultrasound imaging can be used to lift skin and promote collagen production. One such noninvasive treatment, Ultherapy®, has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Practitioners use the ultrasound treatment to target deep tissue layers. They can use the device to focus energy where it is most needed.
Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy
Ultrasound therapy — long used for imaging and other treatments — is now helping to give people’s faces a lift.
Ultherapy uses noninvasive ultrasound energy to lift the eyebrow, neck and under-chin. Recently, the FDA approved the technique for smoothing décolletage (chest area) lines and wrinkles as well.
How does ultrasound therapy work?
Tonianne Grobmyer, PA, treats people with ultrasound skin tightening. She says, “The ultrasound skin tightening device reaches 5 mm deep under the skin, penetrating into the second layer of muscles underneath the facial muscles. Lasers don’t even go that deep.”
Going deep into the skin matters because that’s where your skin makes new collagen.
Stimulating collagen creation
Unlike other laser treatments that simply target the outer layers of skin, ultrasound therapy bypasses the skin’s surface. It delivers the collagen stimulating ultrasound energy to the deepest layers.
The dermis layer of the skin contains most of the skin’s specialized cells and structures. It synthesizes less collagen each year after about age 20. For women, estrogen levels decrease after menopause. This leaves the skin drier, thinner, and not as taut as before.
Once the dermis begins producing the new collagen, sagging facial and neck skin lifts and starts to look younger and tighter.
A micro facelift without the scalpel
Because ultrasound therapy is noninvasive, there is no cutting, no stitches and no downtime, Ms. Grobmyer says.
Ultherapy is a good alternative for those who cannot or do not want a face-lift or who at least want to put off surgery for a few years.
“After the procedure, clients can go right back to their normal activities without having to follow any special post-procedure instructions,” says Ms. Grobmyer. Most people see the full effect of the treatment about three to six months after the procedure. Some notice initial effects sooner.
One treatment is usually sufficient. However, some people need three or more sessions to achieve the desired goal, Ms. Grobmyer says.
For mild to moderate skin laxity
People with mild to moderate facial and neck skin laxity make good candidates for ultrasound therapy treatments, Ms. Grobmyer says. Even younger people (i.e., under age 30) can use the procedure as a preventive measure.
Some plastic surgeons use the therapy on surgical face-lift patients to enhance and prolong results of the surgery.
Ms. Grobmyer offers one final caveat for best results. Make certain the practitioner who does your procedure is certified and experienced in the treatment, she says.