Ultherapy or Thermage for Skin Tightening
Non-invasive cosmetic aesthetic treatments are becoming more popular than surgical procedures because they offer impressive rejuvenation without the need for invasive surgery with long recovery times. With the advent of skin tightening lasers and injectable fillers, patients can rejuvenate their skin and long younger without having any “down time.” Two very popular treatments among patients for skin tightening are Ultherapy and Thermage.
*Disclaimer: Results may vary with each patient.
What is Thermage?
Thermage is an FDA approved skin tightening treatment which utilizes radio-frequency energy to tighten, smoothen, and contour the skin to create an overall younger appearance. With Thermage, the tip of the hand piece is directed on the skin above the area that is to be treated. A brief cooling sensation will be felt first followed by a heating sensation. The hand piece heats the skin and stimulates the production and regeneration of collagen. When this happens, the skin and its layers are stimulated to become firmer, smoother and tighter. A coupling gel is applied to the skin during treatment with Thermage. Thermage targets the collagen-rich dermis as well as the fiber septae in the subcutaneous adipose tissue layer by bulk-heating and uniformly distributing heat energy to denature and then remodel collagen.
What is achieved with Thermage is two-fold: an immediate collagen contraction from the heat applied as well as a progressive collagen remodeling from the body’s natural immune response to addressing the controlled trauma Thermage creates. Optimal results are seen at 6 months. The newly designed tips with Thermage CPT technology creates an even delivery of RF energy. It is also able to deliver more energy pulses, from 300 with the old Thermage to 900 with the new Thermage. The new tips are also able to deliver more energy pulses, from 300 with the old machine to 900 with the new one. It is no wonder with this new technology that so many celebrities have endorsed Thermage such as Demi Moore, Molly Sims, Oprah and Gwyneth Paltrow, and Jennifer Aniston.
What is Ultherapy?
Ultherapy is the first treatment that uses an ultrasound technology to stimulate the collagen response. This technology is by the company Ulthera, and it is the only treatment that is FDA approved for both tightening and lifting, particularly on the muscles of the face and neck. This technology targets the deep foundation of the skin that is also the area addressed by surgery. Ultherapy utilizes ultrasound technology, which allows the doctor to properly visualize the tissue that is targeted. An ultrasound gel will be applied on the skin surface before the device is placed over it. The doctor searches for the appropriate area and delivers the ultrasound energy.
What is the difference between the two?
Both devices can cause collagen formation in the dermis to help tighten the facial features. One of the key advantages of Thermage though, is that it is able to treat most anywhere on the body – face, neck, décolletage, eyelids, brows, periorbital region, arms, abdomen, thighs, buttocks, and above the knees. It can smooth, tighten and contour skin, as well as reduce the appearance of cellulite, in a single treatment with little or no downtime. Thermage is FDA-cleared for non-invasive treatment of wrinkles, rhytides and the temporary improvement in the appearance of cellulite. Thermage is also the first and only system to receive FDA clearance for non-invasive eyelid treatments. Ultherapy is only FDA approved to treat the skin around the neck and lower face. It is also FDA-cleared to improve the appearance of lines and wrinkles on the décolletage.
Thermage is a very tolerable procedure with the new CPT technology with no “down time.” There is no pain medicine or numbing cream that needs to be prescribed for the procedure. Since patients do not have to take any pain medication they may return to work and other normal activities immediately following the treatment. With Ultherapy strong pain medication has to be given. Due to the side effects of the pain medications patients may not return to their daily activities the same day. Thermage is considered the “gold standard” in industry with proven technology with over 1 million procedures year to date (as of 2015) and little adverse reactions.