Choosing Between Ultherapy and a Facelift — Which Is Better?

Our faces are the first thing people notice about us, and usually (for better or worse) the way they estimate our age. Makeup, of course, is a time-honored

strategy for concealing the first signs of aging, though it’s also a double-edged sword: the wrong makeup (or too much) can actually make you look even older. So if you’re ready to consider deeper, more permanent steps, you have at least two excellent options to choose from.

There’s a reason the facelift is still the gold-standard cosmetic procedure for women over forty: when performed by an expert facial plastic surgeon like Dr. Patrick Flaharty, the results appear dramatic yet natural. You’ll still look like yourself, just a younger version of you. Bonus: you get to keep all the wisdom that experience has taught you. Because facelifts are effective only for tightening skin of the lower face and neck, you may want to bundle your facelift with additional treatments to address loose or wrinkled skin on your forehead or around your eyes. With proper lifestyle and skincare, your new-and-improved face should maintain its smooth youthfulness for up to ten years.

The noninvasive procedure, Ultherapy, may be right for you if you’re just beginning to be a bit dissatisfied with the sagging along your jawline or eyelids, but aren’t yet ready to commit to a more dramatic (and expensive) facelift. Think of it as “pre-juvenation” — getting a head start! You can also use Ultherapy as maintenance after a facelift to prolong those results!

Ultherapy is a non-surgical lifting procedure that uses ultrasound technology to penetrate deep into the foundational tissue. Using an Ulthera wand, Dr. Flaharty can actually see the underlying layers of skin to directly focus ultrasound energy that stimulates collagen production in targeted areas. Ultherapy is FDA-approved to treat sagging, wrinkled skin on the brow, cheeks, chin, jawline, neck and even cleavage. It’s completely non-invasive — no cutting, sutures or scars — and can be completed in sixty to ninety minutes. Aside from some minor bruising, there is no significant downtime and no post-treatment pain medication required. Ultherapy can also be repeated as many times as needed, pending your doctor’s approval.

Most patients elect to use a numbing cream and/or ibuprofen prior to the treatment. When beginning the procedure, a cooling ultrasound gel is applied to the target areas, which helps conduct energy. One patient described the sensation as a bit like being pricked by needles, though less painful than laser hair removal. The results will be noticeable by the time you leave the facility: your treated skin will feel smoother and tighter, though you may notice some achiness and itching. Over the next three months, you’ll notice an increase not only in the fullness and elasticity of your skin, but also in compliments and questions about your appearance (“You must be getting plenty of sleep!” “Did you change your hairstyle?”)

It’s important to note that, while both a facelift and Ultherapy will tighten the skin, neither will actually replace lost volume. You may decide to supplement either with some sort of volumizing filler. Facelifts often require additional fat transfer to targeted areas, while Ultherapy is most effective when combined with non-surgical dermal fillers, like Restylane or Radiesse. Dr. Flaharty can help you understand the benefits and potential risks of both procedures when you come in for your free consultation. Whichever you choose, you’ll have the surety of knowing you’re in the hands of a qualified facial plastic surgeon with the highest of credentials, who has helped many patients achieve their dreams of enjoying youthful beauty throughout their entire lives.


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