THE SOUND OF BEAUTY By Dr Sarah Tonks
Ultrasound is a great way to quickly and safely get a great lift without any needles or downtime. Perfect before a party or just as a general pick me up!
Many of us look in the mirror and feel like we could use a little lift. Sagging and tired looking skin can leave us feeling like our appearance often doesn’t match the way we feel on the inside, or even if it does, its not something we would want to advertise to the world.
Now we have many options to help ourselves feel fresher and brighter; from dermal fillers and thread lifts, to chemical peels and laser, there are so many methods available to help us achieve this vibrancy without the need for surgery.
Ultrasound is one of the lesser known techniques available to get the results you might desire.
What makes ultrasound so unique amongst this huge collection of options is its ability to target the superficial muscular aponeurotic system, or SMAS, which is the layer of tissue lifted when undergoing a traditional facelift. It does this without the need for surgery, without the need for any anesthesia, with no bruising, or swelling or down time of any kind and its completely non invasive meaning nothing enters the skin except ultrasound waves.
These ultrasound waves are the same type of ultrasound used when checking on a baby during pregnancy or looking at a problem inside the body. The ultrasound uses a special technique to focus the energy into tight beams which are able to pass harmlessly through the skin without damaging it and they impact on the SMAS. When this energy reaches the SMAS it is deposited there causing the skin to contract and tighten. With my patients I use the analogy of putting bacon in a frying pan and the heat causing the bacon to contract. Perhaps not the nicest image but you can certainly see why it would work!
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Ultrasound can be used on various sites on the face and body. The most popular area is the neck and jawline, and I have a treatment which is particularly popular before big events called the “Party Lift” which focuses on this specific area. Other areas that can be treated are the forehead to lift the brows, the décolletage for crepey skin, and skin tightening on the bingo wings, stomach, thighs and buttocks.
On the day of treatment when you arrive at the clinic there is no need for any anesthetic, so no topical anesthetic, no local anesthetic injections as you would receive at the dentists. A jelly is placed on the skin to allow the probe to come into contact with the skin and the machine is activated. As someone who both performs ultrasound skin tightening, and as someone who has had it done, I would say that it feels a little like being zipped up from the inside. The treatment is over in around an hour and afterwards you can apply make up and go about your day as usual. There may be a little redness after the procedure, but this quickly subsides. Results are visible immediately, however you will look your best at around 3-4 months after the procedure as it takes a little time for our bodies to produce all the extra tightening collagen which comes as a result of the treatment.
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The lift and tightening will last up to 3 years, meaning you really do get a long lasting effect from ultrasound, which is amazing considering it is such a quick and painless procedure. You can combine ultrasound with other procedures which I commonly do in my clinic, and I have found excellent results when combining with radiofrequency skin tightening in particular. Radiofrequency skin tightening targets the dermis of the skin meaning when used in combination with ultrasound, it gives a sandwich effect, lifting and tightening from the upper and lower layers of the skin. If you are in the market for something a little more invasive, then ultrasound can be very effectively combined with dermal fillers, which is fantastic if you are looking for significant jawline or cheekbone strengthening. For a real non surgical facelift, you can combine ultrasound with Silhouette soft threads, giving an improvement like nothing else.
The ULTRAcel ultrasound machines available in clinics are operated by doctors only to ensure that the procedure is carried out safely, avoiding important structures in the face. Ulthera(py)a was the first machine introduced to the market, and more recently a device called Ultracel. You may have read reviews online stating that the procedure was particularly painful, however treatment protocols have now changed and since I started using my machine, I have never had any feedback about the procedure being too painful!