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Thermage vs. Ulthera

A common question we get at our office is, “Which is better, Thermage or Ulthera?” Thermage and Ulthera are great noninvasive technologies to help tighten and lift the face, neck and other parts of the body. While we utilize both systems in our office to produce collagen and create a noticeable improvement in sagging skin, they work in different ways. The initial patient consultation and skilled selection is key in determining which procedure is right for you. There are many different skin-tightening lasers on the market and many consumers read about technology online and make their decision before even making their appointment. Some lasers aren’t for everyone, you want to make sure you are choosing an experienced provider with ample knowledge of their systems and the differences in laser platforms used on the market today.

Thermage before and after photos

While Thermage and Ulthera can be very effective, we would choose the appropriate treatment after a thorough consultation with the patient to determine which is best for them. There are different factors that come into play when selecting the right laser treatment for patients. The patient’s concerns, skin type and thickness, ethnicity, medical history, current skincare regimen, downtime associated with the laser and medication list are all considerations we review to make the right selection for you.

Thermage is wonderful for tightening specific regions of the face, neck and body with radiofrequency. There is little-to-no downtime, and patient’s report moderate discomfort. We do not use numbing for this procedure, as we want to gauge the patient’s comfort level and be able to modify this based on response. This is a collagen-stimulating procedure and results are seen over several weeks up to 6 months. We draw a grid-like pattern over the treatment area and, using a handpiece in a “stamping” motion, warm the skin to a point of optimal tightening. This may be done using multiple passes.

Ultherapy is an ultrasound laser that firms, lifts, and tightens by delivering heat to a programmed depth, creating collagen remodeling deep in the tissue. There is little to no downtime associated with Ultherapy and we do use numbing for this procedure. Once numb, we pass the handpiece 1-2mm at a time over the face, delivering the ultrasound energy at each point. There are a few different handpieces used during your Ultherapy treatment, each used to treat at different depths. The deepest handpiece is typically used for the neck and lower face, while the handpieces that treat more superficially are used in the upper region of the face and around the mouth.

Both give great results over time and patients like how natural, smooth and lifted they look over the weeks following these procedures.

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