Surgical Facelift vs Ultherapy: Which Is Better?

The thought of undergoing a major facial rejuvenation procedure is both exciting and scary. It is exciting because you can achieve the youthful look you once had, but at the same time, it is scary as we are often told that it requires incisions and operations, like a surgical facelift.

Naturally, most people would prefer a non-invasive treatment method whenever and wherever possible before opting for major surgery. The good news is that the rise of non-invasive treatments like Ultherapy has made it possible for people to look younger without the need to go under the knife.

That being said, the right choice for you also depends on the condition of your skin, as well as the concerns that you wish to address. So how do you know which one would be better in giving you the results that you want? Read on to find out.

Ultherapy vs surgical facelift: What is the difference?

Ultherapy is a non-surgical skin tightening and lifting treatment that uses micro-focused ultrasound energy with real-time visualisation (MFU-V) to stimulate the skin’s collagen production and reduce the appearance of fine lines.

A surgical facelift, on the other hand, is an invasive treatment that involves a much longer process and an even longer recovery time. This is due to the fact that this procedure requires surgeons to remove unwanted skin, elevate facial tissues, re-drape and then stretch the remaining skin over facial contours. Due to the extensive work and processes involved in a surgical facelift, there is also a higher risk of patients developing complications or infections.

While Ultherapy is unable to give the same amount of lift and tightening as a surgical facelift, this “Gold Standard” non-invasive lifting and skin tightening treatment uses technology that focuses on stimulating collagen production in the skin to allow for tighter and better skin quality. Results of treatment last up to 12 to 18 months.

What are the processes involved in Ultherapy and a surgical facelift?

For Ultherapy:

There is minimal preparation needed for an Ultherapy treatment, which is why it is also sometimes referred to as a “lunchtime facelift”. Candidates can eat, exercise and perform other regular routines prior to a session.

During the treatment, your provider will remove any makeup and other skincare products from the area they will work on, and apply an ultrasound gel. The Ultherapy device is then placed on the skin and, using the ultrasound viewer, will proceed to deliver micro-focused ultrasound energy to the targeted areas. Patients may experience quick, intermittent feelings of heat and tingling during treatment, but these often disappear shortly after.

The procedure can last up to 90 minutes depending on the area of treatment, after which candidates can carry on with their daily activities.

Ultherapy treatments have minimal to no downtime or side effects, and even minor ones such as swelling, redness, soreness, bruising, and numbness or tingling will dissipate in a few days.

As for results, patients will typically notice an immediate improvement after, but more palpable results will begin to show after a few weeks. Results will also get even better as time goes by with final results taking up to 6 months to show.

For surgical facelifts:

As for a surgical facelift, the process is a lot more complicated as it involves a lot of medical reviews and examinations as well as a facial examination to determine if you are a good fit.

Prior to the surgery, you will also be asked to avoid eating on the night before your facelift and you will then be administered anaesthesia on the day of surgery. Underlying tissue and muscles will be tightened and fat in the face, neck and other treatment areas are typically sculpted, removed or redistributed during surgery, and the wounds will be stitched or taped closed after.

A facelift generally takes two to four hours to complete, and it is recommended that you arrange for help or assistance after surgery.

Patients may experience mild to moderate pain, drainage from the incisions, swelling, bruising and numbness after, and they are required to attend follow-up appointments and undergo significant postoperative downtime before a full recovery is made. This typically takes anywhere between a few weeks to months.

The key takeaway

While both options are usually recommended for minimising skin sagging and laxity, a facelift usually provides more dramatic results while Ultherapy offers a more natural way by lifting the skin from deep within (hence, the term facelift without surgery).

Ultherapy is considered the better option for those who are beginning to notice sagging or other signs of ageing, or for those who want to take preventative measures. If you have very severe sagging, on the other hand, you might just benefit from a surgical facelift.

Still on the fence about whether a traditional facelift or non-invasive skin tightening with Ultherapy will get you the results you want? Speak to the experts at our partner clinics today and they will be more than happy to answer all the questions you have for you to make the right decision.

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