Ultrasound being used to tighten, lift skin

February 28, 2011 4:58:52 PM PST
There is a brand new less invasive way to help people turn back the clock to look younger. It uses sound wave technology many pregnant women are familiar with. Ultrasound is now being used to tighten and lift skin.

Patty Baugh likes looking good. But despite her active lifestyle, some things are out of her control.

"When you get older, you have a little sagging in here," Baugh said.

So when this mother of two heard about a new procedure that promised to tighten the skin -- without surgery -- she jumped at the chance to try it. It's called "Ultherapy."

"It firms the skin without cutting skin -- that sounded exciting to me," Ultherapy patient Susan Smith.

Smith is about to get the same treatment. It uses ultrasound technology to slow down the signs of aging.

"So it's heating up the tissue and getting it to shrink a little bit. And that shrinking is what tightens the skin," dermatologist Dr. Suzanne Bruce said.

Dr. Bruce says it uses the body's own healing powers to renew skin. Some even call it a "facelift without surgery."

"I wouldn't say our results are equivalent to a facelift, but we are getting some nice firming and tightening without going through surgery," Dr. Bruce said.

In Baugh's "before and after" pictures -- three weeks after the procedure -- there's a noticeable difference. "And you can see that the skin on her neck is a little bit tighter, her jaw line is a little bit more lifted. Her cheek here is a little flatter. And here it's a little more plumped up," Dr. Bruce said.

"Immediately noticed the results. The next morning my husband said, 'Your jaw line's definitely lifted,' Baugh said.

"So we can kind of lift the jowls and tighten what we call 'turkey neck' under here. We can get some tightening under here and when we tighten the upper face, it'll lift the brow a little bit," Dr. Bruce said.

The entire session takes about two hours. Final results don't appear for about three or four months. But it's not without some pain.

"Usually we can keep that under control with medications and things like that," Dr. Bruce said.

And it's not cheap. It can run from $1,500 to $3,500, depending on how many areas of the face are treated. But for women like Baugh, it's money well-spent.

"Cause I don't want to look pulled and drawn and fake," Baugh said. "Just as good as I can... for my age."

Dr. Bruce says it usually takes one or two sessions to get that initial improvement. And the effects should last about two to three years before you need it again.