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|Medical Spa Treatments: Ultrasound|
Ultrasound is a noninvasive treatment used to lift and tighten loose skin on areas such as the eyebrows, jawline, and jowls, as well as improve wrinkles on the chest. Ultrasound uses ultrasound energy to heat targeted tissue under the surface of the skin, triggering the natural production of collagen. Although some people might see an effect immediately after their treatment, most real results appear over two to three months as the collagen gradually improves skin’s tone and elasticity.1
A good candidate for ultrasound is someone with skin that has some degree of laxity, to the point of looking, and often feeling, less firm. A lowered eyebrow line or sagging skin on the eyelids, for instance, is often the first sign of "maturing" skin. Loose skin under the neck and under the chin signals a patient might be a candidate. Typically, those in their thirties and older who have mild to moderate skin laxity are candidates. While ultrasound is not a replacement for a surgical face lift, there are many people who want some lifting but are not ready for surgery. There also are younger people who want to "stay ahead of the game,” as well as those looking to prolong the effects of cosmetic surgery.2
There are relatively few absolute contraindications, but these include infections and open skin lesions at the target treatment area; active severe or cystic acne; and the presence of active metallic implants, such as pacemakers or defibrillators in the treatment area. Precautions include treatment directly over keloids, implants, permanent dermal fillers, and the presence of factors that could alter or impair wound-healing, such as smoking.3
4; Most patients are able to tolerate the ultrasound procedure without significant pain. However, they can certainly feel the procedure. How intense this sensation feels is extremely variable from patient to patient. The heat felt during treatment can be controlled with topical and/or oral anesthesia.4
An ultrasound procedure typically takes around 60-90 minutes, but will depend on the area to be treated and the treatment plan determined by your practitioner. There are no special after-care requirements and you can resume your normal activities immediately.2
Long-lasting effect of ultrasound is dependent on each patient's age, genetic factors, and intrinsic and extrinsic aging factors. In general, patients continue to gradually improve over six months to one year.
AmSpa believes that most states consider or will consider ultrasound to be a medical treatment. Because of this, as with all medical treatments, prior to your initial treatment the medical conduct an in-person exam by either a doctor, a nurse practitioner or a physician assistant. Most states have found with proper training, education and supervision, most medical spa professionals (including professionals who are not licensed as RN’s or doctors) can perform ultrasound at this time. Please check with your local medical board, nursing board or health care attorney for more information.
The risks of ultrasound are minimal when an experienced provider performs the procedure. The most common side effects are redness, soreness, numbness and tingling, but these resolve shortly. It is possible to get temporary muscle weakness if certain nerves are affected, but again, this is not permanent. Although unlikely, it is possible to get burns from the treatment. It is important that you thoroughly discuss your concerns with your doctor before proceeding with the procedure.6
The quality of the skin is more important than the age of the patient, thus there is not an absolute age cut off when determining if someone is a candidate for ultrasound treatment.
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