Durham, N.C. — Some people who would love to have a facelift would never actually consider the surgery.
They don't want the stitches, a long recovery period, uncertain results or the cost associated with the procedure.
Thanks to a new non-surgical option that promises to make a face look three years younger, however, some people looking for the extra boost in confidence may be able to find just what they're looking for.
Dr. Julie Woodward, an oculo-facial surgeon at Duke University Hospital, says Ulthera, the first non-surgical facelift approach approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, has several advantages over traditional facelift methods.
For one, there is no need for actual surgery. That means no anesthesia, no cutting and no stitches.
"So, it doesn't do any damage to the surface of the skin," Woodward said.
Using a hand-held device that emits focused ultrasound rays to layers beneath the skin, doctors are able to create more collagen that allows skin to tighten.
"It creates more collagen in a very specific way," Woodward say. "It can lift the brow. It can lift jowls. It can lift the area under the neck."
Ginger Wilkinson, 43, is certainly a believer in Ulthera. Thanks to a job in the Duke Aesthetics Center, she was able to get an early look at the new non-surgical option.
"I feel like I'm too young for surgery, she said. "I wanted to do something less invasive."
Despite benefits of providing a non-surgical option, Ulthera doesn't compare to a standard facelift in terms of years "removed." Ulthera promises three years, while a standard procedure is said to take off 10.
The cost depends on the number of areas treated, but it usually runs about $2,000.
Pain during the procedure varies from patient to patient, but numbing gels and anesthetic injections are offered. There may be a little pinkness and swelling following the procedure, Woodward said, but it's not severe.
"You could go to lunch after having this procedure done," Woodward said.
Within about 90 days, patients start to realize the final results. For Wilkinson, who had her procedure about two months ago, there is definite improvement.
"Especially on my neck," she said. "It feels tighter, and it looks to me less saggy."