Q: I am having an important social function next month and when the family had photos done I was truly shocked to see how old I looked in the pictures. I went to a plastic surgeon but he said a facelift would help me very much but he would not do it that close to the function. Although most people heal pretty well that they can camouflage the redness of the incisions after two weeks, I might be very swollen and it might look more obvious that I had a lift at the time of the function. Furthermore, if there were a complication I might eventually heal very well but I could look even disfigured in a few weeks. Is there anything else I can try like ultherapy?
A: I doubt that Ultherapy would help in just a few weeks to make your face look so different. Most of the lifting I see from Ultherapy occurs between three and six months, or more. I have had some patients thrilled that they’ve noticed results in the first month, but they’re the minority. On the other hand the risks are so low compared with facelift that it can be a consideration to have Ultherapy in case there is some benefit realized so soon after your treatment to make you feel more confident at the social event. There is however, a risk in facelift of a nerve injury that could make the mouth corner droop and there is a risk of nerve irritation with Ultherapy too. The nerve injury in facelift could be more long lasting, especially if the nerve is completely severed but it can regrow. In Ultherapy, there have been several reported cases of temporary neuralgia. The nerve gets irritated from the deep ultrasound and it “goes to sleep” or hibernates. The nerve function resolves spontaneously usually in a few weeks. You must understand this risk if you’re going to have the Ultherapy so soon before the social date.