By Steven M. Daines, MD

Although the aging process is inevitable, there are treatments available that can give you a more youthful appearance. While the facelift is a very popular facial rejuvenation option, there are also nonsurgical alternatives like Ultherapy that have gained popularity.

Both procedures can improve the appearance of your skin, but many patients want to know the difference between the two procedures, as well as which results last longer — Ultherapy or a facelift.

Explore Your Options for Facial Rejuvenation

If you are considering a facial rejuvenation procedure, it’s always best to discuss your options with a plastic surgeon. The plastic surgeon will evaluate your facial features and identify your specific needs. With your surgeon’s help, you will able to make the right decision regarding which facial rejuvenation program will meet your aesthetic goals.

Ultherapy Procedure

Ultherapy is a minimally invasive, low-risk facial rejuvenation treatment that uses ultrasound to renew the skin. Minimally invasive treatments such as Ultherapy have increased in popularity due to the minimal downtime associated with them.

Ultherapy is often the ideal solution for people who want a more youthful look because it tightens and lifts the skin. It is a good alternative for older adults who are not ready or willing to undergo surgery, or for younger patients who would like to get a head start in the battle against aging.

How Ultherapy Works

The focused ultrasound energy penetrates down to the structural layers to stimulate collagen production, without disturbing the outer surface layer of the skin. Ultherapy is the only minimally invasive facial treatment that affects the support layers of the skin, which are addressed during surgery.

A full facial rejuvenation treatment takes about 60 minutes to complete.


A facelift is a surgical procedure that is done to eradicate the natural symptoms of aging and improve your overall appearance. A facelift generally treats the lower half of the face, as it improves sagging jowls and jawline, and loose skin on the neck. When done correctly, a facelift should give you natural-looking results.

Traditional facelift surgery involves removing excess skin and tightening the underlying muscles. For best results, the surgeon will lift the structures of the face and recontour the facial features, and remove only a minimal amount of tissue.

What Procedure Should You Choose?

When considering either of these procedures, it’s important to have realistic expectations about your outcomes. The decision regarding which procedure to choose will depend on the condition of your skin, as well as your specific goals. Ultherapy is a less invasive procedure with minimal downtime and few complications, while cosmetic facelift surgery is a longer procedure that also comes with a longer recovery time.

Which Results Last Longer?

The results seen with Ultherapy are not equivalent to those achieved with surgery, but it is a good facial rejuvenation option for the right candidate. Just as the the aesthetic outcome Ultherapy varies among individuals, so does the length of the time that results last.

The effects of Ultherapy treatment typically last between 1½ and 2 years. However, some effects are long-term because Ultherapy stimulates collagen production. Collagen is a natural protein that keeps the skin firm and toned. These estimates can vary between patients based on the following factors:

  • Age
  • Genetics
  • Intensity of Treatment

A facelift will produce more dramatic, longer-lasting results. Typically the results from a facelift last 5 to 10 years. However the longevity of the facelift is influenced by several factors, including the quality of your skin. If you had great skin before the facelift, your results are likely to last longer than someone who had damaged skin.

Although the normal aging process will continue, undergoing an Ultherapy procedure will provide noticeable results. Similarly, undergoing a facelift will make you look younger than you are, even as you age.While patients who undergo Ultherapy often have a revision treatment after 1 to 2 years, few patients have a second facelift.

Steven M. Daines, MD, is an accomplished Double Board Certified facial plastic surgeon in Newport Beach who specializes in rhinoplasty and advanced facial rejuvenation.