Can acne be improved with Ultherapy?

June 20, 2014

“Can we improve acne with Ultherapy?” It’s a question Michael Gold, M.D., Nashville, Tenn., asked during his presentation, “Micro-focused Ultrasound and RF for Skin Tightening: New Clinical Concepts,” at Vegas Cosmetic Surgery 2014 recently.

“Can we improve acne with Ultherapy?” It’s a question Michael Gold, M.D., Nashville, Tenn., asked during his presentation, “Micro-focused Ultrasound and RF for Skin Tightening: New Clinical Concepts,” at Vegas Cosmetic Surgery 2014.

Ultherapy, he pointed out, is a technique many aesthetic doctors have embraced as part of their nonsurgical treatment offerings because of the nature of results. The bottom line: Ultherapy delivers. While this technology currently has face and neck indications, the company continues to investigate others, he said. According to Dr. Gold, Ulthera has just submitted a clinical article for publication describing study results for chest skin tightening as well as to the FDA for approval. As an interesting aside, he also noted that the company has just completed a knee tightening study too. One of Dr. Gold’s focuses, however, was on data from Ulthera’s acne study.

The acne study

In the study, 22 patients (average age 23) with moderate-to-severe acne were treated with Ultherapy using the 1 mm transducer (Amplify tip) for superficial skin treatment. At the three- and six-month follow-up, a significant number (80 to 90 percent) noticed improvement, with improvement reported as far out as 90 days. Patient satisfaction was very high, around 80 percent, he said.

Despite the positive results with Ultherapy for acne treatment, pain control continues to be an issue, Dr. Gold said. Most patients in the study reported moderate pain during treatment.

The new tip called Amplify, he said, helps to keep pain to a minimum. For clinicians who do not have the new tip, however, the study examined cutting back on the power to help minimize patients' pain. As for efficacy, although they did not have enough replication for these settings to make statistical inference, both inflammatory and noninflammatory lesions resolved.

Will Ultherapy trump other acne therapies? Dr. Gold said he doesn’t believe so. Medicine, blue light and pulsed light still have their place, he said. But Ultherapy may be the solution for middle-aged patients suffering from adult acne and in need of skin tightening.

“I think we should be focusing our efforts there,” he concluded. “There are lots of opportunities in this patient niche.”

 

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