By medical definition, a facelift improves the contour of the lower face and/or neck. Regardless of this fact, many procedures that do not improve contour have been marketed as “facelifts,” creating much confusion.

For example, when laser skin resurfacing gained in popularity, many people claimed it was lifting the face. In actuality, laser skin resurfacing tightens the skin, helping to reduce wrinkles, but it is not changing the contour.

Ulthera is the first FDA approved non-surgical treatment for lifting. While a number of treatments, including Thermage, eMatrix, and Velashape have shown promise in improving facial contour, by sharpening the jawline, reducing laxity in the neck, and a repositioning of the cheek and lower facial tissues,  these procedures have all been FDA approved for skin tightening, not lifting.

Given the high number of procedures mistakenly referred to as facelifts, this distinction is important.