HIFU, which stands for High intensity focused ultrasound is a recently introduced cosmetic procedure which has gained popularity as a painless and non-invasive replacement for facelifts. It works by using ultrasound energy, which is directed to the skin to promote collagen production. This results in firmer and uplifted skin.
HIFU was initially known for its ability to target different forms of tumours; however, experts later found that it may also be successfully used for other aesthetic and cosmetic reasons. This technology was later cleared by the Food and Drug Administration for brow lifts in 2009 and then cleared for wrinkles and fine lines in 2014.
How Does HIFU Work?
HIFU uses ultrasound energy to target the layers of the skin that requires it to be uplifted and tightened. Once the ultrasound energy hits the skin, it produces heat energy and causes the tissues to heat up. When the cells in the targeted areas begin to heat up and reach a specific temperature, they start to become damaged. However, this damage does not kill the cells, instead activates a cell recovery and repair mechanism. In response, the cells start producing more collagen fibres.
Collagen is an essential form of protein in the skin that is responsible for providing structure. The increased production of collagen in the skin promotes firmer, uplifted and tighter skin, as seen in studies. Moreover, since the ultrasound energy is directed to the lower layers of the skin, it ensures no damage is done to the skin surface. Therefore, there is also no damage to the adjacent skin surfaces and their underlying tissues.
Who Should Opt For HIFU?
Individuals who should opt for HIFU lifting facial should ideally be older than 30 years of age. They may benefit by having mild to moderate skin laxity. Individuals with extensive skin sagging or very loose skin may require several treatments before they can see results. Moreover, individuals who have excessive skin laxity and extensive sun damage may benefit more from other treatment options. The individuals opting for HIFU should also be free from all skin infections, cystic acne and open lesions in their skin.
What Are The Benefits of HIFU Lifting Facial Treatments?
HIFU has been increasingly used over the last few years as an effective non-surgical alternative to facelifts, according to the American Society For Aesthetic Plastic Surgery data. Between the years 2012 to 2017, the number of HIFU procedures have been increased by more than 60%. This is mainly due to increased awareness about the benefits of HIFU lifting facial treatment in the long term. These include:
- Effective reduction in mild to moderate wrinkles and fine lines
- Correction of turkey neck, which is characterised by sagging of the skin on the neck
- Tightening the skin around the eyes and cheeks
- Allowing a greater definition of the jawline for individuals who feel they do not have enough of it
- Smoothening up the skin
These benefits were further proven in a study which included a total of 32 individuals belonging to a Korean background. The study was conducted in 2017 for a period of 12 weeks. The results of the study showed that individuals who underwent HIFU had significant improvement in the elasticity of their skin. In addition, these individuals were found to have visible improvements in the skin on their lower abdomen, cheeks and thighs.
This was also investigated in a similar study conducted on a larger group of people. This study included a total of 93 individuals who underwent the HIFU treatment on their faces and neck. The results of the study showed that the individual who had HIFU treatment had visible improvements in the appearance of their skin after 90 days of treatment.
What Happens Before The HIFU Lifting Facial Procedure?
Before you go to get your HIFU lifting facial procedure, you will first be given a medical consultation and assessment, where the doctor determines if you are a good candidate for the procedure. The health professional will also assess the areas that are particularly in need of treatment and will make them a focus of treatment. After discussing your concerns and what you want from the treatment, the health professional will prepare a customised plan for you. The areas of concern will also determine the type of transducers to be used for HIFU treatment.
What Happens During The HIFU Lifting Facial Procedure?
When you get your HIFU lifting facial procedure, the targeted skin will first be cleaned thoroughly to remove all impurities. After this, the doctor may apply a numbing cream to your skin to ensure you have a comfortable experience during the procedure. Once the numbing has become effective, the procedure may be started. After this, the HIFU treatment is started by applying the ultrasound gel onto the prepped skin surface. Once this is done, the transducer of the HIFU is applied to the skin. The transducer helps to focus the high-intensity ultrasound energy on the targeted skin areas. For the majority of the individuals, this process is not uncomfortable, and they are able to handle the ultrasound energy throughout the procedure. There may be a stinging sensation underneath the skin surface; however, these are tolerable by the majority of the patients.
What Are The Side Effects Of This Procedure?
While this procedure is considered very safe, some individuals may experience slight swelling, redness and discomfort after the procedure. However, these symptoms may resolve on their own. In some individuals, it may take a few hours; and for others, it may take a few days. Some patients may also encounter slight bruising; however, this may resolve on its own within two weeks.
How To Choose a HIFU Lifting Facial Treatment Based On Skin Type and Need?
The HIFU lifting Facial Treatment may be conducted through a number of devices based on the skin type. The most commonly used device include Ulthera, Ultraformer and Sygmalift.
Ulthera is a United States-based device which has also received FDA clearance for its use as an aesthetic lifting device. This may be suitable for individuals with moderate amounts of skin sagginess on their necks and face.
Another device used for lifting facial treatment is the Ultraformer 3. The Ultraformer 3 may be used for skin-plumping, lifting and tightening. Hence it may be ideal for individuals with ageing and sagging skin.
The Sygmalift is another technology that may be used to perform HIFU lifting facial treatment. This device allows the ultrasound energy to travel to three depths under the skin, which allows collagen production. This may also be used for skin healing and tissue repair. Hence, Sygmalift may be effective for ageing individuals who lack collagen in their skin.
How Many Sessions Does A Person Need To See The Full Effect?
The number of sessions of HIFU that may be required to see visible results depends on the patient’s response to the treatment and the overall skin laxity. Hence, individuals who have greater skin laxity and sagginess may require a greater number of sessions than someone with less severe skin laxity. However, the majority of the patients may see evident results after only two sessions of the treatment. These two sessions are usually six months apart.
How Long Does HIFU Lifting Facial Work?
As mentioned previously, HIFU works by stimulating collagen production in the body, which in turn helps uplift the skin as well. The results of the procedure can be best visualised at least three months after the procedure. After that, in order to elongate the results of the HIFU lifting facial, the patient can undergo additional sessions every 6 to 12 months.
Cost Of HIFU Lifting Facial Treatment
The HIFU lifting facial treatment cost usually ranges between $1500 to $2000. This is much less in comparison to the surgical face lifting procedures, which have an average cost of $7500. While this is the average cost of the HIFU lifting facial treatment, it may be more or less based on a number of factors. These factors include:
- The type of brands used for HIFU lifting facial treatment: These commonly include brands like Sygmalift, Ultratherapy and Ultraformer 3. Some brands may be more expensive than others, making the procedure pricier.
- Whether or not the technology for HIFU is FDA approved. The machines or brands which have been FDA approved to carry out lifting procedures are often pricier than those that are not. On the other hand, the machines which are not internally recognised and are not FDA-approved may be much more affordable for the patient.
- The type of cartridge used during the treatment: There are three forms of cartridges that may be used during the HIFU procedure, which include 1.5 mm, 3 mm and 4.5 mm. The type of cartridge used also affected the cost of the overall procedure.
About Dream Aesthetics and Plastic Surgery
Bespoke surgical for cosmetic or medical reasons is what Dream covers to bring out the beauty in every individual. Going beyond the aesthetics and working on physical anomalies are what we value the most in leading our patients to cherish self-improvement and confident lifestyles.
Derived from Associate Professor Vincent Yeow’s long-standing experience performing plastic surgery in Singapore, our treatment plans deliver physical remodelling in our patients’ favour. One of the notable remodellings is droopy eyelid correction. The ptosis surgery used for treatment eventually fixes drooping eyelids, improves vision and enhances appearance. Most importantly, as a trustworthy plastic surgery and aesthetic clinic, we treasure positive and natural outcomes for each individual. We will ensure to deliver the beauty refinement of your dream without compromising your safety and privacy.