HIFU stands for High Intensity Focused Ultrasound. Using ultrasound energy which can safely and accurately penetrate deeper depths of the skin, this remarkable skin lifting technology heats skin to approximately 65 degrees Celsius, without damaging the skin’s surface, causing unraveling of collagen strands and promoting a wound-healing response which results in long lasting skin lifting and tightening effects.
1. It Is Not The Same As Other HIFU machines
Ultherapy or Ulthera is the only FDA-approved HIFU machine for skin lifting in parts of the face as well as the décolletage. It has 3 working depths (1.5mm but more commonly the 3mm and 4.5mm are used) and is the only non-invasive method of reaching depths of the skin previously only achievable via the open facelift surgery.
In recent years, new HIFU machines have appeared. Mostly Korean or China made, these treatments are being offered in beauty salons and performed by beauty technicians, rather than by a doctor. Apart from Ulthera, which has been rigorously studied for safety and efficacy, other HIFU machines have not been cleared by authorities and most of these do not offer the same lifting outcomes.
Some doctors have started to offer clinical strength HIFU treatments which are mostly Korean-made, such as the Ultraformer. Unfortunately these are also not FDA-approved and have not undergone the same rigorous testing as Ulthera.
2. Ultherapy Has Real-time Imaging
Does anyone like their doctor treating deep into their skin blindly? One of the risks of HIFU treatments is damage to deeper tissue structures, causing temporary (or semi-permanent) nerve injury. Ultherapy is the only device which offers real-time ultrasound imaging, and has the advantage of allowing your doctor to visualize the layers of the skin and apply each treatment shot precisely. This is critical for achieving the most lift. Visualization also ensures the important structures such as nerves are avoided. In areas of the skin is thinner, such as the jawline, undereye and forehead, visualization helps avoid applying the treatment to the bone, which can be very painful.
3. Ultherapy Has Been Shown To Reduce Acne And Improve Acne Scars
For those who are in need of a skin tightening treatment and also suffer from acne, take note. Apart from non-invasive skin lifting, superficial treatment with Ultherapy (1 mm Amplify tip) has shown promising results for acne control in a study. Acne scars have also shown improvement, largely due to the collagen stimulation effects of Ultherapy.
4. You Can Request For Sedation By An Anaesthetist
One of the reasons for not having Ultherapy done is because of pain. Pain is surprisingly variable between different people, and there is no way of knowing where it hurts most (or whether it will hurt at all) until you try it. Does that mean you have to give up the most recommended non-invasive skin lifting treatment by doctors today? We asked Dr Chua Han Boon, Medical Consultant of the SW1 Clinic, who said that patients normally experience more pain around the jawline and underchin areas. An experienced doctor usually varies the treatment depth versus treatment shots to achieve a good balance between lifting results and discomfort. At the SW1 Clinic, patients can opt for Ultherapy under sedation, which is done by an anaesthetist for a reasonable professional fee, and patients can normally go home within an hour after the procedure. Sometimes patients who undergo sedation actually notice better lifting results, because pain is no limiting factor and the shots can be thoroughly applied at areas of the lower, face which normally need maximal lifting!
5. 1+1 = 3 : Ultherapy Works Well With Other Treatments
Ultherapy works well when combined with fillers and/or facial thread lift, depending on what your doctor recommends. This is because skin aging also results in volume deflation. Pairing of skin lift and replacement of volume or a more deliberate sculpting with facial threads in select areas will result in a natural and more dynamic skin rejuvenation result.
It is important to plan these treatments with your doctor – most prefer not to have fillers injected several months before an Ultherapy treatment.
In the past, people were resigned to gradual sagging of the skin because there were no non-invasive skin lifting options. Ultherapy has now become the skin lifting treatment of choice for many today. It is suitable for those from 30 years of age but many are not taking any chances and prejuvenating instead, starting well ahead and giving no chance to age and gravity. If you haven’t done your Ultherapy yet, book in for a consultation with your doctor and find out about it!