High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU)
High-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) is a relatively new cosmetic treatment for skin tightening that is considered as a noninvasive and painless replacement for a face lift . It uses ultrasound waves to encourage the production of collagen, resulting in firmer skin. HIFU is most widely known for its use in treating tumors. The first reported HIFU usage was for aesthetics in 2008.
HIFU was then approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2009 for eyebrow lifts. The device was also cleared by the FDA in 2014 to improve lines and wrinkles of the upper chest and neckline (décolletage).
Several small clinical trials have found HIFU to be safe and effective for facial lifts and wrinkle refinements. Individuals were able to see results in a few months after treatment, without facing the risks associated to surgery. The procedure is also used for overall facial rejuvenation, lifting, tightening, and body contouring . More research should be conducted to find which candidate is best for such types of procedures. So far, HIFU has been a promising treatment that could replace face lifts, especially in younger individuals who don’t want to face the risks and recovery time associated with surgery.
HIFU uses focused ultrasound waves to target the layers of the skin that are just below the surface. The ultrasound waves causes rapid heating of the tissues.
The cells in the targeted area reach a certain temperature once they experience cellular damage. While this may seem counterintuitive, the damage actually stimulates the cells to produce more collagen, a protein that provides structure to the skin. An increase in collagen results in tighter, firmer skin with fewer wrinkles. No damage is done to the upper layers of the skin and adjacent issues since the high-frequency ultrasound waves are focused on specific tissue sites below the skin’s surface.
Fields of uses:
HIFU may not be appropriate for everyone. In general, the procedure works best on individuals older than 30 with mild-to-moderate skin laxity. HIFU won’t work as well for individuals with more severe conditions of sagging skin. Individuals with photodamaged skin or a high degree of loose skin may need several treatments before seeing results. Older patients with more extensive photo-aging, severe skin laxity, or very saggy neck aren’t good candidates and may need surgery. HIFU isn’t recommended for people with infections and open skin lesions at the target area, severe or cystic acne , or metallic implants in the treatment area.
Benefits of High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU)
According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery , HIFU and other nonsurgical alternatives to facelifts have seen a major increase in popularity over the last few years. The total number of procedures performed has increased 64.8 percent between 2012 and 2017.
HIFU has many aesthetic benefits, including:
- wrinkle reduction
- tightening sagging skin on the neck (sometimes called turkey neck)
- lifting the cheeks, eyebrows, and eyelids
- enhancing jawline definition
- tightening of the décolletage
- smoothing the skin
What does HIFU feel like
You may experience slight discomfort during a HIFU procedure. Some people describe it as tiny electric pulses or a light prickly sensation.
HIFU for face:
There’s no special preparation needed before having a HIFU procedure. All makeup and skin care products need to be removed from the target area before treatment. Here’s what to expect at your appointment:
- A physician or technician cleanses the target area
- A topical anesthetic cream may be applied before starting
- The physician or technician applies an ultrasound gel
- The HIFU device is placed against the skin
- The physician or technician adjusts the device to the right setting using an ultrasound viewer
- Ultrasound energy is then delivered to the target area in short pulses for roughly 30 to 90 minutes
If additional treatments are needed, a follow-up treatment can be scheduled. Heat or tingling may be felt during the ultrasound application. Pain medication is adviced if the procedure causes discomfort. Daily activities may be resumed upon procedure completion.
Side effects of facial HIFU
HIFU is considered very safe if performed by a trained and qualified professional. The best part about this treatment is that you’re able to resume your normal activities immediately upon leaving the provider’s office. Some slight redness or swelling may occur but should quickly subside. A light tingling sensation of the treated area may persist for a few weeks.
You may experience temporary numbness or bruising in which it will usually subside within a few days.
Before and after:
High-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) uses ultrasound waves to stimulate collagen and elastin production in order to create a more youthful appearance.
HIFU is considered a safe, effective, and noninvasive procedure for tightening of the facial skin. Its advantages over a surgical face lift are hard to deny. There are no incisions, no scarring, and no required rest or recovery time. HIFU is also far less expensive than a face lift. Most people see full results thrree months after their final treatment. If you’re looking for a treatment that is quick, painless, and noninvasive, HIFU is an excellent option compared to a surgical face lift. Of course, HIFU isn’t a miracle cure for aging. The procedure is best suited for patients with mild-to-moderate skin laxity, and you may need to have the procedure repeated in one to two years as the natural aging process takes over. If you’re older with more severe skin sagging and wrinkles, HIFU may not be able to eliminate such skin issues.