HIFU (high-intensity focused ultrasound) uses concentrated beams of ultrasound energy to rejuvenate the skin in precisely targeted areas. The treatment acts to tighten the dermis, and promotes new sub-dermal collagen formation. Overall skin retraction will, of course, depend on the specific individual.
Benefits of HIFU
HIFU can be used wherever skin starts to sag or lose suppleness. For the face, this is typically under the chin, around the jawline, around the eyes, and under the brows. On the body, it can be used for lax skin on the arms, the inner thighs, and the abdomen. HIFU is also very useful as a complementary treatment after undergoing other surgical procedures such as liposuction and facelifts. The before and after photo below show an application of HIFU to the area under and around the eyes. Wrinkles and crows feet were both markedly reduced for this patient.
Some tightening of the skin is normally observed immediately after treatment, and the effect increases over the ensuing weeks due to new collagen formation in conjunction with the continued retraction of connective tissue matrix.
Treatments are typically repeated until no further benefit can be achieved. The number needed will depend on the degree of tissue laxity and the patient’s goals. The effectiveness will also be limited by the skin’s ability to rejuvenate.
Normally the effect of a single treatment lasts three to six months, with a peak occurring midway, followed by a gradual regression. For most people, a program of four treatments is needed to achieve the maximum response from the technology. An annual maintenance session is recommended.
Pros and Cons of HIFU
Most patients report that HIFU is a painless treatment. As a non-surgical cosmetic procedure, it is comfortable, and most patients can return to their normal activities immediately after a session. Makeup can be applied the following day.
It is possible that a patient may experience some mild swelling or look mildly flushed, but if does occur it usually subsides within a day. Patients might also experience a slight tenderness in the treated areas for next few days.
Naturally, the effectiveness of HIFU will be limited by the amount of retraction their skin can deliver. This is affected by age, skin type, skin thickness, and a variety of other factors. For significant sagging, your surgeon may suggest alternative procedures.
Skincare after HIFU
Depending on your skin type, your doctor might prescribe a mild anti-inflammatory cream, and a good quality sun block. Also, in some cases, it may be possible to achieve better results through the use of specialised dermatological ointments.