HIFU (high-intensity focused ultrasound) is considered the most viable and non-invasive alternative to facelift surgery. The technology involves the use of targeted energy in the form of ultrasound to reach the layers in the skin to stimulate collagen and elastin production. Approved by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) in 2009 for cosmetic use, HIFU treatment can be used to tighten the skin, reduce wrinkles, and give skin a smoother, brighter appearance, all without the invasive procedure and long downtime of surgery. An interesting tidbit about the treatment is that HIFU treatment can also be used to treat some types of cancers by destroying cancer cells.
Benefits of the HIFU treatment
Due to the decreasing stigma surrounding cosmetic procedures, and the increase in accessibility of such procedures, HIFU and other minimally-invasive cosmetic procedures have enjoyed increasing popularity over the past few years. HIFU is seen as a good all-rounder because it can confer the following benefits:
- Smoothen out wrinkles
- Reduce double chin
- Face contouring
- Tighten sagging skin
Compared to the facelift surgery, HIFU is an affordable and effective alternative. It also has lower risks and a shorter downtime, meaning that patients can return to their daily activities right after the procedure. For most patients, HIFU results in instantly visible improvements as well, with continual effects lasting up to 6 months to a year after the procedure.
What can you expect from the HIFU treatment?
When you arrive at the clinic for HIFU treatment, the doctor will have you remove your makeup and skincare products from your face before commencing the treatment. The doctor will clean your face and in some cases, apply a topical numbing cream on the target areas. Thereafter, the ultrasound gel is applied – this maximises the contact between your skin and the ultrasound device.
During the procedure, the HIFU device is held against your skin at the targeted areas. In short bursts, ultrasound is delivered into your skin over the 30-60 minute procedure. HIFU treatment is typically not painful, although some report a tingling or prickling sensation. If you are sensitive to the pain, your doctor can recommend some pain-killers to make the process more comfortable for you.
After the procedure, some patients may experience side effects such as numbness, blotchiness, or swelling. Mild inflammation is normal, but serious side effects are rare. The redness and swelling typically subside within a few hours of the treatment, after which it will give way to the appearance of tighter, more youthful-looking skin. Patients who undergo the procedure are free to get back to their normal activities right after leaving the clinic.
Who is HIFU suitable for?
HIFU is generally recommended for people with saggy skin, chubby cheeks, or excess facial fats. Young people with symptoms of ageing skin like wrinkles are also good candidates for HIFU.
If you are concerned about your loose and creased skin, and are looking for a minimally-invasive and cost-effective procedure, then HIFU is for you.