High intensity focused ultrasound, otherwise known as HIFU, is an enormously powerful technique. It allows us to destroy tissue at a depth within the body without damaging the surrounding tissues or the tissues that overlay it. Using such a technique and being able to deliver it very precisely means that we can look into a number of different treatment techniques and cosmetic benefits and thoroughly investigate them. For facelifts, it’s an instant facelift with zero pain and zero downtime. In a nutshell, it’s just extremely concentrated ultrasound energy being utilised to tighten the skin and reduce unwanted facial fats.
HIFU usage in Singapore
HIFU is being used in Singapore both clinically and non-clinically whether for cosmetics or face tightening purposes. Thus far, people who have undergone it in Singapore have experienced a reduction in the pain of noninvasive skin tightening. Some more so than others, but generally it has been meaningful for all of them. They’re patients who may have been used to being in pain for quite some time and feeling pessimistic that nothing could ever be done about it. Hence, even the smallest reductions in pain have had quite a positive impact on them and the little things that they’ve been able to do that they weren’t able to before.
Cosmetic cost of HIFU
For face lifting, HIFU treatment costs can differ depending on the type, the most common of which include the Ultraformer 3, Ulthera and Sygmalift, all of which can go anywhere from $2000-$3000, $2300-$4000 and $500-$700 respectively. That is the price you’re expecting to pay for no pain and no downtime. HIFU face treatment has been known to improve facial lines and wrinkles, and even alleviate the appearance of acne scarring and stretch marks!
Clinical use of HIFU
On the clinical level in Singapore, a high intensity focused ultrasound can be used in the clinic with the patients. The first indication is running the clinical trial for painful bone metastasis, and this is in a bid to understand further indications on a more fundamental level.
Medical practitioners want to understand the interaction of focused ultrasound with bone structures that will help in treatment planning, understanding and for further treatment delivery.
Like any new treatment, you always start with patients who are at the end stage and have failed other treatment opportunities. This is why HIFU is being used for painful bone metastasis.
The future of HIFU in Singapore
In Singapore, there will be a question of using HIFU as an adjuvant therapy to be combined with other standard therapies to see whether it has a place in the entire armamentarium of cancer that repeats, and then finally, HIFU might be used as a primary therapy in some cancers.
The utilization of HIFU would likely be elevated in the coming years both clinically and non-clinically. It has been agreed upon that a teaching training program for clinical and technical people would be created to disseminate this technology into other institutions.