Face Lift Without Surgery: Is HIFU Right For You? A Medical Doctor’s Review

High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound stands for HIFU. It has been trending as an advanced anti-ageing technology for restoring youthful skin. No surgery is required. Is HIFU right for you? Dr Kellyn Shiau provides information to aid your decision-making. 

When do people start thinking about HIFU?

This may sound familiar …

Recently, you’ve become more conscious of your facial appearance. You notice more wrinkles on your face and hands. The skin on your neck, jowls, cheeks, or eyelids is starting to sag more. Horrors! Crow’s feet around your eyes and wrinkles when you smile are more noticeable, and creams and facials are not helping as much as they used to. There’s a new battle to fight against time. 

You’ve heard of Botox but don’t like the idea of muscular paralysis. You have heard of possible side effects like a crooked mouth, cocked eyebrows, droopy eyelids, and pain. And some patients may prefer their treatment to last longer than a few months. 

 You’ve heard of surgical facelifts but don’t like the high price tag and the long recovery downtime time of several weeks. Being sliced up and feeling pain is not too appealing either. There may be a risk of scarring too.

You hear there’s been an exciting buzz in the beauty and skincare circles in recent years. That’s HIFU. 

6 things people love about HIFU in 2021

Many women and men from different age groups have consulted me about the appropriateness of HIFU for their skin concerns. Here is some information to help you make an informed decision on whether getting a HIFU facial or other HIFU treatment is right for you.

#1 – Zero downtime. Many patients can resume their daily activities right after a HIFU treatment session. It takes 30 minutes to 90 minutes, depending on the areas treated. 

#2 – No scarring. There is usually zero or negligible visible skin distress. That’s because the targeted areas treated are below the skin. The deepest layer, the fascia, is about 4.5 mm below the skin. This is the same layer that is operated on during a face lift surgery. Other layers treated are between 1.5mm to 3mm below the skin. 

#3 Proven medically safe. Medical reports say it’s safe and effective. Did we mention it was non-invasive? It is FDA, TGA, and CE approved overseas, and HSA approved in Singapore. It works by heating and stimulating collagen production in the superficial musculoaponeurotic system (SMAS), a thin fascia layer under the skin. The intended effect is to firm,  tighten, and smoothen the skin’s visible appearance.

#4 Lasting results. The results have some longevity. Many patients report less wrinkles in three to six months and results last from nine months to two years. The success rate depends on skin condition, machine capability, and the expertise of the person using the machine. 

#5 Trusted technology. It’s technology that’s approved by several health authorities around the world. HIFU technology was first invented in the 1940s to treat tumours, and first used for aesthetic treatment in 2008. The technology has advanced a lot throughout the years. 

Today, there are several versions of HIFU equipment for medical aesthetics. We use the gold standard for 2021, a 3rd generation medical-grade machine called the Ultraformer III. I receive multiple feedback that it is effective and comfortable.

#6 Versatile effects. HIFU treatment works for contouring the chin, jawline, eyelids, neck, and other face regions that are wrinkling or sagging. It can tighten skin, smoothen cellulite and reduce fat.

More answers to help you make an informed decision about HIFU facial treatment near you

What equipment is used for HIFU treatment?

Lux Medical Aesthetic Clinic provides a choice of three state-of-the-art approaches and devices for HIFU treatments. We only use the best devices with proven clinical results.  With all HIFU approaches, our patients can enjoy swift and painless skin tightening treatment with minimal recovery downtime. 

How do we pick the right approach for you? By listening to your unique skin rejuvenation needs, and doing a medical review on your skin profile.  

While all HIFU devices are non-invasive and rejuvenate skin inside out by stimulating collagen production in the fascia using high intensity focused ultrasound waves, each device has its own strengths and recommended use. 

Ultraformer III HIFU Therapy

A global leader in multi-depth HIFU procedures. Ultraformer III is designed for face lifting and tightening body tightening and contouring. It provides customised treatment for the whole face, neck, and body. 

This suits patients who want to address both wrinkles on the face and sagging body contours. to reclaim their youthful complexions and figures.  It has a special 2mm handpiece that’s ideal for delicate and sensitive areas around the eyes and brow, and also a special handpiece to target areas on the body.

Ultherapy HIFU Therapy

Regarded as the gold standard worldwide based on its technology, clinical results, and patient satisfaction, Ultherapy lifts the neck, chin, brow and decolletage, and smoothes wrinkles and fine lines on the face and chest. This device allows our medical practitioner to see the layers of tissues, to ensure precision in delivering treatment to where it is most beneficial.

Lux V-Lift HIFU Therapy

V-Lift is a popular device in South Korea, Japan and other Asian countries for achieving the sought after ‘V-shape face’ and a natural-looking chiselled nose. It combines HIFU and Thermal Diffusion Treatment (TDT) technology.

HIFU and Thermage combined

Besides HIFU devices, our clinic also offers a non-HIFU device for skin rejuvenation called Thermage. This uses patented radiofrequency (RF) technology to treat wrinkles and loose skin on the face, around the eyes, and on the body. The RF heats areas of the deep collagen-rich skin layers while the vibrating tip cools the skin to keep the patient comfortable.

HIFU delivers heat to deep facial tissues, heating from inside out, and  Thermage bulk heats the skin top down to address skin texture. Combining both treatments produces comprehensive results at all layers of the skin. 

Does the Ultraformer III really work?

Yes, this HIFU treatment protocol and the device is approved by the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) in Singapore, as well as the FDA in the US, CE in Europe and TGA in Australia.   

It provides precise micro-focused targeting with its slim transducer. I have used it to treat patients with skin issues, especially in the delicate areas around the eyes.

Patients have reported a comfortable experience with this device. It has high ultrasound energy power which allows the procedure to deliver better results for patients. 

Where can HIFU treatment be done?

On the face, neck, décolletage, and body to improve skin elasticity, firmness and tone. Patients have consulted me on HIFU to reduce sagging skin and double chins, and to smooth out wrinkles and fine lines. HIFU can also contour jowls and jaw lines.  Reclaiming youth! Women also like to use it for achieving a desirable ‘V’ shaped face. 

Of course, each person has a unique treatment profile, and it is good to get proper medical advice to figure out what’s right for you. Factors that determine how well HIFU works for you include your genes, your skin’s collagen-production capability, and your skin condition.

Who can perform HIFU treatments?

HIFU is available in Singapore from a range of sources at a range of prices. Always check if your aesthetics practitioner is experienced and medically qualified to perform this procedure. Also check that the equipment is of medical grade and HSA-approved to be used by a doctor.

Getting a HIFU procedure done by a beautician may cost less but there is a risk of unsatisfactory results, discomfort and damage if the device and experience of the beautician don’t meet medical standards.

How many HIFU treatments do I need?

In most cases a single HIFU treatment can create lasting results for nine to 12 months. Some come in for additional treatment during this time to get better results. To maintain youthfulness and slow down the signs of ageing, my patients usually come back once a year.   

Are there any side effects?

Some patients experience one or more mild side effects. A medically certified doctor accredited and experienced in aesthetics can help you manage them professionally. For patient comfort, we apply numbing cream before all HIFU treatments. For those with a low pain threshold, we provide the option of oral medication for added comfort. 

Examples of possible side effects and their management:

  • A prickly or hot feeling during treatment, with no further effect after the procedure.
  • Rare occurrence of numbness in the SMAS or dermal layer, or tingling sensation in delicate spots around the eyes and lips. No treatment is required as it resolves after treatment, but can be monitored by a competent medical practitioner.
  • People with sensitive skin may experience some redness and blotching on the treatment site. This subsides in a few hours. A good medical aesthetics clinic will have specialised creams to soothe blotching.
  • Rare occurrence of swelling or bloating for some cases. This resolves within a few days.    

HIFU pricing 

These are ballpark prices. We can help you determine what is required in your unique case, and pick only what you need to get the best value for money.

Ultraformer III HIFU Therapy – Prices start from $1000*.

Ultherapy HIFU Therapy – Prices start from $2520*.

Lux V-Lift HIFU Therapy – A treatment package of four sessions is available for $2000*.

HIFU & Thermage Combined – Prices start from $4900*.

*All prices exclude GST.

Any other questions? 

Lux Medical Aesthetic Clinic is here to help. My team and I look forward to empowering and instilling confidence in you by creating and maintaining good skin with natural facial enhancements.

Contact us at +65 6815 9922, Whatsapp/SMS +65 8866 9922, or email us at consult@luxaestheticclinic.com to book an appointment or to find out more. We’d love to hear from you, and support you in putting your best face forward in life. 

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