What is HIFU Treatment?
HIFU stands for ‘High Intensity Focused Ultrasound’, this treatment can target various depths of the body’s tissue for skin tightening, skin lifting and body contouring. Entirely non-invasive, HIFU works by targeting deep layers in the skin – it boosts new collagen production and collagen regeneration right at the source. It is sometime called the ‘Lunchtime Face Lift’ as the treatment is quick, very tolerable and has no downtime.
How does HIFU work?
HIFU targets the upper dermis 1.5mm, lower dermis 3.00mm and most importantly the SMAS at 4.5mm. The SMAS is the layer that sits between your muscle and your fat layer.
This SMAS layer is the area a plastic surgeon would pull and tighten under a surgical operation using a knife. HIFU targets this layer without any surgical incisions, giving the patient a no-downtime facelift. Which means you can gain excellent results without any risks associated with surgery, such as infection, scarring, swelling etc. The ultrasound waves cause inflammation in our skin tissue, these inflamed tissues will stimulate our natural repairing processes and produce collagen. Now, collagen take time to be produced so the overall results from this treatment may take up to 6 months to develop (a bit like taking your film to the photographic printers, remember those days?!). Treatments are fast and for some there can be some initial results can be seen immediately due to the controlled heating of the underlying tissues but this really does depend on the level of laxity your skin has and not everyone will get an immediate result.
Who is HIFU for?
The HIFU facelift, also known as Non Surgical Facelift , is an ideal treatment for anyone experiencing either mild or moderate skin laxity. A term used to describe the loose skin we all begin to see around the brow line, eyelids, cheeks and jawline.
As such, it has proven an incredibly popular procedure among patients aged 30+ who wish to achieve more tightness, elasticity and contouring in the face and neck.
As with any cosmetic procedure, the results will always vary depending on the individual’s facial structure, age, and lifestyle, which is why consulting with your practitioner before the appointment is so necessary. They have a deep understanding of facial anatomy and will be able to come up with a plan for treatment that is perfectly tailored to your face.
A HIFU treatment typically takes around hour to complete, and no anaesthesia is necessary. Those who have undergone a HIFU skin tightening treatment sometimes notice a light, warm prickling sensation in the skin. This can sometimes be a little uncomfortable over areas when there is a boney prominence.
What are the risks, side effects and is there any downtime?
Following the completion of the procedure, you are free to resume normal activities and should expect to see minor side effects. Rarely bruising and swelling are seen and will typically subside around two weeks into your recovery.
Unlike surgical facelifts, HIFU side effects are limited to mild swelling in the areas treated — and many people experience no negative after-effects at all. As such, the treatment requires no downtime, which means you can even have it done on your lunch break.
As with all procedures there are always risks to consider before having treatment. However, HIFU carries very little risk; some potential numbness and swelling after treatment. In comparison to a traditional facelift which carries some potentially serious side effects such as bleeding, infection and anaesthesia related risks.
The full effects of the HIFU facelift typically take up 6 months to become fully visible.
Is the damage caused by HIFU permanent?
We mentioned that the HIFU machine works by creating microdamage in the foundational layers of skin, which triggers a natural, ‘healing’ response within the body. This damage, however, is not detectable on the surface of the skin, as the ultrasound energy only affects the tissue deep below the superficial layers.
Patients can return for top-up treatments without experiencing any damage or deterioration in the skin. Since the procedure does not require the use of needles or incisions, even minor short-term damage and the risk of infection and scarring is avoided.