What is HIFU?
High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU) is a global skin rejuvenation treatment.
Skin tightening, and lifting is the most sought-after treatment in salons across the western world. Whilst we can address photo ageing with many modalities, skin tightening has been difficult to achieve until now. With age skin starts to lose its elasticity, muscle loses tone and the face depletes of fatty tissue. This means facial features start to lose volume, and jaw lines, cheekbones and brows become less prominent. Weakened muscle and skin tone starts to result in the outward appearance of fine lines and deep-set wrinkles as well as the appearance of hooded eyelids and eye bags.
In salon, we can treat all ageing issues, but with various treatments and technology. Some will address the photo ageing of the epidermis such as Chemical peels and Microdermabrasion while the dermal layers could be treated with Radiofrequency or Micro needling. Fat can be replaced with volume building injections containing hyaluronic acid and muscles can be toned with the use of Faradic and microcurrent machines, whilst the muscle can also be ‘lifted’ and ‘frozen’ with the use of treatments such as Botox.
The problem with most available salon treatments is that the client would need a series of treatments, results are not always instant or permanent and treatments would need to be taken regularly for long term effects.
BENEFITS OF HIFU
HIFU has a lot of advantages over conventional treatments. Here, we list some of the most prominent advantages:
⦁ Significant reduction in visible signs of fine lines and deep wrinkles
⦁ Lifts and tightens the skin
⦁ Consistency in skin tone
⦁ Skin elasticity is vastly noticeable
⦁ Reduction in under-eye dark circles
⦁ Works effectively in removing post-pregnancy stretch marks
⦁ Large pores are eliminated with ease
⦁ Improves facial shape and jawline
⦁ Effective cure for acne, pimples and blemishes
⦁ No anaesthesia required
⦁ Swift visible results
⦁ Relatively painless procedure
⦁ Can be used on all types of skin complexions
CLIENT PRE & AFTER CARE
High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU) uses safe, time-tested ultrasound energy to lift and tighten the skin naturally— without surgery, needles or downtime.
How to prepare for your HIFU treatment
Stop any medications that thin your blood, as bruising is possible. If you are unsure about whether your medications are blood thinners, please review this with your GP prior to your treatment. Over the counter medications like aspirin, daily large dose anti-inflammatories and fish oil supplements may also exacerbate bruising and should be discontinued.
We highly recommend starting arnica, an oral homeopathic supplement which has been shown to reduce bruising and swelling. You should start 3-5 days prior to the procedure and continue for up to a week if you do experience bruising. Arnica is available at most health food stores. The recommended dose is three sublingual capsules three times daily.
⦁ Wear comfortable, loose clothing to your appointment.
⦁ Prior to your treatment photography, will be taken for comparison on your follow up.
⦁ Thirty minutes prior to your treatment we recommend that you take 800 mg of ibuprofen or Paracetamol for pain relief during the session. A single dose like this will not exacerbate your bruising.
WHAT TO EXPECT DURING THE TREATMENT
During your treatment a variety of ultrasound transducers (the hand piece which delivers the ultrasound energy) may be used. Each transducer treats different tissue depths, from deep to shallow.
The deep transducer is usually applied first, and you will feel more sensation than the shallower transducers. The sensation can be likened to a prickling mild electric pulse – that dissipate immediately. Most clients find the sensation unpleasant but tolerable. There are many adjustments which can be made through the treatment if you find yourself sensitive. Please let your provider know how you are feeling so we can make those adjustments as necessary.
Some clients experience a toothache type discomfort for several minutes after an area has been treated. The ibuprofen which you take prior to the session will help considerably.
Immediately after the procedure the treated area may look slightly pink like you have had a facial. Rarely, some spots of bruising may be already visible, but typically bruising is not evident until 2-5 days after the session.
To minimise risk of bruising we will give you ice packs and recommend icing and holding pressure on your cheeks and jawline for about 10 minutes after the session.
If your forehead was treated you may have a mild headache, stinging, or hair pulling sensation in your scalp following the treatment. When this occurs it usually last less than 24 hours but on rare occasions can continue to be sporadically bothersome for up to a week.
You may immediately apply makeup following the treatment and there are no post-procedure limitations on activity.
WHAT TO EXPECT AFTER HIFU
You can expect none or some of the following symptoms immediately after the procedure. These symptoms may persist for up to four weeks. Most clients have very mild symptoms but, as with any intensive procedure, each client experiences it uniquely.
Symptoms always subside over time. There have been no reports of long-lasting complications. The treated area may be slightly pink for up to a few hours.
Bruising, swelling and tenderness can occur in the treated area. Bruising may not be evident for several days following the treatment and often is greenish in colour by the time it becomes visible. Most common areas for bruising are along the jawline and cheekbone.
Even without bruising, tenderness to the touch is expected. This is usually most evident along the jawline and cheekbone and most often noted when touching your face, washing or applying makeup. This will not interfere with eating, talking or moving your facial muscles.
Irritation of peripheral sensory or motor nerves is uncommon but can happen. This can result in temporary patches of decreased sensation or some weakness of facial muscles (usually the muscle which pulls the corner of the mouth downward). When this occurs, it is always temporary and usually resolves within three weeks.
With the exception of possible bruising there is no downtime after your treatment. You will be able to return to your normal daily routine and exercise program immediately after the procedure.
When do I expect to see results?
There are two phases of correction after HIFU. The first is collagen contracture, which literally is occurring as we perform the procedure. As a result, many patients will appreciate a subtle, but distinct, improvement in their appearance within a few days following the treatment. Ultimately the more impressive correction is from collagen stimulation. Your body responds to the pinpoint thermal injuries placed in the deep tissue by creating new collagen fibres. Collagen fibre formation can take several months, so the final results from HIFU may take up to 6 months.
How do I maximise my treatment results?
Avoid the routine use of anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen, naproxen and Celebrex for one month. The inflammatory response in your tissue from HIFU works in a positive way to stimulate collagen fibre formation and remodelling.
If you are not already on a prescribed skin care program, you may want to discuss this with your therapist at the time of your treatment. Topical prescription skin products can help to stimulate collagen fibre formation through direct action with growth factors and through exfoliation to resurface skin. Professional skin care combined with treatments like HIFU can maximise the results you obtain and help to maintain the results.
Schedule a follow-up medical assessment to review your clinical results and discuss the option of additional treatments to achieve desired outcome for this treatment site and other treatment sites.
Small and affordable follow up HIFU sessions in targeted areas which need the most work can be very powerful to obtain the best result depending upon the degree of laxity prior to treatment.
How do I maintain the result of my HIFU treatment?
Topically applied professional skin care products are the number one way to enhance the result, as well as the duration, of a HIFU treatment. If you haven’t already discussed this with your therapist, we are happy to develop a customised plan for your skin type at the time of your HIFU treatment.
The new collagen fibres which are formed as a result of the HIFU have a life span of 5+ years, however an optimal interval for retreatment will be sooner than that. Depending upon the severity of tissue laxity and your age, follow up treatment intervals will vary but there are two ways to approach maintenance – more frequent small touch ups and less frequent full treatments.
More frequent small touch up treatments are the best approach for achieving continued, ongoing collagen stimulus as well as cost affordability. Follow up HIFU sessions are charged by the energy usage and therefore can be adapted to fit into most clients’ budgets. Frequency of touch ups will again vary but may be every 4-12 months depending upon the individual’s particular needs.
Less frequent full treatments are an alternative. Recommendations for this approach would be every 1.5 to 2 years depending upon need.
Skin is affected by:
• Central heating
• Wrong products used
• Prolonged illness
• Medication or drugs
• Poor nutrition
• Smoking and alcohol intake
⦁ Open wounds or lesions on the face and/or neck
⦁ Severe or cystic acne on the face and/or neck
⦁ Pacemakers and electronic device implants in treated area
⦁ Heart Conditions
⦁ An active systemic or local skin disease that may alter wound healing
⦁ Autoimmune disease
⦁ Bell’s palsy
POTENTIAL SIDE EFFECTS
Side Effects Of A HIFU Facial
• Pain. Ultrasonic therapy is usually painless, with users reporting a slight tingling sensation or warmth on the skin. …
• Blotchy skin. This was the most common side effect reported by patients during a study researching the effectiveness of HIFU. …
• Swelling. …
• Numbness. …
• Hyper-pigmentation. …
• The absence of effect
Ultrasonic therapy is usually painless, with users reporting a slight tingling sensation or warmth on the skin. However, there can be a sensation of pin pricks and heat, this is only felt during the treatment and does not continue when the client leaves. Some clients do feel uncomfortable, although this passes as the treatment goes on and you see your amazing results at the end. An experienced aesthetic professional can administer a numbing cream or oral medication, if the pain becomes too intense, however, this is very rare and most clients do not require this.
This was the most common side effect reported by patients during a study researching the effectiveness of HIFU. Treated areas can become red and blotchy, particularly if your skin is sensitive and prone to redness. This side effect is not permanent, usually going away a few hours after the treatment. RT Aesthetics do provide creams to settle this at the end of treatment and always have some to take home if required.
Bloated and swollen skin are rare side effects of a HIFU facial, but because each person’s skin is different it’s possible for swelling to occur. The swelling usually disappears after a few days, then you can fully appreciate the age-rewinding benefits of your ultrasound facial. RT Aesthetics will ensure that your fully aware of all the benefits and side effects during your consultation.
The sound waves emitted during the HIFU procedure penetrate the very deepest layers of skin in order to eradicate even the most deep-set wrinkles. The technology is unique in its ability to penetrate the dermis and the superficial muscular aponeurotic system (SMAS) layer, which is deeper than all other non-invasive treatments. SMAS is the same layer which is tightening during conventional surgery, however, unlike surgery, HIFU is more affordable and requires no time off work. As HIFU penetrate the very deepest layers, occasionally this can cause some minor damage which can lead to feelings of numbness.
The tingling sensation occurs most commonly in delicate areas, like the eyes and lips. Those who reported feelings of numbness that this symptom resolved itself within two weeks, without the need for medication or medical intervention. Please note that these side effects are rare and will be fully explained to you during your consultation. At RT Aesthetics client safety is our main priority, therefore we will ensure that clients suffer from as little side effects as possible, although like any cosmetic procedure there are side effects.
While rare, this is a side effect that is potentially permanent. This can cause the skin to change colour and become darker. This is a side effect that can be caused by the heat emitting ultrasound device that can reach temperatures of up to 45 – 65 degrees celsius. This side effect has not occurred at RT Aesthetics before, we ensure that every client has a patch test and ensure that everything is fully explained and understood during the consultation. Our aesthetic practitioners are trained to the highest standard and go through strict processes, after all, client safety is our main priority.
The absence of effect
Those who have undergone a HIFU treatment sometimes experience no visible benefit or adverse effects of the ultrasound treatment. While it’s great that their skin is not damaged, it’s not beneficial for those who hoped to have wrinkle free and tighter skin. In 10% of cases, users see no difference in the appearance of their skin and neck, as results vary from patient to patient, occasionally the collagen building on the inside that helps counter the effects of gravity does not always have a visible effect on the outside.
Every facial therapy is accompanied by some potentially adverse side effects. However, a HIFU facial treatment is an FDA approved method of facial tightening and defining. Permanent side effects are rare and minor side effects are relatively infrequent and tend to disappear within a week or two. If you are willing to risk the potential side effects of the treatment, then HIFU might be the ideal facial for you.