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HIFU treatments, with all the rage in recent years, have become de rigueur for face lifting. For the uninitiated, HIFU, short for High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound, delivers the power of ultrasound energy deep into your skin. It targets the dermis and SMAS layers to stimulate collagen reproduction for a lifting and tightening effect. Because the SMAS layer is where surgeons target during a surgical facelift, HIFU has earned itself a reputation of being a non-surgical facelift.
Ultrasound energy-based treatments have been around for many years. In today’s market, there are a plethora of devices and establishments offering similar services at varying prices with the same touted benefits as a HIFU treatment. This leaves many unclear of the differences and how to choose the right treatment.
To help you understand the differences better, here are five essential things you should know:
1. Go for a medical-grade HIFU machine
There are many different brands of machines for HIFU treatments in the market. In Singapore, only medical clinics offer HSA-approved medical-grade ultrasound procedures performed by a doctor. Mizu carries both Ulthera and Ultraformer III, popular medical-grade HIFU devices that are safe and effective with established clinical research and backing.
Ultherapy is an FDA-cleared ultrasound procedure and is the pioneer brand for skin lifting treatments. It uses real-time ultrasound imaging for precise delivery of shots into the skin, and as such avoids structures such as bones and blood vessels for a safe and effective treatment.
The Ultraformer III, also known as “Shurink”, is the most popular HIFU machine from South Korea. Other than the usual 1.5mm, 3mm and 4.5mm handpieces like with Ulthera, the Ultraformer III also comes with additional handpieces to target more areas. The 2mm handpiece is designed for the eye and brow, while the 6mm handpiece targets double chin, arms and bra areas. We use the 9mm and 13mm handpieces for body treatments around the tummy, flanks and inner thigh.
Which is the right HIFU for you?
Both Ulthera and Ultraformer III deliver similarly good results when done properly. While Ulthera remains the pioneer brand with a global following, the Ultraformer III is a slightly faster procedure and is more comfortable, although it utilises more shots than Ulthera which is considered slightly stronger in power.
The amount of power delivered however, ultimately depends on the energy settings and number of shots used. During your consultation, your doctor will be able to advise on the best course of treatment for you.
2. HIFU requires expert planning
There is no one-size-fits-all regime for HIFU treatments. Your doctor should conduct a thorough assessment of your face and concerns before customising a treatment plan for you according to your face shape and desired outcomes. Different parts of your face will require different power settings, treatment depths and number of shots to be administered for optimum results. There should never be a fixed number of shots for everyone. An individual’s treatment plan can differ greatly from another.
Watch the video to see how our doctors customise a HIFU treatment!
3. Adequate number of shots used
The treatment area and concerns in these target regions will determine the number of shots required. It is essential that your doctor uses sufficient shots to achieve the best results. Areas with heavier volume or more fats will require more shots as compared to areas with less volume.
As a rule of thumb, a full face treatment requires an average of 800 to 900 shots. Every face is different and HIFU should not be a fixed protocol for everyone.
4. The power should be strong enough
HIFU generates a high amount of heat of up to 72 degree celsius under the skin. This damages fat cells and stimulates collagen reproduction. The power of the ultrasound energy delivered therefore determines the degree of collagen reproduction and volume of fat reduction.
For volume reduction around double chin or jowls, strong power settings are required to generate heat of 68 to 72 degree celsius. This ensures that fat cells are damaged to achieve the desired lifting and slimming effect.
A proper procedure at power settings that deliver good results will inevitably be uncomfortable to some degree. A painless or low-powered HIFU treatment does not generate enough energy to deliver efficient results. Simply put – no pain, no gain.
5. Pain management optimises your results
Pain management is essential for achieving significant results without compromising on comfort. This power and pain management and how we do it at Mizu is a very important part of the procedure.
While we apply topical numbing cream for all our patients and sometimes offer oral painkillers, we also use local anaesthesia to perform a nerve block to manage discomfort. A nerve block is the injection of local anaesthesia to numb the face, like how a dentist will inject local anaesthesia to numb the gums before a tooth extraction. A nerve block greatly reduces any possible pain, which would allow us to perform the HIFU at the optimum power setting for better results.
When in doubt, always consult your doctor on your concerns and find out how you can optimise your treatment with minimal discomfort.
“There’re so many places that offer HIFU, so how do I choose the right one?”
With countless advertisements for HIFU across medical establishments and even beauty salons, how do you know if you are doing the right HIFU treatment? Our doctors give the lowdown on common misconceptions and claims surrounding HIFU.
Why choose Mizu?
- Our doctors meticulously plan every patient’s HIFU protocol for the best results.
- Our doctors perform every HIFU treatment in its intended manner with adequate power settings and number of shots used.
- We understand that pain management is essential to ensure better results. Our doctors take extra care and effort to reduce discomfort during your HIFU treatment.
Dr YZ Tan is the first doctor in Singapore to be sent for training in Korea by Classys (Ultraformer’s manufacturer). He has since developed his own unique way of performing the HIFU after years of using it, which the doctors at Mizu practice.
Mizu has received an award as the TOP ULTRAFORMER USER SINGAPORE in 2019. To date, our doctors have performed over 2,000 procedures. Speak to us today to find out more about HIFU and how we can customise your treatment for you!