Are you paying for the right HIFU procedure?
1. What type of HIFU is it?
Focused vs Fractionated Ultrasound
HIFU stands for “High Intensity Focused Ultrasound” – it works by focusing ultrasound energy into heat energy. When focused on the skin layers, it remodels and stimulates collagen growth.
A proper HIFU not only stimulates collagen and lifts sagging skin, it can also be used to reduce unwanted facial fat, especially around the lower face area including the double chin removal.
There is also the Fractionated Ultrasound (also named HIFU), which are commonly offered by medispas and facial spas i.e. you don’t need a medical license to operate these machines. They can also be the choice of HIFU for certain clinics.
The main difference is the energy output; a proper HIFU generates temperatures under the skin to more than 70 degrees, while spa-grade ultrasound procedures only generates temperature of up to only 42 degrees.
2. Is it done by a doctor?
In Singapore, only medical clinics offer HSA-approved HIFU procedures, which are to be done by a doctor.
There are multiple medi-spas and facial spas that offers “HIFU” treatments, often at a fraction of the price a proper HIFU costs. This is the Fractionated Ultrasound treatment and is often done by therapists.
Every face is different and requires a different number of shots at different areas of the face for the best results. An assessment of the face before starting the procedure is very important. Not all faces are made the same and a HIFU procedure should not be a fixed protocol for everyone.
Also take note that a proper HIFU’s handpiece is moved on the face in a linear pattern, not a continuous circular motion. This is because the handpiece has to be stationary when the shots are being performed to ensure that the focused ultrasound energy stays at one point. This properly targets the specific area and depth, so it should not be ‘spread’ around in a continuous motion.
3. “Painless” HIFUs
No pain, no gain.
A HIFU procedure that delivers good results will inevitably be uncomfortable. A proper HIFU can be painful at higher energy levels – even with numbing cream, some patients still feel the discomfort. At Mizu, we add on local numbing injections before performing the HIFU for more comfort – and this can only be done by a doctor.
- Minimal discomfort during the HIFU procedure, even at high energy levels
- Best results; as we can perform the HIFU at the necessary power for each individual, especially for patients who cannot tolerate high energy levels with just numbing cream.
A HIFU that claims to be painless does not generate enough energy to deliver efficient results. This in turn means that there will not be sufficient collagen stimulation or fat reduction for results. Sometimes, no pain really means no gain.
4. How long before I see the results?
A proper HIFU takes 3 month to see the best results – however, short term results might be visible due to the heat causing some tightening.
5. How many sessions are needed?
A HIFU that requires more than 1 session is NOT a proper HIFU.
Due to its high energy, a proper HIFU requires only 1 treatment, once every 1 – 1.5 years.
Spa-grade ultrasound treatments will usually require 3 or more sessions, and even with more sessions, results are not as significant as a proper HIFU due to its lower energy output.
The cost of the HIFU tells you most about the efficacy – a proper HIFU requires a doctor’s careful planning and execution, and prices are often twice or thrice more expensive than a single session of the spa-grade HIFU machines.
However – spa-grade HIFU machines usually require 3-4 sessions for best results plus regular maintenance sessions after, which works out to be the same amount or more sometimes!
At high energy levels, a properly done HIFU may cause some puffiness along the jawline/lower face. There should be little to no redness as the HIFU targets deep within the skin and not on the surface. Puffiness usually lasts 3 days on average – you may also feel soreness along the jawline after HIFU.
The higher the energy setting from a proper HIFU, the longer the puffiness lasts. HIFU treatments which claim to have no downtime at all are essentially not performed at the right energy settings, which ends with unsatisfactory results.
BONUS: A question we get asked all the time:
Ulthera vs HIFU – What’s the difference?
They’re essentially the same!
One of the most common questions we get is ‘What is the difference between Ulthera and a HIFU?’.
The Ulthera is a brand of HIFU that originates from America. Ulthera, or Ultherapy, is the first ever HIFU to be introduced to the market and has a very big following around the world. It is also the first HIFU machine to introduce skin-imaging via Ultrasound so that doctors can see the depth of where the thermal ultrasound energy is being focused at.
At Mizu, we offer both the Ulthera and the Ultraformer HIFU III. We offer both brands of HIFU as we understand that everyone has their preferences when it comes to machine selection.
The Ultraformer HIFU, or “Shurink” as it is known in Korea, is the most popular HIFU procedure in Korea. The Ultraformer III comes with more than just the traditional 1.5mm, 3mm, and 4.5mm handpieces. It comes with an additional 2mm handpiece, specifically designed to tighten under eye fine lines and eye bags, while the 6mm handpiece targets double chin fat effectively! It is also possible to get the HIFU done on the body with the 13mm or 9mm handpieces.
Results wise – both the Ulthera and Ultraformer will be able to deliver similarly good results when performed by an experienced doctor. The Ultraformer is a slightly faster procedure, but utilises more shots as compared to Ulthera. The Ultraformer can be slightly less uncomfortable due to the speed (it is quicker), but local numbing injections will be offered for both procedures to maximize comfort and results.
Also, Did you know:
Dr Tan was the first doctor in Singapore to be sent to Classys (manufacturer of the Ultraformer) for training, and has since developed his own unique way of performing the HIFU after years of using it.
Mizu was also awarded the TOP ULTRAFORMER USER SINGAPORE in 2019. Speak to us today to understand your suitability for the HIFU or Ultherapy!