HIFU: Focused vs Fractionated
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 also reduces unwanted facial fat, especially around the lower face area, including double chin removal.
There is also the Fractionated Ultrasound (also named HIFU), commonly offered by medi-spas and facial spas. i.e. you don’t need a medical license to operate these machines. They are also the choice of ultrasound anti-aging device 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.
In Singapore, only medical clinics offer HSA-approved medical-grade ultrasound procedures performed by a doctor.
There are multiple medi-spas and facial spas that offers “HIFU” (Fractionated Ultrasound) treatments, often at a fraction of the price a proper HIFU costs. This 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 HIFU should not be a fixed protocol for everyone.
No pain, no gain.
An ultrasround anti-aging procedure that delivers good results is inevitably uncomfortable. A proper HIFU is painful at higher energy levels – even with numbing cream, some patients still feel the discomfort. At Mizu, local numbing injections are provided for more comfort, and this can only be done by a doctor.
A painless HIFU does not generate enough energy to deliver efficient results. This in turn means insufficient collagen stimulation or fat reduction for results. Sometimes, no pain really means no gain.
If it requires more than 1 session, it is NOT a proper HIFU.
Due to its high energy, the HIFU is done once every 1 – 1.5 years.
Spa-grade treatments usually require 3 or more sessions. Even with more sessions, results are not as significant as a proper HIFU due to its lower energy output.
The cost of the treatment(s) tells you most about the efficacy. A proper HIFU takes careful planning and execution, and prices are 2 – 3 times the cost of a single session of the spa-grade machines.
However – spa-grade machines usually require 3-4 sessions for best results plus regular maintenance sessions after. The total works out to be the same amount or more!
At high energy levels, a properly done HIFU may cause some puffiness along the jawline/lower face. There is little to no redness as it targets deep within the skin. Puffiness usually lasts 3 days on average – soreness along the jawline can occur too.
The higher the energy setting, the longer the puffiness lasts. Treatments that claim zero downtime = not performed at the optimal energy settings, which gives unsatisfactory results.
They’re essentially the same!
The Ulthera is a brand of HIFU that originates from America. Ulthera, or Ultherapy is the first ultrasound anti-aging device in the market, and has a bit global following. It is also the first HIFU machine to introduce skin-imaging via Ultrasound. This allows practitioners to assess the depth where thermal ultrasound energy focuses on.
The Ultraformer, or “Shurink” is the most popular HIFU procedure in Korea. Other than the usual 1.5mm, 3mm, and 4.5mm handpieces, the Ultraformer III comes with an additional 2mm and 6mm handpieces. The 2mm handpiece is designed to tighten under eye fine lines, while the 6mm handpiece targets double chin fat effectively. Mizu uses the 9mm and 13mm handpieces for body treatments.
Results wise:Done properly, both the Ulthera and Ultraformer deliver similarly good results. The Ultraformer is a slightly faster procedure, which means it’s less uncomfortable, but utilizes more shots as compared to Ulthera.
Also, Did you know:
The first doctor in Singapore sent to Korea by Classys (manufacturer of the Ultraformer) for training, Dr Tan has since developed his own unique way of performing the HIFU after years of using it.
Mizu received an award as the TOP ULTRAFORMER USER SINGAPORE in 2019. Speak to us today to understand your suitability for the HIFU or Ultherapy!
Also take note that a proper HIFU’s handpiece moves on the face in a linear pattern, not in a continuous circular motion. The handpiece is stationary when shots are 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.