A high intensity focused ultrasound facial, or HIFU facial for short, is a noninvasive treatment for facial aging. This procedure is part of a growing trend for anti-aging treatments that provide some of the benefits of a facelift without the need for surgery.
According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, nonsurgical procedures increased in popularity by 4.2% in 2017.
These less invasive treatments have a shorter recovery period than surgical options, but the results they provide are not as dramatic and do not last as long. Due to this, dermatologistsTrusted Source recommend HIFU only for mild-to-moderate or early signs of aging.
How does it work?
A HIFU facial uses ultrasound to create heat at a deep level in the skin. This heat damages targeted skin cells, causing the body to try to repair them. To do this, the body produces collagen to aid in cell regrowth. Collagen is a substance in the skin that gives it structure and elasticity.
According to the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery, nonsurgical ultrasound treatments such as HIFU can:
- tighten the skin on the neck
- reduce the appearance of jowls
- lift drooping eyelids or eyebrows
- smooth wrinkles on the face
- smooth and tighten chest skin
The type of ultrasound that this procedure uses is different than the ultrasound that doctors use for medical imaging. HIFU uses high energy waves to target specific areas of the body.
Specialists also use HIFU to treat tumors in much longer, more intense sessions that can last for up to 3 hours in an MRI scanner.
What is the procedure?
We usually begin HIFU facial rejuvenation by cleaning the chosen area of the face and applying a gel. Then, they use a handheld device that emits the ultrasound waves in short bursts. Each session typically lasts 30–90 minutes.
Is it painful?
Some people report mild discomfort during the treatment, and some have pain afterward. Doctors may apply a local anesthetic before the procedure to help prevent this pain. Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil), may also help.
Do I need to prepare?
Unlike other cosmetic procedures, including laser hair removal, HIFU facials do not require any preparation. When a session is over, there is also no recovery time, which means that people can get on with their daily activities after receiving HIFU treatment.
How many treatments will I need?
People may require between one and six sessions, depending on the results they want to achieve.
What are the side effects?
In general, the evidence suggests that a HIFU facial has few side effects, although some people may experience pain and discomfort right after the procedure.
The South Korean studyTrusted Source concluded that there were no serious side effects of the treatment, although some participants reported: