The Low Down of HIFU: What you should know before a HIFU treatment

Having been in the medical aesthetics field for 20 years, I have seen many patients with a variety of concerns. However, the most common would be – saggy skin. For some, I would recommend Botox, for others it would be HIFU (High Intensity Focused Ultrasound).


There may be some of you who have heard about HIFU and are wondering what the differences are between HIFUs:

“Is Ultherapy the same as HIFU?”

“What is Ultratransformer and Ultherapy?”

“Is Doublo-S the same as Ulthera?”


HIFU is the technology used in facelifting and there are a variety of brands of HIFU. Here are some of the popular ones that doctors prefer:

  • Doublo-S
  • Ulthera
  • Ultratransformer


As for the price point, it is due to the type of HIFU machines used. This also means that the efficiency and results would differ. What we have at Nu.Reflections is Doublo-S as it is effective in face contouring and improved elasticity.


So what is HIFU?
HIFU stands for High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound. HIFU utilises ultrasound energy to tighten the skin and reduce facial fats. As a result, HIFUs can target deep skin layers to cause tightening and lift the face without needles or surgery.


What can HIFU treat?

  • Reduce appearance of wrinkles
  • tighten sagging skin on the neck
  • lift the cheeks, eyebrows, and eyelids
  • enhance jawline definition
  • tighten décolletage
  • smoothen appearance of skin


What is the difference between Ultherapy (ulthera) and HIFU?

Ultherapy or Ulthera treatment is a procedure to tighten and lift the skin and underlying tissue of the face to achieve a non-surgical facelift. The first such machine to actually be touted to achieve a non-surgical facelift is Thermage. Thermage uses bipolar radio-frequency energy to heat up and tighten the skin and tissue.


Ulthera uses high intensity focused ultrasound or simply abbreviated as HIFU. Yes, despite all the confusion in the market regarding Ultherapy and HIFU, Ultherapy is HIFU treatment.


Ulthera is a brand of HIFU and they also coined the term “Ultherapy” to mean Ulthera therapy or treatment. Ulthera being the first to market HIFU treatment, had the first mover advantage and invested a lot of marketing dollars to gain market share.


Since the introduction of Ulthera, many other companies have introduce their version of HIFU treatments. Reputable Korean brands include Doublo and Ultraformer. Such good machines are normally referred to by their brand name in the midst of the popularity, there are also many smaller and lesser known companies coming up with cheap HIFU machines. Such lower quality machines are just referred to as HIFU as their brands are lesser known.


With a good brand (from reputable manufacturer), quality of the machine is naturally better so treatment outcome is also more predictable. Many research has gone into ensuring good efficiency with safety. The cheaper HIFU machines however lacks proper research as well as quality control. Bad HIFU treatment may result in injury from over-power or lack of results with under-power.


Expect to pay more for treatments with branded HIFU like Ulthera, Doublo or Ultraformer but the promise of safety and good results make it all worthwhile.


So is there a difference between the different “branded” machines? Of course, the specification and clinical application including power settings are all different. As long as the doctor is trained using any of these reliable machines, he is able to deliver good results safely. So choosing a good doctor is definitely more important than choosing the machine.


Should I go for HIFU?

As mentioned, Botox or fillers will be recommended to some of my patients while others I would get them to go for HIFU. How I make this decision is by their facial structure – HIFU is for those with a larger lower face such as excess facial fats (“baby fat”) or jowls.


Is HIFU painful?

Effective HIFU treatments shouldn’t be “painless” as the treatment uses a high amount of heat to destroy collagen, allowing them to repair over time to become tighter and firmer. As this heat reaches up to 72 degrees, a HIFU procedure will be slightly uncomfortable as the heat accumulates under the skin. For those who are concerned about the discomfort, numbing cream will be applied to treatment area. 

If HIFU is painful, why do people still do HIFU treatments? Simple – the alternative to HIFU is invasive and painful as well. Surgical facelifts are considered plastic surgery and are expensive with the usual risks and complications. Most people prefer non-invasive treatments with lesser downtime like HIFU.


How many shots should I get?


One thing to look out for during a HIFU treatment is the number of shots delivered during the session. The number of shots administered would differ across individuals and typically, it ranges from 500 to 1000 shots. Discuss with your doctor prior to treatment to get the best results.


Will HIFU alone do the trick?

As with most treatments, one session will not be effective in producing results. Treating saggy skin is not a one dimensional solution and treatments can often be combined so patients can get the best results.


In fact, to achieve the ideal results, I would recommend that HIFU be done in combination with other aesthetic treatments such as chin fillers, to elongate the face and ultimately create a more prominent V shape face. Other treatments that can be done with HIFU are Radio Frequency, Fractional laser and Botox.


So here’s the low-down on HIFU! If you would like a consultation to determine what treatment best suits you, drop us a call at 6235 5333 or book an appointment here:


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