Unlike lasers & surgery, Ultherapy bypasses the surface of the skin to address skin laxity & sagging. It delivers the exactly the right amount of ultrasound energy, at precisely the right depth & temperature. The controlled heat generated in this process stimulates the skin’s healing response, which causes new collagen to form. The result is lifted tissue that produces firmer, tighter, younger-looking skin over time.
- HIFU stands for High Intensity Focused Ultrasound
- Cutis Dermatology uses two HIFU devices
- Ultherapy & Ultraformer delivers ultrasound energy to contract & stimulate collagen
- This treatment can provide skin tightening & lifting in key areas of the face & neck
- Suitable candidates have mild to moderate facial/neck laxity
- This treatment has no downtime
Ultherapy HIFU at a glance
Our results speak for themselves
Collagen is a compound made by the skin that combats cellular damage & promotes skin resilience, hydration, & suppleness. As we age, our collagen stores dwindle, leaving skin depleted & lax.
Using Ultherapy, can help to gently stimulate & contract collagen, restoring the skin’s elasticity & resilience.
HIFU (High intensity focused ultrasound) has a therapeutic window of lifting, & skin rejuvenation namely –
- Improvement of mild to moderate skin laxity of the mid to lower face
- Jawline & neck contouring in suitable patients
- Chest rejuvenation in suitable candidates
Off label treatments that we employ include-
- Elevation of upper eyelids in suitable patients
- Eye rejuvenation for mild to moderate wrinkles
- Treatment of jowls in suitable candidates
Good candidates are patients with mild to moderate skin laxity, with good dermal thickness & average to above average facial fat content. It is best used to address the signs of early aging.
Poor candidates are those with a thin dermal layer, photodamage/ poor skin quality & or those with low facial fat. Patient selection is critical for both results & safety, read more to understand.
Using deep visual guidance, Ultherapy & Ultraformer positions ‘shots’ of high intensity focused ultrasound in the deep, mid & superficial layers of skin. This contracts collagen, & & stimulates cells to produce new collagen. This provides new scaffolding for your skin. The result is tighter & firmer skin.
The depths that Ultherapy reaches are comparable to those that a surgical facelift can zone in on. However, Ultherapy is completely non-invasive and has no downtime.
Collagen contraction takes 1 week; however, the result is modest. The magic happens at 3 months when you can see the fruits of collagen stimulation. You should notice firmer skin, with less laxity.
Typically, only one session is recommended, remembering it takes up to 3-4 months for the best results. HIFU can be repeated every 12-36 months if required.
Our specialist team at Cutis are very selective on who we recommend for this treatment. Patient selection is critical for good results. Book a FREE consultation with our nursing team to see if Ultherapy is right for you.
Yes, as this is not a laser, it is colour blind. In fact, darker skin types will usually obtain better results than fair skin patients because-
- Collagen is better quality (less sun induced breakdown)
- Collagen is thicker
- Contraction of collagen is more brisk
Our team employs many different methods to tighten skin, including-
- Collagen stimulating dermal fillers including calcium hydroxyapatite & PLLA.
- RF devices including Tempsure & Pelleve.
- RF microneedling devices such as Infini & Genius RF
- Laser resurfacing with CO2 & hybrid lasers
- PDO threads in vectors.
- Deep chemical peels including Jessner TCA & Phenol
The ideal treatment depends on your age, ethnicity, dermal thickness, skin quality & many other factors. If you are unsure, book a FREE consultation with our nurses. T&C apply.
The longevity of your results will vary depending on how much collagen your body produces, as well as your age, ethnicity, diet & most importantly, genetics.
Most of our patients still see noticeable results two years after their initial procedure and continue to undergo follow-up treatments to maintain their appearance.
Lasers are great for improving skin quality, namely sun damage, pigmentation, fine lines, & wrinkles. They are used to address conditions ON the surface of the skin. Conversely Ultherapy is used to address conditions under the surface, including laxity.
In Brisbane / Queensland, most patients will have a mix of both sun damage & skin laxity, hence may benefit from both treatments.
Learn more (link to laser resurfacing in the anti-aging section)
The Cosmelan Peel is one of the fastest methods to clear up superficial melasma, but comes with a one week downtime.
Dermatologists use microneedling for conditions like hair loss & dermal delivery of drugs. In the context of skin rejuvenation, there are far better treatments. Microneedling targets superficial concerns, HIFU spares the upper layers of skin to treat deeply.
Our team performs the following combinations, here is the logic.
HIFU + laser resurfacing. The former treats deep to contract, the latter addresses superficial skin quality issues.
HIFU + dermal filler. HIFU tightens, fillers address volume loss.
HIFU + PDO monos: Both stimulate collagen, one tightens deeper, PDOs cause superficial fibrosis. Both are synergistic.
HIFU + Deep peels. The former tighten & contracts, the latter addresses skin quality issues & contracts. Again, synergistic treatments.
Treatments are well tolerated, however if it extends beyond 15 minutes, we do provide nitrous gas to ensure that you maintain your comfort levels.
Side effects are rare with HIFU as it focuses energy in the deeper layers of skin, sparing the skin’s surface. Adverse events include-
Yes, if used incorrectly. Like any energy device, settings matter. Cases of volume loss can be attributed to-
- User error
- Inappropriate patient selection
- Tightening without volume replacement
Broken collagen does not contract. Sun/UV induced elastosis is a term we use to describe fragmented collagen. Patients with significant skin quality issues & laxity are best treated with a combination of collagen stimulating dermal fillers & laser resurfacing.
Learn more (link to hybrid laser resurfacing)
Yes. Dermatologists use this treatment off label to ‘melt’ jowl fat. We use the side effects of this device as a treatment. This treatment is only done by our senior consultants as it is considered high risk.
No, energy devices cannot melt dermal fillers. The reason is that fillers are stable at temperatures well above 100 degrees. This is part of the sterilization process. All energy devices have dermal heating capped at below 70 degrees (different from epidermal heating. This includes HIFU-Ultherapy- Ultraformer.
Make no mistake this is an expensive treatment, so before you waste your time, effort & money, consider these points-
Patient selection: The most important part of treatment. In Brisbane, one in four candidates are suitable for non-surgical skin tightening using this device. If your skin is thin, or if you have low facial fat, don’t do it. It’s not worth it.
Your facial volume: HIFU will not replace volume loss, in fact with contraction it can perceivably increase volume loss. You have 4 choices to replace volume, dermal fillers, fat transfer, implants or gain some weight. Devices do not replace facial volume.
Who is performing it? This treatment is performed by our senior nursing staff & dermatologists. We are mindful of delivering safe, predictable outcomes. Again, patient selection is critical for safety & efficacy.
Ancillary treatments: These are required if; volume loss is apparent. As above. Additionally, if you have photodamage & compromised skin quality, skin directed treatments including chemical peels & lasers are required.
This device has been commercialized to the point of detrimentally affecting the reputation of High intensity Focused Ultrasound. It applies to Ultherapy (Merz, the original) & other similar devices including Ultraformer.
Because this is not a laser, it has no restriction on who can buy, & use the device. In the wrong hands, bad things can potentially happen. As a guide, we only treat one in four patients who request this treatment. Patient selection is critical to both results, & safety.
Volume loss you read about online does & can occur. In some cases, it is due to user error, namely too many passes, or treating with super high power in patients with little facial fat to begin with. Make no mistake, HIFU is very powerful.
The most common causes of perceived volume depletion are actually due to two things. Firstly, the contraction of loose skin results in a better skin tone. This is perceived to be volume loss in patients with very little fat– think shrink wrapping, the contents are still the same, but the volume of air is reduced. Should these patients be treated in the first place? Yes & no. For those who think that volume replacement can be achieved with HIFU or (any device for that matter) should be excluded from treatment. If they understand that good/natural skin rejuvenation requires volume replacement & that this can only be achieved with dermal fillers or fat, then sure, it is appropriate.
Secondly, the most common cause of volume loss is volume loss. Hear us out. We know that aging goes in cycles of 3 to 5 years. This means things are stable for that period, then bam! Within 6 months you (& every other human), seem to age 2-4 years. The loss of facial volume is part of aging, catch it in that cycle & some will blame it on the treatment.
Was this Ultrasound that caused it? It’s hard to answer without knowing who performed the procedure. Regardless, volume loss was going to happen anyway.
Our dermatologists see many patients who have reported volume loss following treatment with HIFU. The treatment of choice is to replace lost volume with either soft tissue dermal fillers or fat transfer to the face.
In summary, HIFU is an excellent treatment for skin laxity & heaviness of the lower one third of the face. It will not replace a face lift, suitable candidates have above average dermal thickness & above average facial fat, with little or no sun damage.