Ultherapy vs HIFU: What’s The Difference Really?

Ultherapy? HIFU?
You might’ve heard these buzzwords being thrown around and how they can help in anti-aging and skin tightening, but what are they really?

Essentially, Ultherapy and HIFU are medical devices that deliver precise amounts of high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) energy into your skin. This non-surgical, non-invasive treatment has the effect of stimulating collagen productionreducing the appearance of wrinkles, and causing skin to look younger, firmer, and more supple.

But with so many HIFU devices in the market – Ultraformer, Doublo-S, and Ablatherm, just to name a few – it can be confusing to figure out the difference between Ultherapy and other HIFU devices.

We break down the major differences between Ultherapy and other HIFU devices for you:

1. Ultherapy has FDA Approval
The Ulthera machine that provides Ultherapy skin tightening is a type of HIFU device, but it is the only HIFU device approved by the United States’ Food & Drug Administration (US FDA) for lifting and tightening skin, while reducing the appearance of wrinkles on the face, neck and chest.

The US FDA is known for being stringent when it comes to safety and efficacy, and its approval of Ultherapy brings about assurances of effectiveness and safety.

This is especially important given the many different types of HIFU devices we see in the market these days. Not all HIFU devices are of medical-grade standards, neither are all HIFU devices recognised by Singapore’s Health & Sciences Authority (HSA) – hence there is a need to take extra precaution. Just to be on the safe side, our clients prefer Ultherapy for ease of mind!

2. Ultherapy is performed by doctors only
The Ultherapy skin tightening treatment can only be performed by licensed doctors in Singapore; these high medical standards set by HSA ensures that Ultherapy is conducted in a safe manner for the benefit of all patients.

HIFU treatments however, are not as regulated – they can be performed by either doctors or beauticians. Should you wish to go ahead with a HIFU treatment, it is best to clarify whether your treatment will be carried out by a doctor, as there have been cases of partial blindness and facial burns from the improper usage of HIFU machines stemming from inadequate anatomical knowledge.

3. Ultherapy has ultrasound imaging
Ulthera is the only HIFU machine to have ultrasound imaging, effectively allowing Dr Kok to see the layers of skin tissue he is targeting. This allows him to accurately place the Ultherapy device and effectively target problem areas. Ultrasound imaging works like how one would imagine in an ultrasound pregnancy scan.

Ultherapy effectively targets 2 areas – 1) the dermis (where our collagen is structurally located) and 2) the Superficial Muscular Aponeurotic System (SMAS) muscle (a tough, deep layer of muscles and fibrous tissue that forms the structure of the face and neck – this is the layer that plastic surgeons work on when doing a facelift!).

When targeting the dermis, the focused ultrasound pulses delivered by Ultherapy stimulate the body’s natural collagen production, resulting in increased collagen and firmer, younger-looking skin over time.

When Ultherapy targets the SMAS muscle, the ultrasound energy delivered has an effect of tightening the fibrous tissue in the SMAS, causing one to have a lifted, rejuvenated appearance.

Given the importance of directing ultrasound waves into the right parts of the facial structure, the ultrasound imaging in the Ulthera device helps Dr Kok reliably target focused ultrasound energy into the dermis and the SMAS muscle, providing added security and in turn bringing about effective results.

For more information on Ultherapy, head here for a comprehensive FAQ list. If you’d like to learn more about our Ultherapy services, call us at +65 6738 4700, email us at enquire@lsaestheticclinic.com, or visit us at Wisma Atria, Orchard Road.

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