For most, the word “ultrasound” is usually associated with some sort of medical procedure. Many women undergo one or more ultrasound procedures when they are pregnant in order to make sure their baby is growing properly. Others have had ultrasound procedures for other illnesses or injuries.
But most laypersons probably don’t know that there’s a different type of non-invasive ultrasound that can help stimulate the body’s cell regeneration process, boost collagen, and created an uplifted look that makes skin appear younger.
Microfocused ultrasound (MFU) can be used to tone, lift, and tighten skin on the face and neck and in the décolletage area (the upper part of a woman’s torso that is revealed when wearing a low neckline). It is a process that requires little time to administer and recovery is minimal.
How does Microfocused ultrasound work?
A MFU beam is able to pass through the skin without causing any harm, targeting the subcutaneous tissue. The energy from the ultrasound causes cellular friction and raises the temperature in the targeted area.
The heat impairs the function of the existing collagen and the body responds by creating new collagen. The contraction and denaturation of the collagen causes tightening to occur and, afterwards, lifting occurs as the body initiates an inflammatory response.
That might sound complicated but patients needn’t worry about what’s happening under the skin, only the result they can see on the outside.
As with all treatments, the aesthetician who is offering microfocused ultrasound will take a full medical history of the patient considering the procedure.
Most people are good candidates for MFU though patients who are pregnant, breastfeeding, recovering from chemotherapy, or have any active cancers or autoimmune diseases may not be able to undergo MFU. Age and skin type may enter the picture as well.
The procedure is quite simple and not unlike other traditional ultrasounds. However, patients do report a sort of prickly feeling when undergoing MFU, most likely due to the rise in temperature at the focal points.
Some describe an uncomfortable feeling of being poked with small, hot needles. Most aestheticians will address this in advance with benzodiazepines or other appropriate oral pain relievers. Still, others simply prefer to “talk” the patient through the procedure, distracting them with conversation.
Recovery and results
Many patients report discomfort, redness, and swelling for up to an hour after the MFU procedure is complete. The tingling reported during the procedure may persist as well.
But all of these are temporary and studies show that MFU is very safe.
Some tightening will be visible immediately but, overall, the results of MFU take some time to appear – usually about 90 days and sometimes longer. Patients report that results of the procedure can last as long as 18 months with average results topping out at about a year.
If you’re considering MFU for skin tightening, ask your aesthetician about his/her experience with the procedure and be sure to talk to him or her about whether this is a procedure that will be right for you.
Your aesthetician may also suggest MFU in conjunction with other treatments including injections.