High Frequency Ultrasound – A Different Opinion

High-Frequency Ultrasound is a new technology that melts tissue using sound waves. It is different than the ultrasound used for imaging the unborn baby when women are pregnant. In HIFU, the sound waves are focused to a single point. Because the sound energy is so focused, the point gets very hot. So hot that it melts, or burns, the tissue that it is focused on. Fat is the most vulnerable so it will melt first. The reaction that then develops produces inflammation (not infection) which then leads to new collagen formation and tightening. The result, therefore, is that the area treated will get smaller (fat destroyed) and lifted (tightening of the scar tissue that is formed). Ulthera and Liposonix are the two main HIFU machines being marketed to patients and non-surgical procedures to reduce fat and tighten the skin.

I tested Ulthera on 6 patients a year ago, together with the sales rep and none of the patients saw any difference. I was very eager to have it work since I would have been one of the first to be able to offer the technique in my area. I was very disappointed and chose not to buy the machine. Liposonix is the same thing but made for the body. Check out their website – look at THEIR photos. Do you see much difference? I am underwhelmed. Both of these procedures use High-Frequency Ultrasound (HIFU). While it does “technically” work I do not believe that it yet delivers a clinical result that is equal or better than other surgical techniques, such as liposuction, ultrasonic assisted liposuction, and facelift procedures,  which would give a much more predictable and longer lasting result.

I like to always embrace new technology and techniques as long as I can be convinced that they are safe and effective. I believe that HIFU, together with other types of lasers and energy producing technologies, are on the right track to be able to provide a non-surgical alternative. I just don’t think they are good enough yet. The only thing they will definitely make thinner is your wallet. Just my opinion. Perhaps I am just a “stick in the mud”, but just trying to “keep it real”.

What do you think? Let me know your thoughts.

Ronald H Schuster, MD. – Board Certified Plastic Surgeon – Chief, Division of Plastic Surgery Northwest Hospital, Baltimore, Maryland: Clinical Instructor Johns Hopkins Hospital Division of Plastic Surgery – Specializing in cosmetic surgery of the face and body. Procedures include Composite Facelift, Midface Lift, Eyelid surgery (Blepharoplasty), Brow lift, Endoscopic facial surgery, Laser resurfacing, Nasal surgery (Rhinoplasty), Breast augmentation / lift (Mastopexy), Breast reduction, Liposuction, Ultrasonic Assisted Liposuction, Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty), Plastic Surgery after Weight Loss from Bariatric Surgery (Body Lift surgery), Correction of Gynecomastia. Non-surgical facial rejuvenation procedures are performed daily. These include fillers (Restylane, Perlane, Juvederm, Radiesse and Sculptra), Botox and Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) for photofacial rejuvenation. Also available is a full service aestheticians for comprehensive skin care, including Obagi, Procyte, Skin Medica, Results Rx.

Member: American Society of Plastic Surgeons, American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, American Society of Laser Medicine and Surgery, American Medical Association, John Staige Davis Society

Office: 10807 Falls Road  Suite #101, Lutherville, Maryland, 21093

Plastic surgery serving the greater Baltimore-Washington metropolitan areas, including Owings Mills, Towson, Timonium, Baltimore City, Randallstown, Columbia, Ellicott City, Westminster, Stevenson, Pikesville, Bethesda, Potomac, Chevy Chase, Washington D.C.

Phone: 410-902-9800

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