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December 7, 2020

HIFU – The Safe, non invasive way of getting a facelift.

The biggest problem with the word facelift is that it conjures up images of a deeply invasive surgery being done on one’s face. This I am sure is a scenario that lot of us would like to avoid at all costs. It is exactly myths like these which deter patients from seeking treatment for the sagging and ageing skin on their face.

In reality a facelift now a days is either non-invasive or minimally invasive with very little to no down time and a very safe procedure.

Why does the skin sag in the first place?

Before getting into procedures that will help relieve sagging skin and it would be good to understand how the skin stays firm and what can cause it to sag.

The skin’s firmness depends on:

  • The Epidermis : This is the outermost layer of the skin. A healthy epidermis helps boost skin firmness.
  • Elastin : Manufactured in the dermis, this skin protein gives elasticity to the skin and enables it to bounce back when stretched.
  • Collagen : It is a skin protein produced by fibroblasts in the dermis, which helps the skin to retain its structure and be firm.

Skin sagging is largely due to damage or degeneration of elastin and collagen in the skin. The more important reasons for why such a damage occurs are listed below:

  • Ageing
  • Weight loss
  • Pregnancy
  • Prolonged sun (UV rays) exposure
  • Smoking
  • Excess alcohol consumption
  • Poor nutrition
  • Certain environmental pollutants
  • Certain illnesses

So what exactly is a facelift? And is this the only way to get rid of sagging skin?

The trouble is that facelift is a very broad term that consists of a host of a procedures ranging from non-invasive techniques to corrective surgeries. To get rid of sagging skin a dermatologist needs to determine the exact reasons, areas affected and extent of the condition.

Also it is necessary to understand here that sagging skin is not something that can be treated completed but it definitely can be controlled, reduced and reversed to a great extent.

A typical line of treatment taken by any dermatologist after a through consultation would follow a flow as below:

  • 1. Topical medications & Oral Supplements
  • 2. Common Skin Rejuvenation procedures like microdermabrasion, skin rejuvenation lasers etc.
  • 3. Face-lifting and skin tightening procedures like HIFU
  • 4. Injectable Anti-ageing Treatments like using BTX and Dermal Fillers
  • 5. Lastly Invasive procedures like Thread Lifts etc.

What I would like to focus on below is non invasive face-lifting using a minimal downtime procedure like HIFU.

So am I a candidate for face-lifting?

While the exact line of treatment may be decided by a dermatologist, it is easy to determine if you are a candidate for anti-ageing treatments and procedures. Typically beyond the age of 30 to 35 years, sagging skin starts showing around eyelids, jowls, chin, throat, upper arms or stomach. Also as mentioned above certain conditions like extreme weight loss or lifestyle choice like smoking speed up the ageing process. This would make it the best time to go see a dermatologist.

What is HIFU?

Often referred to as the ‘Non-surgical / Non-Invasive Facelift’, HIFU stands for High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU). It is a non-invasive procedure that uses ultrasound waves to focus energy on the deep dermal layer and Superficial Muscular Aponeurotic System (SMAS) tissue of the skin.

This energy induces a controlled damage to the targeted skin cells, thereby prompting the body to repair them by producing collagen, which in turn brings about cell regrowth. This strengthens the skin’s elasticity and structure from within, thereby resulting in natural lifting and tightening of skin.

How is the procedure performed?

The treatment begins with application of a cooling, hydrating gel to the marked area to be treated. The doctor then sets the frequency of the ultrasound based on the intensity and extent of the concern. Thereafter, a probe is used to administer the ultrasound on the area to be treated. The session takes around 1 – 2 hours.

What results should I expect?

While results do vary greatly between individuals based on the exact area of face affected, the extent of the condition etc. the below benefits should be quite visible:

  • Reduction in sagging of skin on the face.
  • Lifting and firming of the face, neck or eyelid skin
  • Reduction of wrinkles
  • Overall skin tightness

Also please remember all this is achieved with

  • No needles
  • No Pain
  • No scars
  • No downtime

How soon can the results of HIFU be seen?

One requires approximately 6 – 8 weeks to see optimum results. For best results, the procedure can be repeated after 6 months. Personally I have observed patients achieve very good results after 2 to 3 sittings 6 months apart.

Does HIFU have worrisome side effects?

Since HIFU is a natural method for neocollagenosis, it is a safe process. Mild redness, bruising, or heaviness in the treatment area may occur right after the procedure, but the same subsides within 24 – 72 hours.

Modern medicine has come a long way and keeps evolving. Now more than ever it has become true that.. Age is just a number… That you choose.

The Personal Touch

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Whether it’s a detailed phone call supported with pictures or a video call, Dr. Sejal will bring her personal approach to each consultation, to ensure that your problem gets resolved in the best manner possible.

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Disclaimer:

This article is one in a series of articles on skin conditions by Dr. Sejal Saheta – MD, DNB -Dermatology and Venereology. The objective of this series is to educate the reader and help them take precautions against various skin conditions they come across on an everyday basis. These articles are not meant to be used by patients for self-diagnosis or for avoiding proper medical treatment. The images used in the above blog are only for visual representation purposes. Actual results may vary from patient to patient.