Wrinkles, droopy cheeks and loose neck skin are problems we face as we grow older. Often, I have patients that ask me what the best treatment is to achieve youthful looking skin.
In Singapore, Ultherapy treatment has been appealing to many people here. Through this article, I will share with you four main points about Ultherapy in Singapore:
- What to expect from an Ultherapy treatment
- How much Ultherapy costs in Singapore and the factors that affect the price
- What a good candidate for Ultherapy looks like
- The differences between Ultherapy and other HIFUs
What are the benefits of Ultherapy?
There are four main reasons as to why Ultherapy is so popular in Singapore.
1. Ultherapy is safe
Ultherapy is the only non-invasive treatment approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for lifting the skin .
It uses focused ultrasound energy to trigger your body into producing collagen which helps to tone, lift and tighten sagging skin.
2. Ultherapy is effective
Ultherapy can tighten skin with good results around the :
- Upper neck area
- Eye bag area
3. Ultherapy is non-invasive
Ultherapy does not involve the use of any surgical knives. There is no downtime after Ultherapy. After a session, you will be free to head back to work, pick up your children or go out to dinner.
4. Ultherapy is precise
Ultherapy is the only treatment with an advanced ultrasound imaging system.
With the Ulthera device, your doctor can see beneath your skin. This helps your doctor to accurately deliver the ultrasound energy to the precise layers under your skin and kick start the collagen building process.
This ensures a high accuracy with minimal risk during the treatment process.
How does Ultherapy work?
The subcutaneous musculo-aponeurotic system (SMAS) layer is located under the skin. It provides an ‘anchoring’ support for the skin. This SMAS layer is rich in collagen and elastin. The amount of collagen and elastin we have gradually reduces as we age. This results in a loss of strength which in turn, makes our skin sag.
In a surgical facelift, plastic surgeons tighten this layer to achieve a desired lift in a facelift operation.
With the Ulthera device, your doctor is able to target this layer without making any incisions into the skin. Ultherapy uses micro-focused ultrasound energy to create a thermal effect at the SMAS layer which helps to jumpstart the process that produces fresh, new collagen under the skin.
This process develops over a period of 90 days. It has been shown that the tightening process continues even after that period.
Ultherapy is precise. It is able to deliver energy accurately to where it is needed under your skin. It can be delivered to 1.5 mm, 3.0 mm and 4.5 mm under the skin. This is assisted with the use of transducer.
What are patients surprised to find out about Ultherapy?
One thing that surprises many patients is that they are able to combine other treatments with Ultherapy. The results of a combination of treatments is substantial. For example, a patient is able to combine an under eye thread lift with Ultherapy. The patient would be able to see a considerable lifting effect as opposed to just going for an Ultherapy treatment.
Patients who use Xeomin, Dysport or Botox to lift the skin can also consider combining their treatment with Ultherapy that targets the brow and forehead. Combining these treatments offer a longer lasting result.
How much does it cost to have an Ultherapy treatment in Singapore?
The cost varies depending on the area and severity of the area that needs to be treated.
If you only need treatment of the upper face such as the forehead, brows and eye area, it may cost around $640. If you need treatment on your cheeks, it would cost you much more as the area is much bigger. It may cost you $2,000 for a cheek treatment.
A full-face Ultherapy treatment in Singapore would range around $2,000 to $6,000. Generally, the treatment would take around 800 shot and about 90 minutes to complete.
Keep in mind that these are just a guide. Ultherapy treatments are very personalised. It is recommended that you go to your trusted clinic and discuss with you doctor on your treatment and the cost.
It is important to note that the results of the treatment is directly affected by the number of shots delivered. When a clinic proposes a full-face Ultherapy treatment, be sure to ask the areas to be covered and for the number of shots to be delivered. Giving you a free neck treatment without actually increasing the number of shots may not necessarily be a ‘good deal’. You may not end up achieving the expected results for both areas.
What happens during an Ultherapy treatment session?
Your doctor would first apply numbing cream to the treatment area before starting the treatment. This ensures that you would be more comfortable during the procedure. The cream will take around 20 minutes to come into effect.
After that, your doctor will wash off the numbing cream and apply a gel to your face. This gel allows the transducer to have good contact with your face. Your doctor will then perform an ultrasound imaging of the treated area. This is to ensure that the ultrasound energy is deposited to where it should be the most beneficial to you.
The duration of the treatment depends on the area thats being treated. A full-face and upper neck treatment lasts around 60-90 minutes whereas an undereye treatment takes around 30 minutes.
Is Ultherapy painful?
While I cannot say this is a painless procedure, most people find that the sensation is more bearable when the appropriate measures are taken. These can include applying numbing cream to the treatment area as well as taking prescribed oral medication . Some of my patients have also found that the use of a vibrator to 'distract' them during the procedure is helpful.
What can I expect after Ultherapy treatment?
Some redness and swelling are commonly noticed after a treatment. These effects are normal and usually fade within a few hours. Tenderness is also normal. However, the sensation will usually last for a few weeks .
The ‘aching’ feeling you get tells you that your skin is responding to the treatment. You should be able to see results within three months.
Will I need to take time off after Ultherapy treatment?
Fortunately, you won’t need to take a break from work. You can resume your daily life immediately after the treatment. Ultherapy does not include surgical cuts. It uses ultrasound energy to lift up the saggy skin and tighten it. It is so convenient that you can even do it during your lunch time on your working day!
What are the risks of Ultherapy treatment?
Ultherapy has been proven to be a safe treatment to lift the skin. What distinguishes it from any other high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) is that Ultherapy has a real-time visualisation during the procedure. It allows doctors to avoid big blood vessels and thus, avoid bruising. As such, it is proven to be safe for lifting the skin. In rare cases, ptosis may occur. This is caused by damage to the nerve which then leads to temporary function loss to the related muscles. However, this can be avoided by following the recommended safety protocol.
What are the differences between HIFU and Ultherapy?
Ultherapy is the only HIFU that is FDA-approved for lifting skin. It is also known as MFUV. It has real-time visualisation which is done immediately before treatment. This allows the ultrasound energy to be safely delivered to the desired depth.
There are other brands that are reputable derivatives of HIFU (e.g. Ultraformer). They are usually from Korea and are proven to be safe with good clinical studies. With that said, there are also unbranded and unlicensed HIFU systems being used in Singapore. They are mostly found in beauty salons. These HIFU systems are mainly made in China and have no clinical studies to prove their efficacy and safety.
How long does it take to see the results of Ultherapy?
After your treatment, you will notice an instant lift on your face along with a slight tight feeling. This may be due to immediate swelling. You will notice over the next 90 days that your skin appears to be more lifted and tighter as collagen is being produced.
Here are the effects that you will see on your face:
- Less sinking on your face
- Fewer wrinkles
- Less saggines
- Smaller pores
Is Ultherapy the best treatment for skin tightening compared to other facelift methods?
Ultherapy is listed as one of the best treatments for skin tightening. It is suitable for people who are not fit for a surgical facelift.
Laser skin rejuvenation
This treatment improves on the complexion and texture of the skin. Ultherapy, on the other hand, focuses on reaching deeper into the skin layer to produce more collagen.
Dermal fillers only add volume to the hollowness in the sunken part of the face. They do not tighten your skin. If you want to add volume to your face as well as tighten your skin, it is possible to combine these treatment methods to get your preferred skin.
Ultimately, choosing a treatment method depends on your underlying problem, expectations, budget, and preferences. These treatment methods can be combined and are able to complement each other. Some of my patients have combined a few of them to achieve their skin goals.
How long do the results of Ultherapy last?
As said, results will show after 3 months. It takes time for your body to produce the new collagen that will help lift the skin. With just one session, Ultherapy can give a long-lasting result. It still depends on the individual as we have a natural ageing process, which defies on how long the face lifting lasts.
It is recommended to go for yearly treatments to go along with our body’s natural ageing process to keep a youthful look.
Why is it important that Ultherapy is an FDA-cleared treatment?
It is important to us as FDA-cleared reassures us that the treatment is safe and effective. This applies to doctors as well. It allows them to know that its benefits can outweigh the potential risks.
How can I find the best doctor for Ultherapy in Singapore?
Finding the best doctor is one thing. But finding a doctor that cares for his patient is also another important factor. Here are some qualities that a doctor should possess:
- Attentive to his patients and gives an unbiased consultation
- Does not hard-sell and is honest in the pricing
- Is medically qualified
- Shows his or her previous works to see if their aesthetic senses attract you
It is best to consult several doctors until you find one that you are most comfortable with.
Dr. Sau Po Yi is an Aesthetic Doctor with Sozo Aesthetic Clinic. She joined the field of aesthetic medicine because she believes she can be a real patient advocate. She is awarded by the Singapore Medical Council with Certificates of Competence in multiple aesthetic programs.
Read more of Dr Sau Po Yi's QnA here.
Would you like to ask any related health questions?
1. AZBio. Ulthera Receives First-Ever FDA Clearance for Non-invasive Lift of Skin on the Neck and Under the Chin – AZBio. Azbio.org.
2. Guillen Fabi S. Noninvasive skin tightening: focus on new ultrasound techniques. Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology.
3. Werschler WP, Werschler PS. Long-term Efficacy of Micro-focused Ultrasound with Visualization for Lifting and Tightening Lax Facial and Neck Skin Using a Customized Vectoring Treatment Method. The Journal of clinical and aesthetic dermatology.
4. Hitchcock TM, Dobke MK. Review of the safety profile for microfocused ultrasound with visualization. Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology.