The Ultimate Guide to HIFU Treatment in Singapore (2020)

Although not everyone experiences pigmentation or acne throughout their lives, sagging skin is an inevitability. Since it can happen to everyone, it is useful to understand more about facial sagging even if it does not bother you at the moment. The increasing demand to tighten and lift sagging skin has caused many devices and many different technologies to surface.

My experience as an aesthetic doctor says that many devices are based more on hype and myth rather than reality. I have written this guide to help you find the best HIFU treatment in Singapore.

I have included the different brands of HIFU treatments, benefits, side effects, up to the cost for each HIFU treatments. I hope this article can help you decide which treatment suits you!

What is HIFU?

HIFU stands for high-intensity focused ultrasound and is an advanced medical technology that uses focused sound waves to treat medical and cosmetic problems in tissues.

It is special because it can be directed at deep layers of tissue without harming the surface, hence it does not require a cut in the skin, and it is a completely non-invasive treatment. 

The first HIFU treatments were developed to treat tumour growths in the body (benign and cancerous). Today, HIFU is a popular medical aesthetic treatment for its ability to tighten different skin layers non-invasively. [1]

What are the different brands of HIFU in Singapore?

HIFU further splits into micro and macro focused technology. [2]

  • Macro-focused HIFU is usually used for the removal of unwanted fat tissue.
  • Micro-focused only damages or removes very small columns of skin tissues, with the main purpose of contracting the target layers and stimulating collagen.

However, some brands only have either technology, hence limiting its application.


Type of HIFU






Face lifting

  • Established and reliable brand
  • Efficacious and precise
  • Limited depths of application
  • Expensive for doctors and consumers
  • The white elephant imaging system is rarely used by doctors during treatment because it would require a repetitive head movement for hundreds of times.


Both micro and macro-focused

Face lifting

Face slimming

Body slimming and tightening

  • Most number of applicator depths 
  • Fastest yet precise HIFU that minimises pain
  • Less brand or marketing support
  • More expensive than other options



Body slimming and tightening

  • Good for body slimming
  • Efficient and efficacious
  • Can be very painful and intolerable


What are the benefits of a HIFU treatment?


HIFU aesthetic treatments can tighten skin at different layers without harming the surface skin. 

This can be very useful for treating facial sagging, which can occur at MANY layers from the deep retaining ligaments to the retinacular fibres within fat compartments and skin. 

Sagging is more than just skin deep and this diagram shows the different layers where the loss of collagen and sagging can occur. 

Additionally, the renewal of multiple tissue layers can lead to a rejuvenating effect on the skin. This is a result of the stimulation of growth factors in the deeper skin layers, resulting in collagen growth and overall skin rejuvenation. Patients often comment that their complexion improves and pigmentation appears clearer (even though this is not the main intended effect). [3]

How does a HIFU treatment work?

Special ultrasound transducers direct the ultrasound energy to a small focal point where high temperatures causes tissue coagulation. Similar to medical imaging, the focused beam of ultrasound energy can be made to pass harmlessly through the skin. This allows the focal point to target deeper tissues, such as the fat or muscle layers, where protein around the focal point will reach over 65°C and lose their structure (be denatured) almost instantly. By targeting highly focused ultrasound energy in different depths within dermal and subdermal tissues, HIFU causes discrete thermal coagulation points while sparing adjacent non-target tissues. The tightening of different depths allows the stiffening of different saggy tissues, from saggy ligaments to pendulous fat areas, all the way up to skin laxity and wrinkles. [4]

This video illustrates how it works.


How is HIFU different from other non-surgical skin tightening procedures?

With HIFU, your doctor can tighten your skin at specific depths, regardless of skin type or colour. 

Let’s take radiofrequency and laser skin tightening for comparisons with HIFU. Unlike HIFU, radiofrequency skin tightening is very dependent on each individual’s skin impedance (which varies greatly), while laser skin tightening is dependent on the skin type or colour of the individual, depending on the laser used. [5][6]

Even though HIFU aesthetic treatments have seemed mild immediately after treatment, the long term results are visibly noticeable when used appropriately.

How long does it take to see results from treatment?

There are mild results right away after a treatment (mostly from immediate mild swelling and tightening). The full effect can be seen after 2 to 3 months due to the time the collagen fibres take to mature. [7]

Some long term results that are noticeable include:

  • Firmer skin and less sagginess
  • Smoother face contours
  • Lesser wrinkles and pores
  • Brighter skin

How long do the results of HIFU last?

The results from a properly done HIFU treatment can last for years, but not indefinitely. 

Gravity and the aging process will ultimately reverse the benefits of HIFU, but the collagen synthesised from your own body persists for years even after a single treatment. Moreover, patients who usually go for yearly treatment can upkeep and further improve results.

Is HIFU safe?

HIFU aesthetic devices are considered medical equipment and should only be used at licensed medical centres. There is a broad and inexhaustible range of brands due to the wide interest generated around HIFU treatments, so not all HIFU treatments offer the same safety or efficacy. In general, inappropriate use and poor techniques account for most of the side effects. The cases I witnessed in my career with severe side effects after HIFU treatment come from top branded equipment. 

What are the side effects of HIFU?

Even though it is considered a safe treatment due to the precise placement of energy, there can be 2 types of side effects, expected or unexpected:

  • Expected risks include:
    • Mild discomfort during and after the treatment (most common).
    • Mild swelling, especially after aggressive treatment.
    • Rarely, mild bruising can occur.
    • Mild skin irritation and redness right after treatment may occur, especially when using more surface transducers (1.5mm or 2mm). This usually disappears after a few hours.
  • Unexpected risks and rare side effects can happen from poor technique or placement:
    • Striated patterned “embossing” or swelling on the skin surface from poor contact of the transducer on the skin and poor technique.
    • Muscle weakness and skin numbness with major nerve damage from a poor understanding of proper anatomy and placement of transducers.
    • Fat loss and facial sunkenness, usually from excessive treatment at the wrong depth.

How much does it cost for a HIFU treatment in Singapore?

Cost mostly depends on three factors

  • Brand. For example, Ultherapy charges more than 10x the price of consumables from other branded HIFU treatments - this cost is passed on to consumers.
  • Treatment time, larger areas require more time and are more expensive.
  • Expertise and experience of the doctor.

HIFU for smaller areas can start from less than SGD 500 (usually what you see on advertising promos), all the way up to SGD >6000 for larger areas.

Beware of “mini-HIFUs” that either try to upsell you with cross services or persuade you to repeat a small HIFU treatment regularly. “Mini-HIFUs” rarely reach the baseline intensity needed for an effective treatment.

How many HIFU sessions do I need?

It depends on which HIFU machine your doctor uses. Generally, treatments require you to come in only once every 6-12 months. If your doctor says you need to come in for treatment more frequently, ask them why and what machine they use so that you can research the equipment yourself.

Where can I go for HIFU treatments?

You can go for HIFU treatments from doctors, who uphold the gold standard for such treatments. You may have heard of certain spas providing ‘HIFU’ too. [8] These spas are not medically trained and there is no guarantee that your beautician will understand safety procedures nor techniques. These spas may also ask you to come in for treatment once every month or every fortnight. HIFU is a strong treatment and you should only go for treatment generally once every 6-12 months.

Am I suitable for HIFU?

A good selection is extremely important for the best results because not everyone is suitable for HIFU. HIFU is usually suitable for almost everyone with facial sagging, but it is less suitable for those with either:

  • A lot of volume loss. Fillers or other collagen stimulators are more useful.
  • Too much sagging or individuals with extremely damaged skin. The repair process is slow or insufficient to make much of a difference. [9]

How do I get the best results from HIFU?

It is very important to get a detailed clinical consultant to determine your problem and the various treatment options. A clinic that has various treatment options is more likely to give you an unbiased opinion of how HIFU can work for you. Therefore, you have to make sure:

  • You find a doctor who is patient and knowledgeable in explaining the various options and who knows how to say NO to you when it’s unsafe or unnecessary.
  • To look for someone experienced with many patients under his/her belt and with credible before and after case studies to show you.
  • Be open to other treatment options if they are necessary to manage your particular concern. For example, some medical problems only require 1 type of medicine, whereas different diseases may require more than 1 type of medication or even other medical interventions. You probably won’t reject another medication type if your doctor told you it was necessary for your treatment, so be open to different treatment options if you’re looking for a proper medical solution!

When can I see results and how long do they last?

You will generally see results from your HIFU treatment after 2-3 months. As HIFU stimulates collagen production, how long the results last depends on your body.


Dr. Chua Cheng Yu teaching at a regional Ultraformer 3 training session

There are multiple methods for facelifting, both surgical and non-surgical. HIFU remains an extremely useful tool in non-surgical facelifts and has stood the test of time, holding ground despite rapid medical advancements.

However, take note that many other treatments offer a different dimension of the non-invasive face lifting with new exciting options such as:

  • LDM-Med which uses another type of ultrasound (HFUS) to provide cell massage and a completely regenerative way of generating collagen.
  • Ultra-long pulse lasers such as the Fotona PIANO which can reach as far as bone deep on the face (who says lasers can only be used on the skin surface for texture and complexion??).
  • Mucosal lasers can tighten and plump up the skin. Mucosal lasers are used inside the mouth or the eyelids, uniquely developed by Fotona (SMOOTH).

These options can be complementary depending on the individual's skin type and the biggest concern.

Injectable collagen stimulators are also a frequent complement with HIFU treatments (since HIFU treatments cannot replace lost volume) - studies have shown that these injectables are especially synergistic with HIFU since they target different aspects of a facelift treatment, so be open to injectables if you want optimal results! They are not a must, but they can be very helpful in some cases. [10]

If you are still unsure of which treatments to choose, I would suggest you consult your trusted doctor.

Dr. Chua Cheng Yu (Veritas Medical Aesthetics) is a frequent trainer at medical seminars. He often shares his knowledge on multiple aesthetic technologies, including the Ultraformer HIFU and Teosyal fillers. Besides that, his clinic mirrors his philosophy of functional aesthetics: holistic health and beauty. Also, in his spare time, he plays the piano, dabbles with amateur photography, and maintains a personal blog.



1. Zhou Y-F. High intensity focused ultrasound in clinical tumor ablation. World Journal of Clinical Oncology. 2011; 2(1): 8.

2. Shome D, Vadera S, Ram MS, Khare S, Kapoor R. Use of Micro-focused Ultrasound for Skin Tightening of Mid and Lower Face. Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. 2019; 7(12): 1-7.

  • Written
  • Updated
  • Viewed372 times
Medically reviewed by Dr Cheng Yu Chua on 13/02/2020.
Read This Next
Filler Lifts Vs Threadlifts In Singapore: Cost And Comparison (2020)

Lunchtime rejuvenation procedures are fast gaining popularity amongst Singaporeans in recent years. These procedures are dubbed as "lunchtime procedures" because they take very little time to perform and do not have any recovery period.

Most of the time, you will be able to see improvements in just a short period of time and return to your daily routine immediately.

I often get patients asking me if a filler lift or a threadlift is better. In my opinion, both are good and effective if done properly and for the correct indications. In some cases, one or the other may be more preferable.

Therefore, I have decided to write this article to help those of you who are keen on getting fillers or thread lifts to improve the signs of ageing. In this post, I will explain in detail the differences and how to choose the most suitable one for yourself. 

Botox VS Dermal Fillers: All You Need To Know About The 2 Alternatives To Non-surgical Facelifts

Over the years, people have known Botox and dermal fillers as relatively simple solutions to improve features as well as to attain desirable facial aesthetics. While both are given through injections and are minimally invasive, they do have their fair share of differences. I hope that through this article, it will help you to understand more about these two treatments.

The Complete Guide to Anti-Ageing Treatments in Singapore (2020)

As we get older, our skin loses its elasticity. Exposure with UV rays speeds up the ageing process. In order to have healthy and nourished looking skin, supplementary treatments have become a necessity. There is now a wide variety of treatments available for you to try. These range from creams and non-invasive facial treatments, to highly invasive surgical procedures. 

In the course of my career as an aesthetic doctor for over 10 years, I have done countless anti-ageing treatments. Therefore, I will explain all you need to know about ageing skin- from the symptoms, skin treatments that delay the ageing process, the do’s and don'ts, as well as the cost of the treatments and procedures that you might be interested in trying. 

Dermal Fillers in Singapore: The Tell-All Guide by An Aesthetic Doctor (2020)

Dermal filler has become a staple in medical aesthetic clinics; it is no longer a novelty for people to have filler injected to refresh their looks or enhance their facial features. What kinds of dermal fillers are there? How much do they cost? What are their side effects? Let me guide you through finding the right Dermal Filler for you.

The Ultimate Guide to Thermage vs Ultherapy vs HIFU in Singapore (2020)

Who does not want youthful and beautiful skin? This idea has led to the beauty industry delivering a wide variety of aesthetic treatments to help make these fantasies a reality.

In the past, cosmetic improvements often require intensive, intrusive surgery with lengthy periods of recovery. Today, there are alternatives if you do not want to undergo invasive surgery

Through this article, I will share you the comparison between treatments like:

  • Thermage
  • Ultherapy
  • HIFU

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other answers tagged Acne & Scars, Aesthetic Medicine, Skin, Hair & Nails or ask your own question now FOR FREE.

Request Quotes From Doctors

Based on your requirements, we will recommend up to 5 expert medical doctors.

Get Treatment Quotes
Related Questions
Thanks for question. It does sound like you are having some jawline acne.  I do see this very often in women and this is usually related to hormonal factors.  The acne breakout commonly occurs around the mouth and on the jawline areas. ... Read Full Answer
With regards to your questions: 1) Acne scars There are different types of acne scars and most of the time, patients often have a combination of scars. A consultation / examination is key in determining the type of scars that you have and the ... Read Full Answer
I agree with Dr Ethan that this is likely to be eczema affecting the eyelids from the desciption but do see your dermatologist to confirm this. Mild steroidal creams or non steroidal creams like elidel or protopic can help to settle the eczema. ... Read Full Answer
Rejuran is a brand of polynucleotides (PN) which are injected in a similar technique to skin boosters. Polynucleotides have been shown in multiple clinical studies to have medical benefits ranging from improvement of hair loss to wound ... Read Full Answer
First of all, rest assured that many other ladies identify with you, thanks to the multitude of "v-shape" face advertisements. Your face is like a ‘layered cake’. Simplified from outside to inside, the layers are: Skin  Fat ... Read Full Answer
PIE from previous acne can be treated by a wide range of lasers. This very recent review paper (Light-based devices in the treatment of cutaneous vascularlesions: An updated review) shows a compilation of more than 50 clinical papers of the ... Read Full Answer
Although most patient's redness resolves 1-2 weeks after Fractional CO2 laser, it is not uncommon for the face to continue to be red or flushed up to a month after Fractional CO2 treatment. I note that subcision was also done and PRP was used. As ... Read Full Answer
  Great question. The sequence of aesthetic treatments are important since multi-modality treatments are a norm these days. Because of HA filler injections used, I generally wait for 3-4 weeks later, before proceeding with HIFU treatment. ... Read Full Answer

"Dedicated to the ethical practice of Aesthetic Medicine"

Hi, Generally, post-acne PIH will fade on its own after several months. The key is to control the active acne as continued active acne causes more new blemishes and scarring. Check out the Acne section for details of the various acne medications ... Read Full Answer
Myalgia or muscle pain is a common complaint. Unusually excessive exertion, trauma, and viral infections are among the most common causes. While many causes are benign and self-limiting, myalgia can also be associated with significant morbidity. ... Read Full Answer