Microfocused Ultrasound Therapy

Microfocused ultrasound therapy (MFUT) is an energy-based device used to tighten skin and other soft tissues with minimal risk of adverse events, without invading or harming surrounding structures.1 Furthermore, this therapy is noninvasive and can be performed on an outpatient basis.

Studies have proven that this technology works to diminish sagging jowls and tighten up facial and neck areas while increasing skin elasticity.

This technology utilizes ultrasound waves converted to heat by an acoustic cavitation process and delivered directly into target tissues without harming other structures in its path, thus producing thermal coagulation zones (TCP) without impacting other areas in which focused ultrasound beam travels.2 This creates a tissue-specific response which leads to collagen deposition and neoelastogenesis with long-term benefits that last up to one year after treatment has ended.

This treatment method works to tighten the subdermal collagen matrix found within both the superficial muscular aponeurotic system (SMAS) layer and dermal layers, stimulating production of new skin cells while increasing fibroblast activity – both necessary factors in tightening skin and other soft tissue in an area being treated.3

As well as tightening skin, this method can also treat other soft tissue conditions, including neuropathic pain. The procedure employs high-frequency ultrasound with focused acoustic energy; when directed toward skin tissue this energy rebounds off its impedance to cause thermal injury and induce immediate collagen contraction with subsequent fibrosis and denaturation of surrounding fibrous connective tissues1.1

Complications may be uncommon but can still arise, particularly when performed incorrectly by an inexperienced clinician. Complications include skin burns, scarring and increased recovery time as a result of too much energy being delivered directly into tissue with high temperatures resulting or poor transducer coupling and stacking of energy pulses.

Ultrasound imaging can assist in the proper application of energy and evaluation for potential complications before, during, and after treatment. Real-time ultrasound analysis of dermal and subdermal layers enables clinicians to ensure that energy will reach only its intended destination without impacting adjacent structures; this helps avoid TCP formation in inappropriate tissues layers.

Utilizing ultrasound energy devices requires specific training and experience in using techniques and equipment specific to them.

An effective clinical protocol for HIFU treatment includes patient assessment, selection of the most suitable procedure and documentation of treatment. A pretreatment ultrasound scan with the probe should help visualize SMAS to ensure both 4-MHz 4.5 mm transducers reach it; this ensures optimal elastogenesis and neocollagenesis outcomes are realized from these treatments.