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Ultherapy or HIFU Treatment for Facelift?

Are you considering going under the knife for a facelift?

Or perhaps it’s the high costs of surgical facelifts that are scaring you away from getting your skin fixed. That is precisely why dermatologists and doctors rely on non invasive treatments such as Ultherapy, or Korean HIFU to lift and rejuvenate the face without the downtime of surgical facelifts.

Conventional facelifts that involve surgery come with the attendant problems of pain, long downtime, and high cost. Comparatively, non invasive treatments like Ultherapy and HIFU are effective in countering the signs of ageing.

Is HIFU or Ultherapy the Best Non-Invasive Facelift?

While both the treatments are effective anti ageing treatments, there are the pro-Ultherapy and Korean HIFU diehards. With so much information and opinion online, how do we decide which is the best non-surgical facelift?

Even as the debate rages on the best non-surgical face lifting treatment, Singapore has access to, Dr Chiam Chiak Teng from the Ensoul Medical Centre, clarifies that both these treatments essentially operate on the same principle. Each treatment has its strengths and weaknesses. Therefore, consult with an experienced doctor who can leverage to best effect. The choice of treatment ultimately depends on factors such as, the patient’s age, genetic make-up, and extent of skin damage. Hence, always seek professional medical advised from your trusted aesthetic doctor before making a decision.

a girl getting the HIFU treatment

Ultrasound Energy

The treatment, whether Ultherapy or HIFU, involves the use of focused ultrasound energy on the deeper layers of the skin. The energy waves target the collagen in the dermis and the superficial musculoaponeurotic system (SMAS), which is a layer of tissue, lying deep within the skin and subcutaneous tissue. It is one of the most important support structures for the face. The manipulation of this anatomic structure changes the appearance of the face.

How Does Ultrasound Work?

The ultrasound energy causes rapid heating of the tissues, which in turn induces controlled heat injury once the targeted skin area attains a pre-defined temperature. Thereafter, in a bid to heal themselves, the tissue begins to produce collagen – the crucial protein that gives body and volume to the skin. With more collagen making its way into its layers, the skin tone firms up, and wrinkles also diminish significantly.

HIFU and Ultherapy delivers ultrasound energy beneath the skin surface. As a result it does not damage superficial skin surface.

HIFU vs Ultherapy: Ultherapy Explained

Ultherapy is a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved, non-surgical facelift treatment. It uses micro-focused ultrasound with patented real-time visualization (MFU-V) technology to allow aesthetic practitioners to precisely see the where the layers of skin are being targeted. The technology can treat the skin layers at depths of 1.5mm, 3.0mm, and 4.5mm, targeting the dermis and the SMAS layer - just like HIFU treatment does. A normal procedure usually takes between 30 and 90 minutes, to complete, depending on the areas. With no incisions required to be made, there is no need for general anesthesia to be applied before the procedure. Ultherapy procedures are relatively comfortable and has no downtime. You can resume to your daily activities without any special post-treatment measures.

    • Advantages

      Ultherapy machines provides live ultrasound images of the treatment area. This facility allows doctors to track the rays and ensure that the skin treatment areas are on target. This means that the exact skin layer is clearly identified and targeted accurately by every shot of laser that is released during the treatment. These precision levels give outstanding facial lifting and sculpting results.

    • Disadvantages

      Ultherapy gives the illusion of fat loss, because the facial fats get increasingly constricted as the skin layers are tightened.  As a result, in patients with significant volume loss in their face due to aging, the illusion of more sagging is created.

    • Suitability 

      Ultherapy is usually recommended for people having more bulk in their cheeks and jowls. It is also considered for patients that are keen on facial sculpting, in addition to face-lifting. The treatment is also preferred by patients on the lookout for longer-lasting results coupled with minimal maintenance in between.

HIFU vs Ultherapy: HIFU Treatment Explained

HIFU is the abbreviation of High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound. In 2008, its application in cosmetic  treatments, was first reported from the US.

HIFU treatment is routinely used for face-lift and skin rejuvenation. The treatment basically uses ultrasound energy to target the required areas of the face, to boost collagen production and thus firm up the skin tone significantly.

The aesthetic benefits of HIFU treatment range from wrinkle reduction, improving the jawline definition, smoothing the skin, lifting the eyelids, eyebrows, cheeks, and neck areas. It is a safe and non-invasive procedure that effectively tightens the facial skin. Furthermore, HIFU treatment has zero to no downtime.

image of hifu treatment
  • Advantages

    Modern Korean HIFUs are less painful to administer. Usually requiring only a few oral pain killers. The newer HIFUs allow us to use specific modes that have no effect on fat loss. So that we do not further reduce the volume in the face.

  • Disadvantages

    Korean HIFUS does not allow live ultrasound images to be produced during the treatment. This means that the precision of the procedure is largely dependent on the doctor’s experience and expertise. HIFU may require more than one session, depending on your desired result.

  • Suitability

    HIFU works for patients with significant loss in facial volume. At the same time,  it is also suitable for patients with low pain thresholds. It is suitable for patients suffering from mild to medium skin laxity.

Putting the lid on the Ultherapy Vs Korean HIFU - Which Non Surgical Face Lift is Better? controversy, Dr Chiam Chiak Teng, at the Ensoul Medical Centre explains, both Ultherapy and HIFU treatments have a few inherent strengths and weaknesses. Hence, the most suitable treatment is best decided by an experienced doctor after a detailed assessment. Now that you have a broad idea of HIFU vs Ultherapy treatments, it's time to find out which one is appropriate for you. Fix up an appointment today and walk in to the Ensoul Medical Centre, for a proper discussion on non-surgical facelifts and skin rejuvenation. Remember, you owe it to your face!

HIFU vs Ultherapy: Comparison




  • Micro-focused Ultrasound
  • High Intensity Focused Ultrasound


  • Penetrate deep into the muscle tissues. Treatment targets at 1.5mm, 3mm and 4.5mm depth of the skin layer.
  • Targets the dermis and connective tissues to stimulate collagen production


  • Relatively painful as it targets the muscle tissues. 
  • Relatively comfortable


  • Real-time Ultrasound imaging enables doctors to track depth of treatment
  • No fat loss. Therefore treatment does not cause further volume loss.


  • Ultherapy's result can last up to 1 year. So, treatment only needs to be done once a year.
  • HIFU treatment result can last up to 1 year. Hence, treatment is done every 5-6 months.


  • Slightly more expensive than HIFU
  • Affordable