High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound(HIFU) – how it works, effects, cost, and more


What is HIFU treatment?

HIFU, abbreviated for High intensity focused ultrasound, is an aesthetic medical treatment that combats facial ageing. In addition, it can also be used to treat tumors and other diseases. Yet, it is primarily used to treat the anti-ageing effects of skin.

It is entirely a non-invasive treatment without the need for any surgery. This treatment works by heating the tissues at various depths to achieve desired results.

How does HIFU treatment work?

Ultrasound has primarily been used for diagnostic purposes. But with the evolution of technologies, it is now also being used for therapeutic applications.

In this treatment, heat is generated by focusing ultrasound on a particular area of the skin at various depths.

How does it work for the face?

With age, our facial skin loses its elasticity and firmness. One of the main reasons for this is the reduction in the formation of collagen.

Collagen is a form of protein, which is responsible for the firmness, elasticity and foundation of facial skin.

In this treatment, an ultrasound transducer is used to generate heat. It can be done by projecting high-intensity ultrasound waves at the targeted area.

Normally, heat is projected at the SMAS layer, which lies between facial muscles and the fat layer under the skin.

It is the layer, which a plastic surgeon would operate by lifting or tightening it using a knife. But with HIFU treatment, this can be done without a single scratch.

The heat applied to the skin boosts collagen production right at the source of the tissues. With more collagen, the skin will be much firmer and tighter than before.

HIFU treatment is popularly known as “Lunchtime Face-lift” as it is swift, painless and requires no downtime. People can get on with their daily routine right after the treatment.

Some of its applications are:

  • Tightening of facial and neck skin
  • Reduces and controls jowl formation
  • Lifting up drooping eyelids
  • Smoothing of face wrinkles
  • Reduces dark circles and eye bags
  • Reduces double chin

How does it work for other treatments?

HIFU treatment can also be used to treat other diseases and defects. Apart from the facelift, it is widely used to treat tumors. In such treatments, similar to the facelift, a high-energy ultrasound transducer is used to generate heat. This heat is focused over the targeted area of the body to destroy tumors. If necessary, this process can be repeated multiple times until the tumor is destroyed.

Unlike other treatments where radiation is used, it only uses heat to destroy tumors. Thus, it is harmless, painless and causes no severe side effects.

In the case of treating tumors, HIFU has the following benefits:

  • Non-surgical procedure
  • No risk of ionizing radiation
  • High precision

How HIFU treatment differs from Ultherapy?

Ultherapy is another aesthetic treatment that can be used for the facelift. Like HIFU treatment, Ultherapy treatment also works by stimulating collagen production by applying heat generated through ultrasound.

Although both treatments use similar techniques, the fundamental difference lies in the usage of different kinds of ultrasound beams.

Generally, aesthetic treatments use two types of ultrasound beams:

  • High intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) beams
  • Micro focused ultrasound(MFU) beams

Ultherapy treatment uses Micro focused ultrasound beams whereas, HIFU, as the name suggests, uses High intensity focused ultrasound beams. The pivotal difference between these two types of treatments is based on how the beam is projected.

In Ultherapy, microbeams are delivered in a focused manner. The projection of such beams will be pinpointed to the precise location of the body. On the other hand, in HIFU treatment, beams may not be as accurate as they are in Ultherapy. The beams may hit bones and other unwanted areas as well.

Another major difference between these techniques lies in imaging technology. In HIFU treatment, the practitioner cannot visually see the layers of skin while applying ultrasound beams.

Whereas, Ultherapy uses imaging technology that gives clear visualization about the layers of the skin. This allows them to precisely focus the ultrasound beams to the collagen-depleted regions of the skin.

What is the price of HIFU treatment in India?

The cost of HIFU treatment varies from one place to another. It also varies from person to person based on the laxity of the skin. However, the average price of HIFU treatment in India starts from Rs. 18,000/- and can go up to some lakhs based on intensity and repetition of the treatment.

What are its results before and after?

With HIFU treatment, one can witness younger and firmer skin than before. It also improves the elasticity of the skin.

The results can be seen within six months, if not immediately because collagen production takes some time. The changes will last for three to four years.

What are the side effects of HIFU?

Although it is widely popular, HIFU doesn’t come clean without any side effects. But most of them are mild ones and do not have permanent effects.

The following are the commonly observed side effects:

  • Swelling
  • Numbness of skin
  • Skin turning red
  • Mild rashes
  • Bruises


HIFU can be an effective way to combat the ageing of the skin. Being non-invasive, HIFU treatment has a greater advantage over other surgical procedures. This is well suited for those who look for painless and quick treatment.

However, this is not a one-time solution for all skin ageing issues. Persons with severe laxity may have to go through the treatment multiple times.

Still, there are plenty of studies that assure HIFU treatment as one of the most promising advances of medical science.

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