Microfocused ultrasound for skin tightening

Semin Cutan Med Surg. 2013 Mar;32(1):18-25.


The demand for noninvasive skin tightening procedures is increasing as patients seek safe and effective alternatives to aesthetic surgical procedures of the face, neck, and body. Over the past decade, radiofrequency and infrared laser devices have been popularized owing to their ability to deliver controlled heat to the dermis, stimulate neocollagenesis, and effect modest tissue tightening with minimal recovery. However, these less invasive approaches are historically associated with inferior efficacy so that surgery still remains the treatment of choice to address moderate to severe tissue laxity. Microfocused ultrasound was recently introduced as a novel energy modality for transcutaneous heat delivery that reaches the deeper subdermal connective tissue in tightly focused zones at consistent programmed depths. The goal is to produce a deeper wound healing response at multiple levels with robust collagen remodeling and a more durable clinical response. The Ulthera device (Ulthera, Inc, Meza, AZ), with refined microfocused ultrasound technology, has been adapted specifically for skin tightening and lifting with little recovery or risk of complications since its introduction in 2009. As clinical parameters are studied and optimized, enhanced efficacy and consistency of clinical improvement is expected.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cosmetic Techniques / instrumentation*
  • Equipment Design
  • High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound Ablation / methods*
  • Humans
  • Skin / pathology*
  • Skin Aging*