For decades ultrasound has been used as a diagnostic tool to help determine size, shape, and consistency of various internal structures. It has also been used for monitoring pregnancies, and with varying success to break kidney stones. However, using ultrasound for cosmetic procedures is a new and very exciting development.
The history of this exciting new development began over 14 years ago after a partnership between both Ulthera and Johnson & Johnson, to develop micro-focus ultrasound for non-invasive treatment for liver cancer. In 2004 Ulthera was established to further develop the technology for the aesthetic space and after two years of extensive pre-clinical research, Ulthera conducted 3 clinical studies to evaluate safety and efficacy of the technology. One of the studies, an efficacy study at North-western University in 2007, demonstrated a clinically significant brow lift and 89% of the patients treated and led to Ulthera’s first FDA indication.
They are without a doubt, the leading innovators of ultrasound technology for medical and aesthetic applications. After several years of pre-clinical evaluation of clinical studies, Ulthera received the first FDA (food and drug administration) clearance for a non-invasive lift indication in 2009, they approved the ultrasound device called the Ulthera Ultrasound system, designed for skin tightening treatment of the face. In 2012, the system received an FDA indication for visualization of dermal and submental tissue layers.
Most recently, the system received its 4th FDA indication of June 2014 for improvement of lines and wrinkles on the décollete. Since then, they’ve grown quickly with over 450,000 commercial procedures profound worldwide.
Diagram 1 is of younger skin and ageing skin, showing the decrease in collagen and broken elastin in the older skin.
Diagram 2 highlights that HIFU treatments reach the same depths that surgeons operate to.