Skin physiology and safety of microfocused ultrasound with visualization for improving skin laxity

Martina Kerscher
University of Hamburg, Division of Cosmetic Sciences, Hamburg, Germany

The efficacy of microfocused ultrasound with visualization (MFU-V; Ultherapy®) has been demonstrated in clinical studies and daily practice. However, data addressing skin physiology after MFU-V treatment are lacking. Therefore, this observational evaluation aimed to assess skin physiology before and after MFU-V treatment using non-invasive biophysical measurements.

Twenty-two female patients with moderate-to-severe skin sagging at the jawline and submental region on the Merz Aesthetics Scale obtained a single MFU-V treatment according to protocol. Skin function measurements focused on short-term effects up to 3 days as well as long-term effects up to 24 weeks after treatment. Skin temperature, transepidermal water loss (TEWL), skin hydration, erythema, elasticity and skin thickness and density were evaluated under standardized conditions. Pain was assessed using a validated numeric visual analog scale. 

Skin temperature remained in a physiologic range and no significant increase was noted at day 3 after MFU-V treatment. TEWL, hydration and erythema values were fairly stable and showed no significant differences at short- and long-term measurements versus baseline while gross and net elasticity significantly increased at week 12 and 24. No adverse events occurred during the 24 week follow-up period.MFU-V treatment is well-tolerated and it does not alter the epidermal barrier function or physiology of skin. Significant increase in the elasticity of skin was observed 12 and 24 weeks after a single treatment, which reflects improvement in dermal tissue function. These short- and long-term effects are congruous with the mode of action of MFU-V due to a proven intrinsic tissue remodeling process.