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

Authors Kerscher M, Nurrisyanti AT, Eiben-Nielson C, Hartmann S, Lambert-Baumann J

Received 25 September 2018

Accepted for publication 23 November 2018

Published 14 January 2019 Volume 2019:12 Pages 71—79

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/CCID.S188586

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Amy Norman

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Jeffrey Weinberg


Martina Kerscher,1 Arti Tania Nurrisyanti,1 Christine Eiben-Nielson,1 Susanne Hartmann,2 Judith Lambert-Baumann2

1University of Hamburg, Division of Cosmetic Sciences, Hamburg, Germany; 2Merz Pharmaceuticals, Frankfurt/Main, Germany

Purpose: 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. This observational evaluation was aimed to assess skin physiology before and after MFU-V treatment using noninvasive biophysical measurements.
Patients and methods: 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 and long-term effects up to 24 weeks after treatment. Skin temperature, transepidermal water loss, skin hydration, erythema, elasticity, and skin thickness and density were evaluated under standardized conditions. Pain was assessed using a validated numeric visual analog scale.
Results: Skin temperature remained in a physiologic range and no significant increase was noted at day 3 after MFU-V treatment. Transepidermal water loss, hydration, and erythema values were fairly stable and showed no significant differences at short- and long-term measurements vs baseline. At week 4 after a single MFU-V treatment, gross and net elasticity values were significantly decreased (P=0.003 and P=0.0001, respectively), followed by significantly increased values at week 12 (P=0.015, P=0.046) and week 24 (P=0.001, P=0.049). Edema due to MFU-V treatment resolved without sequelae. For all patients, pain diminished shortly after treatment. No adverse events occurred during the 24-week follow-up period.
Conclusions: 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 at 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.

Keywords: skin lifting, tightening, neocollagenesis, epidermal barrier, elasticity, energy-based device

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