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Ultrasound: The New Gold Standard For Guiding Your Aesthetic Treatments

Posted January 29, 2024 in Clinical

Written by Dr. Gregory Buford, Dr. Paul Jarrod Frank, Dr. Holly Gunn, Joie Tavernise, LE, and more

As new technologies and innovations are released, aesthetic providers have more tools available that allow them to help their patients achieve desired results.  Along with improved technology, patients have more access to information about potential treatments, providers, and trends.  Offering personalized treatment options can keep practices ahead of the curve for savvy consumers who tend to prefer non-invasive treatments and those that require minimal downtime.  As providers begin incorporating ultrasound technology into their practices, benefits for both the business and the patient improve.  Providers can eliminate the guesswork and know they are accurately selecting appropriate settings and the patient’s optimal treatment depth, which will help achieve desired results and can better mitigate risks.  While radiofrequency microneedling has been a mainstay in aesthetic practices, depth settings have historically been guided by guesswork and suggested guidelines.  With the addition of ultrasound guidance, we now have evidence-based treatment depths to guide clinical outcomes. NewBeauty’s State of Aesthetics found that 85% of NewBeauty BeautyPass Members would be more interested in receiving minimally-invasive treatments, like Vivace Ultra™, with the addition of ultrasound guidance.”*  

Aesthetics Biomedical® launched the Vivace Ultra™ Uniform Radiofrequency Microneedling Device after FDA Clearance was achieved in October 2022.  This device offers industry-first ultrasound mapping and visualization combined with Uniform RF Technology for precise, personalized treatments that go beyond the surface.  This groundbreaking device combines two unique technologies into one personalized treatment, highlighting the movement towards graceful, healthy aging and skinimalism.  Vivace Ultra™ paves the way toward personalization, a leading aesthetic industry trend.  Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon, Dr. Gregory Buford, founder of Beauty by Buford, highlights: “Vivace Ultra™ is about taking existing technologies and getting better results, which is what aesthetic practitioners like myself are committed to every day.”  By offering industry-first ultrasound visualization with unmatched precision, Vivace Ultra™ is the most recognized radiofrequency microneedling experience emphasizing the importance of colorblind versatility and beyond-the-surface tailored treatment plans, personalized for each patient.

Vivace Ultra™ uses linear array ultrasound technology to visually map skin depths across its large interface, allowing users to develop a personalized treatment in each layer of the skin, delivering robust efficacious clinical results for patients. Building upon an already best-in-class device, Vivace Ultra™ has been developed alongside and backed by clinical and user feedback from top plastic surgeons, dermatologists, and medical aesthetic practitioners.  These measurements are stored in HIPAA-compliant cloud software that providers can access at all subsequent treatment appointments, reducing patient time in the chair and giving providers precise, patient-specific data to guide their treatment plans.  Founder of JTAV Clinical Skincare in New York City’s Upper East Side, Joie Tavernise, LE, highlights, “Our clients depend on our ability to provide fast, comfortable treatment with little to no downtime, and that attracts them as much as the results. It is exactly what they want. The device is so safe and easy to use that with the added visualization, we expect even greater outcomes and may double our ROI from this device. Vivace Ultra surpasses anything we have ever offered.”

Aesthetics Biomedical® Ambassador and Board-Certified Dermatologist, Dr. Holly Gunn, has been using the Vivace Ultra™ in her practice and notes, “We are excited about the Vivace Ultra™ device, which can be used on any area of the body that a patient wants to tighten, tone and contour. With the precise individualized settings from the ultrasound, patients are seeing great results.” 

Not all ultrasounds are equal.  Safe and efficacious treatments for all skin tones and textures separate Vivace Ultra™ from other devices on the market.  Providers should have confidence in the accuracy and reliability of the device they use.  Dr. Zoe Diana Draelos of Dermatology Consulting Services in High Point, NC studied and reported the consistency and reproducibility of the Vivace Ultra’s ultrasound Vision Handpiece.  This calibration scientific study confirms the accuracy of ultrasound measurements and the ability of the provider to incorporate this data into their customized treatment plans.  With reliable data, providers can leverage the data in their treatment plans and RF Microneedling treatment settings.

Ultrasound Algorithm:

  • Dr. Zoe Diana Draelos conducted a clinical study using Vivace Ultra™.  The study was to determine the calibration accuracy and the ability for the device to visualize three layers of skin.  Thirty (30) healthy individuals, male and female, eighteen (18) years or older were empaneled.  Five (5) subjects of each Fitzpatrick Skin type I-VI were included in the study.  The ultrasound scan examined thirty-one (31) anatomical parts of the body.  Measurements were taken at baseline and at week six (6).  Three measurements were taken at each site.  The overall results demonstrated highly reproducible and reliable images across a diverse human subject base.
    • The Vivace Ultra™ is meant for the visualization of the epidermis and dermis with depth measurements to translate for needle penetration.
    • The ultrasound software processes the image through an algorithm giving the image color and structure that is superior to the other ultrasound images (gray scale, too deep to effectively visualize the depth of the epidermis and dermis and would need training to interpret).
    • The ultrasound can visualize up to 8mm and is a linear array at 17MHz.

Ultrasound is also frequently used in aesthetic practices to increase the safety and accuracy of injections.  Katie Mann, DNP, FNP-C, Founder of Curated Medical in Scottsdale, AZ, frequently uses her ultrasound to safely guide injections. She notes, “When used for facial injections, ultrasound imaging is helpful in a few ways. In high-risk areas, we can visualize where your blood vessels are before treatment. We can also use ultrasound to confirm the placement of your filler.⁠” Mann finds that she most often will “use it to identify old filler if we’re dissolving so we can identify the amount, location, and depth of filler placed.⁠  Some filler can last for years, and in rare cases lead to nodules or an allergic-type reaction years later. The use of ultrasound allows us to see exactly where these fillers are and dissolve them. Ultrasound is also helpful in the event that a vascular occlusion were to occur.⁠”  Founder of SLK Clinic in Nashville, TN, Jennifer Stieber, NP, adds “With the new development of ultrasound visualization, we will be able to improve safety because we can better mitigate potential issues like downtime or PIH, plus this allows us to achieve superior outcomes because we will be able to deliver energy at optimal depths. The ultrasound handpiece can also be used to visualize blood vessels; for example, giving users the ability to confirm the path of the angular artery prior to nasolabial fold filler injections.”  While ultrasound guidance for aesthetic injections is rapidly gaining traction, other specialties benefit from incorporating this technique, such as ultrasound-guided joint injections with biologics like PRP and Prolo therapy.

A one-size-fits-all approach is not sufficient anymore.  Patients want customized treatment plans.  Ultrasound guidance, as the Vivace Ultra™ Vision Handpiece offers, allows providers to measure precise skin depth to ensure needle placement is at the correct depth to achieve ideal results.  Celebrity dermatologist, Dr. Paul Jarrod Frank of PFRANKMD states: “Ultimately, it is the patient outcome and experience that matters the most, and the Vivace Ultra™ delivers on those fronts.”  Frank also notes that “Vivace Ultra™ incorporates more personalization through a variety of modalities and needle set sizes that will deliver excellent results for the body.  This, combined with ultrasound visualization and photomapping will allow for me, as an aesthetic practitioner, to account for a variety of factors that affect skin quality and thickness between individuals such as age or anatomical location.  The ultrasound visualization allows us ideal accuracy and confidence, delivering further personalized treatments for superior outcomes.”  Previously, providers had to rely on general suggested guidelines and individual assessment without the verification ultrasound guidance provides.  Thanks to innovations like Vivace Ultra™, providers have the opportunity to offer truly personalized treatment to their patients that will enhance both safety and efficacy, which will become the gold standard in aesthetic practice.