Microfocused ultrasound (MFU) treatment to tighten and lift skin on the face and neck appeared to be safe for patients with darker skin types in a small study that resulted in only a few temporary adverse effects, according to a report published online by JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery.

Normal aging results in changes in the skin and underlying connective tissue. A system that uses MFU together with ultrasound visualization was developed to treat lax, aging skin. Previous clinical trials have shown the system to be a safe and effective noninvasive aesthetic treatment, according to the study background.

Monte O. Harris, M.D., of the Center for Aesthetic Modernism, Chevy Chase, Md., and Hema A. Sundaram, M.D., of Dermatology, Cosmetic & Laser Surgery in Rockville, Md., and Fairfax, Va., performed a nonrandomized trial in 52 patients to demonstrate the safety of MFU for improving laxity of the skin in adults with darker skin types (Fitzpatrick skin types III to VI). Of the 52 patients, 35 (67 percent) were black and all but one were women.

The authors report the treatment resulted in three adverse events, which all resolved after 90 days without complications. The events were mild edema (swelling) or welts and moderately severe prolonged erythema (reddening of the skin) with mild scabbing and were associated with treatment technique, according to the results.

“When performed by trained physicians, MFU is safe in patients with Fitzpatrick skin types III to VI,” the study concludes.