Though commonly associated with pregnancy and medical diagnosis, ultrasound imaging is moving into the aesthetics space, with the potential to provide cosmetic doctors and plastic surgeons with a gamechanging tool to improve patient safety through high-definition imaging under the skin.
One such device is the Clarius L20 HD, distributed in the UK by Belle. The wireless, hand-held device has a frequency range of 8-20 MHz and the ability to produce a highquality image down to four cm, improving confidence and accuracy in both surgical and non-surgical guided procedures, almost akin to “x-ray vision” to see under the skin to complex structural anatomy. FDA-cleared and CE-marked, the Clarius L20 HD uses eight octal beams and 192 elements to deliver high-definition images and faster frame rates, giving users accurate imaging normally only achieved by conventional, bulky systems. The device links to apps for both iOS and Android, allowing it to deliver images straight to the user’s smartphone or tablet. It uses artificial intelligence to adjust imaging parameters in real-time based on the scanning application.
Dr MJ Rowland-Warmann, founder and lead clinician at Smileworks in Liverpool, believes that the device is particularly useful in guiding placement of dermal filler and managing complications from injections, something notoriously difficult to predict in aesthetic medicine. She says: “Ultrasound is the future of aesthetic medicine. Up to now, we have been injecting very much like a ‘stab in the dark’, not knowing exactly where vessels and important structures are located. With ultrasound we can effectively map treatment areas and avoid potentially disastrous complications.
“I will be using [the Clarius L20 HD] for vascular mapping prior to procedures but it will also be invaluable for the management of complications, helping to bring about targeted resolution quickly.
This is especially important for vascular occlusion management where the ability to effectively place hyaluronidase can mean the difference between a good outcome and tragedy.”
Similarly, Dr Kenneth Fan, microsurgeon at the Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery department of MedStar Georgetown University Hospital in Washington DC in the US, and one of the first surgeons to use the Clarius L20 HD; sees ultrasound as an important and exciting development for surgeons: “Ultrasound is the new arena,” he says. “People are starting to say ultrasound is the plastic surgeon’s stethoscope because we work so much with soft tissue and superficial tissue. It’s useful for microvascular imaging, blocks for nerve surgery and draining seromas.”
Clarius is a US-based medical-imaging company focused on making miniturised ultrasound technology accessible to medical professionals from all fields, including medical aesthetics and plastic surgery.