As we age, collagen, elastin, and other compounds in the skin start to break down. Skin becomes looser, and wrinkles appear. Although aging is inevitable, we can minimize its effects to keep our skin looking younger and healthier.

Dr. Goldman and his staff believe in a holistic approach to aging and skin care. This includes avoiding excess sun exposure, not smoking, and eating healthy. Using medical grade skin care under the supervision of an experienced aesthetician also has real benefits for skin health and appearance. But as we age, these measures by themselves may not be enough. Technological devices can be used to stimulate increased production of collagen, elastin, hyaluronic acid, and other structures within the skin.

There are a multitude of high-tech devices designed to improve the appearance of the skin. Choosing the device that is right for you can be confusing. Dr. Goldman and his staff have extensive experience with many devices, using technologies that not only have a proven track record for safety and efficacy but also utilize the newest, most advanced technology.

Sofwave uses focused ultrasound, a well-established and proven technology that can increase the tightness and firmness of the skin with minimal downtime. Sofwave uses the latest generation ultrasound to achieve what we believe to be the best results of any ultrasonic device.

CTA: Contact Dr. Goldman’s office today to schedule a consultation and find out if Software is an option for you.

What is Sofwave?

Sofwave is an FDA-approved, noninvasive handheld ultrasound device that is used to stimulate collagen and elastin production in the mid-dermal tissue layer of the skin. The goal is to tighten the skin and treat laxity (looseness).

How Sofwave works

Sofwave uses focused high-frequency sound waves (ultrasound) to treat the mid-dermal layer of the skin. It uses a specific sound wave pattern called SUPERB (Synchronous Ultrasound Parallel Beam) technology. This pattern focuses on the middle layers of the skin, at a depth of about 1.5 mm, to focus on tightening the skin itself.

The sound waves heat the temperature of the skin at this level, causing a stimulatory effect on collagen and elastin production, producing a tightening and firming effect

As the sound waves heat the skin, the device’s handpiece simultaneously cools the surface to decrease patient discomfort. This also allows higher temperatures to be used within the deeper skin to achieve a greater effect.

What areas does Sofwave treat?

Sofwave is ideal for fixing mild laxity on the face, eyebrows, under the chin, and neck. In 2022, Sofwave received FDA approval for short-term cellulite improvement, and in 2023, it got clearance for the treatment of acne scars.

Benefits of Sofwave

The stimulatory effects of Sofwave result in tighter, smoother, firmer, and younger-looking skin.

Sofwave is an effective treatment option because it is:

  • Clinically proven to be safe and effective.
  • Ideal for any skin type.
  • Fast and noninvasive.

There is no significant downtime. Immediately after the treatment, you can resume your normal activities.

Who is a good candidate for Sofwave?

Sofwave is ideal for patients with mild to moderate skin looseness on the face, chin, and neck. It is safe for all skin types.

Patients who have more severe aging and looseness, especially significant jowls and neck looseness (a “waddle”) are more likely to benefit from a facelift or similar procedure. Furthermore, patients with severe sun damage and smokers’ lines may be better candidates for fractionated CO2 laser resurfacing or similar techniques.

To find out if you are a good candidate for Sofwave, you can schedule an in-person or virtual consultation with Dr. Goldman or one of his advanced care providers.

How is the Sofwave procedure performed?

Sofwave is performed as an office procedure. Most patients take Tylenol, Motrin, or both. Topical numbing cream can be applied 30 – 60 minutes before the procedure to help reduce discomfort.

Patients can also use Pronox, inhaled nitrous oxide (laughing gas). Some patients also use Xanax or a similar mild oral sedative. Patients rarely take narcotics. Patients can drive themselves if they don’t use sedation or narcotics.

The procedure involves no needles, just sound waves administered through a handpiece applied to the skin. Minimal swelling may occur. Patients can return to work the next day. There are no post-procedure limitations.

The treatment itself generally takes 20-45 minutes, depending on how many areas are treated. Patients will feel a heating sensation while the sound waves are being administered; most patients describe this as moderately painful.

Sofwave vs. ultherapy

Sofwave and Ultherapy both utilize ultrasound, sound waves. Sofwave is focused on a depth of 1.5 mm, within the middle-to-deep layer of the skin. Thus, Sofwave is designed to stimulate collagen where it is most prevalent within the skin. Ultherapy usually is used to treat at 1.5, 3.0, and 4.5 mm depth. This small difference in depth does have important practical implications for how each device works.


Both treatments involve no needles, no cutting, just sound waves. These are non-surgical treatments. Nonetheless, ultrasound is powerful, so there is some discomfort, and most patients prefer to take Tylenol and/or Motrin and use nitrous oxide.

Sofwave is more superficial than Ultherapy, so most patients have a little less discomfort than with Ultherapy. The Sofwave treatment also takes less time to perform than Ulthera, so there is less overall discomfort.


Neither treatment has significant downtime. Both may cause mild redness of the skin for an hour or so after the treatment. Both may leave the skin mildly sensitive for a couple of days. Patients return to work and exercise the next day.

How long will it take to see results?

Stimulation of collagen, elastin, and other structures generally takes 3-6 months. Most patients will not see significant changes for at least 3 months and full results for 6 months. However, in general, the results are visible sooner with Sofwave.

Which produces more tightening?

There is no good, large-scale clinical study comparing Sofwave and Ulthera. (There are, in fact, very few good clinical studies looking at any esthetic devices.) Our anecdotal experience is that most patients like both treatments but prefer Sofwave because the treatment is faster, results may kick in sooner, and the end result may be a little firmer.

As with all esthetic devices, the doctor and advanced practice providers who are evaluating the patients and operating the devices are ultimately more important than the device. The difference between one device and another is usually much less important than the skill, experience, honesty, and compassion of your doctor or provider.

Sofwave faqs

How long does a Sofwave treatment take?

Treatment of the neck and face region with Sofwave will take between 30 and 45 minutes; smaller areas will take less time.

How long do Sofwave results take?

With Sofwave, some patients see noticeable firming in one week, although this may be from mild swelling. However, the production of collagen generally takes 3-6 months. As such, you should expect to see ongoing improvements over that time frame.

How many Sofwave treatments do you need?

Sofwave is considered a one-time treatment, however, patients will re-treat to boost results. Patients may also retreat every few years to restart collagen stimulation.

Can you combine Sofwave with other treatments?

Sofwave can be done alone with other non-surgical or surgical treatments. Medical grade skin care, botulinum toxin, and injectable fillers are commonly used as part of a comprehensive non-surgical treatment regimen. Surgical treatments can also be used in conjunction with skin tightening, but Sofwave is more commonly used for patients with early signs of aging.

Botulinum treatments can be performed before Sofwave, but injectable fillers are performed after Sofwave.

What are the side effects of Sofwave?

There are negligible risks or side effects to Softwave. These include:

  • Erythema – redness for an hour or so after the procedure.
  • Edema – mild swelling for a week or two after, which can actually make the skin look smoother.
  • Pain – mild hypersensitivity or tenderness can persist for a couple of weeks or more after treatment.

Schedule a consultation

There are many options for non-surgical and surgical options for facial rejuvenation. Dr. Goldman and his team have extensive experience with multiple devices, products, and techniques, both surgical and non-surgical.

Dr. Goldman is one of only a handful of triple board-certified facial plastic surgeons and plastic surgeons in the country. He understands the intricacies of performing cosmetic procedures safely and effectively and personally trains his staff. Schedule your initial Sofwave consultation today by calling 216-514-8899.