In Profile: Dr Tracy Mountford

01 Apr 2014

Dr Tracy Mountford, founder and medical director of The Cosmetic Skin Clinic in Buckinghamshire reveals the importance of caution, how to deal with unhappy patients and the vital importance of ethics and leadership in cosmetic medicine

“For me, quality is king” 

“All we had was collagen, collagen and more collagen. I didn’t even have Botox,” recalls Dr Tracy Mountford of the state of aesthetic medicine when she began her career, 23 years ago. Like many of the UK’s early aesthetic doctors, Mountford’s career was inspired by a trip to the US. “I’d trained as an anaesthetist, but took time off to travel in America, where I discovered and became fascinated with non-surgical aesthetic treatments. When I came home I started offering collagen, skin peels and skin care from a GP’s surgery in Stoke Poges in Buckinghamshire a few sessions a week.” Since founding The Cosmetic Skin Clinic 15 years ago, both Dr Mountford’s practice and her profile have grown considerably. For two years now she has been the leading European user of CoolSculpting, and for three years running has won The Black Diamond Award for being the busiest Thermage clinic in the UK. She was also recently awarded The UK’s Sculptra Clinic Of Excellence. Alongside her work as a key opinion leader and board member for companies including Sinclair Pharmaceuticals, Zeltiq, Allergan, Galderma, and Solta, her practice has also grown considerably. She now has nine clinical rooms, employs six medics, two managers and six receptionists in her Buckinghamshire clinic, plus has a regular Harley Street clinic.

She has also been a witness to the rapid growth of the industry in recent years. “Botox was revolutionary for us all,” she says. “It It completely changed the way we treated patients. Then came the first hyaluronic fillers and collagen stimulators such as Sculptra. The choice, reliability and predictability of products and treatments have improved dramatically over the years.” Despite this, Dr Mountford says she has never been an early adopter. “My view is that new isn’t always necessarily better. I often watch the market for one or two years after a treatment has entered the public domain, and maybe even after it has gained FDA clearance. During this time any problems will emerge and protocols get refined.”
Dr Mountford says patient care is absolutely key to a clinic’s success. “I am honest, open, clear and direct in my approach. I’m often brutally frank, but I know people respect that and trust you more for it. Recently I had a 21-year-old girl sobbing because I refused to give her preventative Botox. She looked about 17. There are arguments for and against preventative treatments, but I will never do what I feel is morally wrong. Also, whatever the treatment, I always promise I will do my very best, but cannot guarantee an outcome. I put my hands up if there has been a problem and work to fix it. We select patients very carefully, but if our clinical photographs show a treatment has had a marginal result, then we are likely to re-treat. This
is always worth it, as this doesn’t just build loyalty with existing patients, but demonstrates a professional approach.” To ensure service levels remain high, she says, “I have patient and customer service meetings with my staff every day. To be a success in this industry, you have to be far more than just a decent injector. For me, quality is king.”

“To be a success in this industry, you have to be far more than just a decent injector.” 

While Dr Mountford remains ambitious she makes it clear that she will never sacrifice her ethics for financial gain. “It’s a privilege to be a doctor; people confide in you and you have the potential to improve their lives. But running a cosmetic practice is also
a business, and combining that with being a true clinician was the hardest thing to
get my head around when I started out. Whilst I want to expand the business further,
I don’t want to franchise my name or open lots of clinics. In my opinion, that’s a fast way to lose what made you good. I am a workaholic, but I’m driven by success, not by money. I want to be the best I can be.” 

Dr Tracy Mountford reveals the new treatments she’s most excited about:

  1. I am interested in advances in RF skin tightening treatments. I think we will see leaps in technology and protocols meaning we get more predictability of outcome.
  2. CoolSculpting is the only FDA cleared Cryolipolysis fat freezing treatment available in the UK today and has proven safety and efficacy. Now there is a new non-vacuum applicator treatment head called the ‘CoolSmooth’ that will treat outer thighs or ‘saddlebags’. Its unique design allows the applicator to fit the individual shape. Since the CoolSmooth applicator does not rely on suction to treat areas of excessive fat it can now freeze the fat on almost all areas of the body.
  3. I am excited about the possible return of collagen as a filler. I loved using collagen, it was particularly good for fine, fair skins and I shall be watching developments with great interest. 

Upgrade to become a Full Member to read all of this article.