It’s not hard to see the appeal: a taut, firmer jawline, younger-looking eyes and lifted, youthful cheeks – and all without the need for a single injection, let alone going under the surgeon’s scalpel.
With celebrity backers including the ever-youthful actress Jennifer Aniston, 48, it is little surprise that the non-invasive ‘facelift’ procedure Ultherapy has been a hit with thousands of British women.
The treatment – administered by a device that emits ‘microfocused ultrasound’, similar to that used in scans on pregnant women – has the effect of lifting and tightening skin and is offered by cosmetic doctors in the UK.
But a Mail on Sunday investigation has uncovered concerns among doctors about complications that may arise afterwards, and a number of cases in which patients have claimed the process has left them looking older.
A leading cosmetic doctor claims that the treatment may ‘speed up the ageing process’, while one woman told this newspaper that she ‘aged overnight’ after having Ultherapy.
Makers Ulthera, who are owned by German pharmaceutical giant Merz, are now facing a number of lawsuits from unhappy patients. It is alleged that patients have been left with hollowed cheeks and eyes, the loss of facial volume, and slackening and thinning of skin – a result of undergoing the treatment.
In legal papers, lawyers claim that when used on the face, the treatment resulted in ‘severe and permanent physical injuries’ and there was a risk of ‘fat loss, deformity, eye damage’ and ‘nerve damage’. One patient even states that her blindness was linked to the procedure. All these allegations are denied by Merz.