Dec. 3, 2014
Laura Ellis

BUYER BEWARE: Botox, Fillers & More

Blog_Buyer_Beware_1232014The efficacy and ease with which Botox® and dermal fillers reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles has made them among the most popular noninvasive cosmetic procedures on the market.

When expertly administered, Botox softens forehead furrows, smooths away frown lines between the brows, and reduces the appearance of crow’s feet.  Cosmetic dermal fillers plump and smooth skin by temporarily replenishing age-related volume loss in the face, with some providing the added benefit of collagen growth stimulation.  Results of these procedures can be significant yet subtle, resulting in a refreshed, more youthful appearance.

With the potential for such good outcomes, how careful should you be when selecting a provider to inject Botox, or administer a cosmetic filler such as Juvéderm®, Voluma® or Restylane®?  The answer is, very.

A Botox injection is no big deal, right?

“With ‘Botox parties’ drawing media attention after the product was approved for cosmetic use in 2002, a perception began to develop that this is a casual procedure that anyone with a little medical knowledge can do,” says Dr. Dominic Brandy, MD, board-certified cosmetic surgeon and founder of The Skin Center Medical Spa.

Dr. Brandy adds that it is important to note that Botox Cosmetic® is a prescription medicine that is technique sensitive; that is, the results a patient sees depend on the skill of the person administering the injection, and their knowledge of facial anatomy.

“With Botox, you are temporarily immobilizing a muscle through the use of a neurotoxin – if you are off by even a small amount, the patient can experience anything from drooping of the eye to an unnatural frozen appearance,” says Dr. Brandy. “It’s not something to approach lightly, and patients would be wise to choose a provider based on their years of training and experience with clients, not by price or convenience of location.”

Botox at the dentist?

So, is it a good idea to order a side of Botox with your dental cleaning?  Should you allow your gynecologist or podiatrist to administer an injection? Because no uniform standards exist state to state to regulate those who are cleared to inject Botox, it’s a buyer beware market for the consumer. If you are considering a Botox or filler treatment, here are some guidelines for choosing a provider.

What to Look for When Choosing a Botox Provider:

  • Look for a cosmetic surgery or skin care provider with a long-standing reputation for excellence, years of demonstrated experience and a commitment to specialize in the provision of Botox, dermal fillers and other cosmetic treatments.
  • Avoid pop-up “Botox shops” as physician names are typically used on the door only and not involved in the quality or oversight of patient care. If you’re not sure, walk in and ask questions.  The Skin Center recently opened new Express Center locations in downtown Pittsburgh and Washington, PA.  However, the same trained, expert injectors that serve clients at The Skin Center’s other office locations are providing treatment in these new locations, continuing The Skin Center’s 32-year commitment to helping people look and feel their best.
  • Do your due diligence…practices like dentists, podiatrists, chiropractors and gynecologists typically have not devoted the time and training to make a commitment to offer safe and effective treatments. More often than not it is an adjunct part of their practice to create other revenue streams.
  • Avoid practices that try to pressure you into treatment, or who won’t discuss with you both the benefits and the risks associated with the procedure.
  • If this is a first-time visit at the practice, or your first time for a Botox treatment, confirm that a follow-up visit will be scheduled at approximately the two-week mark. An injector who says they do not need to see you for follow up is more concerned with moving patients through than ensuring you are happy with your results.
  • Ask to see before and after photos of patients who have recently had Botox and/or dermal fillers at the practice you are visiting.
  • Ask the provider how many years the practice has been injecting, and what their training entailed.
  • Confirm that the product they are using is in fact Botox Cosmetic by Allergan.  Before treatment, ask to see the vial, which will be clearly marked.

The best Botox and Filler providers look at the whole face.

While the objective of a Botox treatment seems simple — to target and temporarily immobilize the muscles that create frown lines and furrows — a skilled injector will take the time to listen to and look at your areas of concern before recommending a treatment plan.  In some cases, Botox may not be your best option, or a combination of filler and Botox will be advised to more closely align results with your goals.

“Getting outstanding, natural-looking results requires a provider who carefully evaluates a patient’s whole face before administering Botox or filler, and that kind of skill only comes over time, and after treating many patients,” says Dr. Brandy. “It requires an aesthetic eye, not simply a knowledge of facial anatomy or a basic understanding of how to inject.”

In the end, this is not just about targeting the right muscle, it is about treatment that delivers the most nuanced and beautiful outcome for the patient.”

The Skin Center Medical Spa is a designated National Training Center for Allergan Inc., the manufacturer of Botox Cosmetic, and as a member of the Top 50 Allergan Partner Privilege Program, its expert injectors are among the top one percent of Botox providers nationwide.

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