THE POPULARIT Y of cosmetic treatments like
botulinum toxin (commonly called botox) and
dermal filler injections is increasing, according
to reports. Although many people experience
favorable results, officials are concerned about
minimizing the potential risks involved.
Cosmetic dermatologist Dr. Harold Lancer
( lancerskincare.com) says, “These treatments
have been so commercialized that people tend to
forget that they are medical procedures.”
Experts like Lancer and plastic surgeon Dr.
Alan Matarasso ( alanmatarassomd.com), an
American Society of Plastic Surgeons spokesman, warn against a casual attitude.
Choosing a provider
Who can legally perform cosmetic injections
depends on state law. There is debate in the medical industry about who is most qualified, since
precise placement is paramount and injections
can be harmful if administered incorrectly.
Cosmetic injections are fee-for-service and
can be performed in minutes, making them an
appealing moneymaking opportunity that can
attract unqualified people. Cosmetic dermatologist Dr. Karyn Grossman (grossmandermatol-
ogy.com) suggests you go to someone who takes
their time, because injecting filler quickly
increases the risk of complications.
To err on the side of caution, choose an
academic-residency-trained cosmetic dermatologist or plastic surgeon skilled at administering
injections, diagnosing and treating possible
complications. Technique is also imperative.
“Fillers and botulinum toxin require artistry to
make them look good,” Grossman says.
Make sure your provider is board-certified
with either the American Academy of Dermatology ( aad.org) or the American Society of Plastic Surgeons ( plasticsurgery.org). You can do a
name search on both websites.
Be aware that a licensed doctor like a cardiologist or gynecologist or other health care professional could take a fast-track certification
course without specialized experience to turn
injections into a business. Unlike with cosmetic
surgery, a doctor doesn’t need to have hospital
privileges or an accredited in-office operating
room to perform injections.
Be wary of retail medical aesthetic clinics
aiming to provide faster, cheaper, on-demand
treatments. It’s unclear how competent their
employees are at administering injections, even
if a licensed doctor is supervising them.
Possible side effects
Possible side effects of botox include
droopy eyelid, drooling or trouble breathing.
Although very unlikely, it’s possible for the effect
of the drug to cause botulism-like symptoms.
Also, dermal filler carries the risk of possible
side effects like infection, allergic reaction or
stroke, although these side effects are considered uncommon.
Have a conversation with your provider about
the risks versus benefits of treatments. Use the
Food and Drug Administration ( fda.gov),
American Academy of Dermatology and
American Society of Plastic Surgeons websites to
How much you may spend for injections
depends on different factors. Lancer estimates a
novice might spend around ;;,;;; a year. You
could spend even more than that, depending on
your situation and the areas you decide to treat.
Grossman notes that initial investments tend to
cost more, while touch-ups every six to ;;
months tend to cost less.
All agree that price should not be the main
consideration. “You don’t want to scrimp or cut
corners here,” Lancer says. Matarasso adds,
“Saving ;;; or ;;;; on an elective procedure
that jeopardizes your health isn’t worth it.”
Grossman warns that Groupon-type offers
should be avoided. You run the risk of an inexpe-
rienced provider or an overly diluted product
that won’t last long.
Don’t trust just anyone with your health. It’s
always better to be safe than sorry. Choose a cosmetic provider wisely and put qualifications
before price. C
Tips to help you avoid adverse outcomes
Amanda Horowitz is a writer,
businesswoman and owner
of Fight Back! She is the
daughter of Fight Back’s
founder, David Horowitz.
Fight Back! has received
multiple Emmy Awards
and awards from more than
;;; government and citizen
groups and has helped
to draft over ;; pieces of
in the United States.
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